The Bureau of Melodramatic Research is a dependent institution which actualizes itself through social and political realities, always facing the implosion of the possibility for panacea-art today.
BMR examines the way in which key elements of melodrama are currently at work on the political scene.
There is an abundance of fiction in the mechanism of valorization today. Economic injustice and growing inequality are inforced by blind algorithms and fictitious bubbles. At the same time, new enemies are produced by the mediatic spectacle, generating a political spectrum of emotionality: fear, love, hate, disgust etc.
The circulation of affect is at the core of the present financialized economy. The new productivity relies on producing subjectivities, molding desires, using emotional weapons that are very precise in annihilating any subversive micropolitics, in reducing multiplicities to binary oppositions and alienating ourselves from the bodies we inhabit.
The generalized telenovela is based on real violence and perpetual depression. The automation of affect is a mechanism by which a soft touch can create tough borders.
There is an urgent need to de-link the body-psyche from the algorithmic modulation of mood imposed by neoliberalism, to de-institutionalize and overcome the impairment of compassion, to find the lively refrains in the general apatheia and post-crisis dominant state of depression.
Melodrama is a comfortable topos with its happy-end philosophy, but we have to sense its shifting border zones. Melodrama is not enough. It has though considerable dissent potential, past and present. Melodramatic subversion appears in the reassessment of the past, in history, as well as in philosophy and other inflections of the dominating patriarchal, rational-scientific paradigm, relying on distance, objectivity, truth. BMR used it to reveal patterns of valorization which are presently legitimating and perpetuating the capitalist system by studying specific cases locally and abroad.
In the generalized melodrama the happy-end was the privilege of the Western world, of the North, of the 1%. It seems that today the happy-end is drifting away, until it will be out of reach. No deus-ex-machina will restore the out-of-norm social affection, the de-automated body - the machines will continuously generate the plot we play in without sensing, the affects we capture without knowing.
Irina Gheorghe and Alina Popa founded BMR in 2009 and are contributing to several collective projects, such as ArtLeaks, Presidential Candidacy, Bezna zine.