The Intelligence Party steirischer herbst
“With Lars Cuzner’s project “The Intelligence Party”, 2018, they finally arrived at the topicality, because Lars Cuzner has set up a fictional party here with which he moves in Graz as if he were on an election campaign tour. Tirelessly, the committed artist introduces the program of his “Intelligence Party”, a party that on the one hand demands the humanist demand for a right to vote for foreigners, and on the other hand supports this demand with right-wing arguments, such as true love of the homeland. The paradox seems hardly to go – and yet: in talks around post-colonialism, for example, “nationalism as a legitimate anti-colonial resistance movement” (Varela / Dhawan) is repeatedly discussed. The fact that steirischer herbst artistically discusses contradictions like these in various forms, is exactly what makes it so necessary this year.”
All across Europe, the right fears what they call “the Great Replacement,” where eroding European values supposedly cannot hold up to Islamic fundamentalism… and worse. The Intelligence Party, initiated by artist and activist Lars Cuzner, has a proposal to assuage these fears. Founded in Norway, the Intelligence Party is named after one of that country’s oldest political parties, which was led by romantic poet Johan Sebastian Welhaven in the 1830s. Today this party is reborn and appeals to cultural protectionists across Europe to enshrine the most important right of all: the right to vote. The universality of this right and its constant expansion is the most quintessentially European value of all, the Intelligence Party argues, and it should therefore be extended to non-citizen residents, regardless of where they come from. The party’s thinking goes that universal participation in elections would reveal more commonalities than expected between European and non-European residents, who might, it would turn out, share with conservative electorates a concern for family values, religious freedom, and the protection of cultural identity. That, at least, would stop any fundamentalist insurgency in its tracks, so the Intelligence Party proclaims. After spreading the party’s message in Norway and several other European countries, online, and in rousing public discussions, Cuzner now turns to Austria and Graz. Paradoxically injecting a left-wing demand into a right-wing agenda and presenting it to an undecided electorate, Cuzner and his party question today’s hackneyed notions of politics as well as the truth-procedures used to reach them.
“More absurdly, this technique is used by the artist Lars Cuzner in the project Intelligence Party – the conservative traditionalist party, in which the artist nominates his candidacy for the European Parliament. Here is the image of the artist: Lars, with a lush red beard, in a woolen three-piece suit, with a cane, comes out of a shiny white old fashion car to talk with voters and hand out caps with official symbols, slogans in the spirit of “I understand white people” or “All women are stupid” and the election campaign demanding universal suffrage.”