Dan Mihaltianu: Das Kapital - Distillation

Geddes Gallery, 18th September, 6PM-10PM



“Das Kapital - Distillation” is a performative event dedicated to Karl Marx’s work. The process It is part of a long series of distillation-works connected to the Great Distillations / Liquid Matter / Liquid Economy Project initiated by Dan Mihaltianu in the early ’90s.

In a laid-back way the action follows the pattern of John Latham’s work “Art and Culture”, 1966-69 (the distillation of Clement Greenberg’s book). 

The public is invited to chew pages from "Das Kapital", after reading and memorizing them and afterwards spitting the pulp into a glass container, using vodka to rinse their mouths. The resulting mixture will be distilled in front of the audience and bottled.

The entire process has several layers of understanding and interpretation related to a multitude of aspects, amongst others initiation rituals, liturgical practices, transmission / acquiring of knowledge, intelligence techniques, political activism and artistic labour.


Becoming Das Kapital

Marx’s work is indestructible. All the copies are just paper (for recycling), his real work is of spiritual nature - immaterial (encrypted in the collective memory). This should be the very understanding of the distillation as art work. It is not even a matter of art, but of pure philosophy (applied philosophy, as Marx would have put it). 

By reading and memorizing the pages, before chewing and distilling them, each participant becomes a word, a sentence or a chapter of “Das Kapital” and together “Das Buch” (remember Fahrenheit 451). In order to have access knowledge, we have to dismantle the material form in which ideas are kept prisoners. Symbolically, a book has to be first ingested and afterwards digested (distilled). 

The Library is not a prison of books - “Die Gedanken sind frei”. 

Dan Mihaltianu