What I know about Beautiful Soul Syndrome Community

October 12, 2015
Author Agnė Bagdžiūnaitė
Published in Detour



The author of the text studied in the Kingdom of Welfare, and after she left it a couple of years ago, she felt an obligation to write about that experience some day. The experience was based on her art studies in Sweden.


When Timothy Morton writes that dark ecology is a mesh without center and without edge, the thinking process of a person who reads it can get rather confused. How is it that there is no edge and the center does not need the decentered ones since the center is not compatible with the concept of mesh? The answer: there is no outside and we should avoid the structures where such order is imposed. However it seems that they are impossible to avoid. Resistance to dominant communities displaces one to the edge or the shadow, or, as T. Morton states: “Community implies a boundary between inside and outside, which implies inclusion and exclusion: scapegoating.” ((Morton, Timothy (2010) “Thinking Ecology: The Mesh, The Strange Stranger, and the Beautiful Soul.Collapse: Philosophical Research and Development, Volume VI, edited by Robin Mackay, pp.195-223))

Dominant communities always seek for homogeneity that stays within very clear borders marked by gigantic rabbits where expansion is only conceptual or, rather, aesthetic. The order to have someone (refugee community) for a scapegoat makes Beautiful Soul ((The “beautiful soul” lacking an actual existence, entangled in the contradiction between its pure self and the necessity of that self to externalize itself and change itself into an actual existence, and dwelling in the immediacy of this firmly held antithesis, which has been intensified to its pure being or empty nothingness, this “beautiful soul”, then, being conscious of this contradiction in its unreconciled immediacy, is disordered to the point of madness, wasted itself in yearning and pines in consumption.

G.W.F. Hegel Phenomenology of Spirit)) (Hegel) of marked territory look better. Let’s imagine that the Beautiful Soul wanders in an island called, for example, “Art School,” in a place where welfare sticks from everyone’s armpit. The Soul imagines that she is the one and only and she surpasses everyone; she is certain about the supremacy of art and considers artist to be a perfect subject who cannot be a part of some community because, first and foremost, she is community to herself. Professors of this Art School usually are from another similar island of welfare, and they tend to make jokes about their students: how spoiled and depressed those children of good life are. Although the professors themselves hardly reflect on their own work conditions which basically means 12 hours a week and the salary above the average. For some it is unimaginable.

Basically in such a school there can be only very existential complaints like how bad the view in one’s personal studio is or how bad the working gloves in the wood workshop are. Any other kind of complaints in the School of Beautiful Souls simply don’t exist. The artists-students and artists-professors rarely have non-professional conversations. You also have to book a time slot for these highly existential conversations and do not disturb each other in a non-predetermined time. Such rules are also valid for student interrelations. They never talk or meet accidentally. Accident can only happen in the school’s exhibition space where they can again professionally discuss their everyday crises because the cheese that they bought in the store wasn’t quite the same as it used to be. These phenomenological insights of students are grounded on the basis of Beautiful Soul here. The Art School wants to preserve the Beautiful Soul in all possible ways—thus it would stay untouchable—and in order to do that the community has to stay in the ontological state of status quo. If ontology is about soul’s perseverance then it makes everything clearer. In other words, it is transparent and everything has to shine in that light directly. In such a school you don’t need any rules of behavior. You can not find a no-smoking sign anywhere, it just works immediately anyways. The rule “don’t drink and party in your studio” is so obvious that it seems that the model or cliche about the drunk and partying bohemians was never a case. Most often if you enter the school for the first time you could even mistaken it for a hospital. The silence tingles in between your ears. You definitely understand that this is a house of Beautiful Soul per se.

The member of Beautiful Soul Syndrome Community would state that she cannot be in the shower where the mold lives but she likes her colleagues’ research about a “beautiful mold.”

The Beautiful Soul provides everyone with the concept of solid identity. It is as solid as that silence that tingles. Nothing else can be produced in such an environment except Beautiful Souls. It is very related to Romanticism of today’s contemporary art. Such Romanticism is not very different from what we understand as classic Romanticism which takes artist’s feelings being her supreme law. The feelings that an artist experiences can not be defined that simply nor can they be explained through simplified categories, and first of all, they can not be discussed in the framework of an institution she belongs to, studies and exhibits in. Oh my, and don’t even try to discuss the social strata she is coming from or conditions under which she makes her artwork. That is completely barbaric and rude, oh oh and banal, most often boring. Considering the whole plethora of institutions, professors, and theories that are involved in bringing up an artist as a member of a Beautiful Soul Syndrome Community (BSSC), the recent development of a relationship between art and science is rather banal and obvious. Both of these disciplines are very concerned with their own Beautiful Souls. It could be totally organic to see an artist as excited as a scientist who praises the invention of an atomic bomb. Just let it be because its form and shape are beautiful, and the concept is beautiful as well. Clones are beautiful but clowns are not. A member of BSSC would state that she cannot be in the shower where the mold lives but she likes her colleagues’ research about a “beautiful mold.” For BSSC these are two very different things while the latter is much more natural than the former. Natural is something that you can not avoid doing because you were predestined to do it and it is not your fault that you are a member of BSSC.

The horror behind all of it was already defined by Frankfurt School members, but who cares about old bastards who used language to make things more complicated and not the opposite. However their style was beautiful besides the content. Like the professors of Art School would say: “did you read it? NO? How can we talk then?” Who wants to talk about horror when there is beauty? Professors? Now you are being a clown, they don’t want to talk about it, they just want to know that you have read it. That is the difference between an Art School with Beautiful Soul on Welfare and other schools. How can you even be called “Art School” if you don’t have a 3D printer studio? Outrageous. Beautiful Soul keeps the pace, it is a contemporary soul without any social sentiments. You are free to make your own art, especially if you have a welfare sticking form your armpit. And who cares what other Beautiful Soul in the market thinks. Rely on acceleration because it is a natural process. Your art is beautiful together with all other artworks your colleagues are making, just be on time, ok?

Once there was an incident at the Art School: the board accepted a student who had a complicated past—she pretended to jump off the bridge in order to expose the way institutions handle suicide cases. The student was accepted because she exposed it so beautifully that no one was hurt or insulted, just angry about wasting the tax money on art that is beautifully inconceivable. As it was already mentioned in relation to Frankfurt School, a Beautiful Soul has to stay inconceivable for the ones who are outside of the BSSC community. Such people are also usually labelled as “conservative” or even “regressive.” Conservatives are often the ones with a middle class background. They have money and time to invest in what they like and appreciate. While the regressive ones are people who have no idea of what Beautiful Soul is about, and often wish to destroy it. But they are not dangerous for BSSC since they don’t participate in the events and accidents of BSSC.

Ironically enough, conservative middle class is a most generous funding source. Thus a conflict between the Art School and the conservatives is basically faked and superficially generated just to make the progress look real. Progress where and of what? The progress of preservation and discipline. The discipline of BSSC can be a model used for the disobedient members who pretend to be resistant to BSSC. The discipline and progress have to go hand in hand, they cannot be separated. Progress has to look and sound good even if the Earth is fucked. We know from Stephen Hawking that there are always other planets in space ready to be colonised. Have you seen the movie Moon ((Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.

From IMDb about “Moon”(2009, dir. Duncan Jones) )) (2009) yet? The progress for BSSC looks exactly how it is represented in this story: a moon-base operator has to proceed with it and preserve his mission but it is possible only in the context of the mission of preservation of Earth; another condition is the presence of multiple identical beings—in other words, men who live in the “center” and know the “outside.”