The rules of the game: capital and labour meet in spaces stopwatch-prepared for the purpose of the optimization of the process of surplus-extraction from labour, following the dictate of socially necessary labour time, required in order to survive in competition with all other units. The state catalyzes the process, reproduces the (infra)structure, internalizes the costs of labour reproduction that capital has externalized to labourers, provided that labour has organized beyond the capital and imparted these costs to the state. The latter takes a bigger or smaller part of surplus value, and a part of it is designated for the night guards of the spaces, legal guards of capital, managing structures, etc. The spaces in which capital is realized in circulation are also specially prepared. They glisten, so that the spaces in which capital is expanded in production might darken.

Capital and work encounter each other on the terrain of asymmetry. The difference is also visible in the images of spaces in which their earlier encounters took place, under different circumstances and under different names. This difference is easily noticeable because it is apparent, one need only pay attention. The labour ruinization process, however, as well as the workers’ rights derogation process, is more obscured and chaotic. Bodies, disciplined and exploited, deteriorate in motion, with smiles on their faces. Their consent is the absence of an alternative, while the quiet acceptance of these processes is a reflection of resignation.

Throughout history, economic and political circumstances of the wartime and then transitional city altered the architectonic and urbanist face of Zagreb. Battista Ilić engages in dialogue with the state in which he finds the Ilica of a deindustrialized post-socialist Zagreb, whose abandoned and vacated localities he marks with large scale enumerated posters (1-45). The author enters the space of Ilica, holding the numerations as demonstrative props, becoming a prop himself. Affirmative stigmatization functions as a coded slogan of dysfunctional, urban localities, functioning at the same time as a situational intervention with the elements of graphic art. The archiving of destroyed public, common spaces does not take place with the aim of mere documentation of the problem, but the opposite – the intervention departs from the space of gesture into the real space of naming a systemic anomaly – the collapse of labour rights and working conditions, and the expropriation from the means of production.

The fetishization of emptiness is a significant constant in the author’s work, seemingly correlating with the commodity fetishism produced by capital on a systemic basis. He uses the interaction with emptiness as a de-aestheticized spatiality in which art as an attitude polemicizes with the living tissue of the social, political and historical context. The cyclical repetitiveness of art is here in service of establishing a dialogue with a fragment of capitalist time from which it emerges.

The seemingly conflictual relationship between the aesthetics and poetics of art in the service of social change, art that is carved out from the presumed safe gallery spaces and professional evaluatory gazes, finds its space for articulation on the facades of urban buildings, former factories and stores, looking back to better understand the future and produce engaged meta-language between artists-producers and their emerging audiences.