Some thoughts on disincorporation:
I'm Albo, and this is a part of my Website www.disincorporated.org. Like many people, I'm trying to make popular culture that offers a critique of the Big Culture that is forced upon us at every turn by the weird semi-random collection of people, powers, and influences who make so many of the decisions that determine so much of how things happen in the world.
I'm what our culture generally classifies as a "white man". I believe that race and the binary man/woman (always with the man first) gender system are both very powerful cultural artifacts, not objective classifications that exist, somehow, independent of human culture. But that doesn't mean that I don't benefit from some of the privileges that automatically accrue to "white men" in this culture. Human beings are very good at classification and over-simplification, me included.
I don't think all corporations, or the people who work for them, are evil. I don't even think that all of the people who work for/within the governmental-religio-military-corporatocracy are evil. I make a lot of my living making and selling videos; an inherently ecologically-destructive medium, and, in the production-end of the industry where the blank tapes that I use are made, not very labor-friendly. We all have to get by, and we have to decide what compromises and accomodations we are willing to make.
That said, I really DON'T understand how people can rationalise working (on the administrative/decision-making levels) for the really big scummy mega-corporations that are responsible for so much death, devastation and degradation around the world. There are some structures that are just so rotten that the only way to deal with them is to demolish them. Eliminating corporations' status as "natural persons" would be a relatively minor but significant step toward the positive disincorporation of the world.
In the late 1800s the U.S. Government, through the Supreme Court, declared that corporations are “natural persons” with the same rights as human beings.
I wonder then; what does the body of this corporate-person look like? How does the corporate-person eat, and shit, and fuck? Does the group-mind of the corporation person have it’s own feelings and thoughts, separate from the thoughts and feeling of the individuals who have been assimilated into the group-person?
When I want to know about the body of another human I can look at them and sometimes touch them; it’s directly experiential. The corporationperson is much more elusive so I’ve had to imagine some of the possible corporate bodies and the ways those bodies would do things. The business suit seems to be the main symbol of corporate-ness so I’ve used that to construct some possible corporate bodies.
The first image that came into my head, pretty much unbidden and a few years before I started to actually build the first “corporations” was of a room-sized flying orgy of business suits. I imagined the suits with zippers or velcro at the arm, leg, and neck holes and on the crotch and ass so that they could be connected together in every possible permutation of orifices and protrusions; an illustration of “networking”.I never got around to that one, but I did eventually start to collect business suits. I started with the shirts, sewing them together and stuffing them. They looked like animals, flowers, strange sea-creatures and... Klansmen. The KKK imagery emerged from the process without any conscious planning and it felt perfect and gave me the impetus to work more with suits.
I’ve been fascinated with business suits for years; with their bizarre blending of the militaristic and the foppish, and with the symbolic role they play in the colonization and subjugation of individuals and the world. The generally ignored outlandishness of the suit: the skirted jacket, the strangely-shaped lapels, the belted pants, the buttons (always on the right side for men; women’s buttons go on the left), and of course that incredible, hilarious, centerpiece; the necktie. Thrusting upwards, so huge and virile that his pants can’t contain it, rearing up, framed by the lapels and silhouetted against the pale torso of the button-down shirt; a bare display of phallic power, so blatant and yet so rarely acknowledged as such. Looked at this way it’s hard not to laugh, walking down the street surrounded by all of these “upright” men with big symbolic cocks sticking up out of their pants.
The business suit is, to me, the ultimate symbol of dominance and submission: the true uniform of real-world, non-consensual S&M. Highly stylized, nearly invisible in it’s ubiquity, resolutely phallic, unintentionally comic, and... the ideal raw material for an artist interested in taking the symbols and mechanisms of authoritarian power and using them to subvert the very powers that they represent.
The corporation is another in a long sequence of human creations designed to give individuals absolution for indulging their worst impulses. The pack, the tribe, the family, the army, the church, the state, the team, the mob; like the corporation, none of these is essentially bad but each presents the (seemingly irresistible) opportunity for individual’s to submerge themselves in the group and avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. The great innovation of the corporation is to cut this structure loose from the societal strictures that rein in the earlier formulations. The deepest logic, the reptile brain of the corporation is greed.
Shit pours out of many of the corporations that I create. I have mixed feelings about using shit to represent the toxic outpourings of corporations, because shit is so essential to life and is already so demeaned and derided in this society. Am I helping to give shit a bad name? I want to do some pro-shit art sometime soon to balance this out.
I’ve also worried about the KKK imagery that I’m using: is it absolutely clear that the work is anti-racist? How do I make this clear without watering down the radical messages that I’m trying to put across? My main worry is that African-American people might take the work the wrong way. Thankfully this hasn’t been a problem so far, in fact it’s been quite the opposite, but I know that I need to keep thinking about this.
Taking some of the corporation sculptures out on the street has been very gratifying; many people seem to enjoy the humor and to get the message and appreciate the critique. I’ve realized that part of what I want to do is make corporations creepy; nasty, pathetic, and repulsive things that no sane person would want to be involved with.
•As cloning and genetic engineering advance will we reach a point where a corporation could have a physical body not unlike one of my sculptures?
•Can the group-mind (the zeitgeist?) of a corporation be racist? Even if none of the individuals within the corporation is particularly racist (beyond the “ambient racism” that is the inevitable outgrowth of living in a society where the concept of race exists)?
•With the existing precedent of corporate personhood, what other non-human entities might we put forward for personhood?
•Who wants to marry a corporation?
•Can a corporation run for political office? For President?
•Can I go to court to try to prove that a corporation is insane and therefore not competent to manage it’s own affairs?
•Capital punishment for corporations?
•Is the corporationperson of a different species? Homo Corporatus? An example of accelerated evolution? An evolutionary dead-end? What is the atom; the basic building block of the corporationperson (the wallet? The coin? The credit card?) Is the Stock Market the quantum field of corporate physics?
•What would a corporate religion look like? The Trinity? The Invisible Hand? Was the creation of the corporationperson a virgin birth? If we consider Corporatism to be an existing religion, is the U.S. Government a theocracy? If I establish Corporatism as an officially-recognized religion could it them be argued that government interaction with corporations is a violation of the separation of Church and State? Should corporate creationism be taught in our schools alongside corporate evolutionary theory? Who are the Prophets and the Saints of Corporatism? What are the Holy Books? Heaven and Hell?
Disincorporation as a strategy
Disincorporation as a critical "entrepreneurial" strategy; a corporation which offers services to suicidal corporations (corporate euthanasia), and to people seeking escape from corporatism. IDS International Disincorporaton Services. "Let IDS be your Superego".
Personal disincorporation kit.