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Editora y Directora / Director & Editor: Alicia Murría
Colaboran en este número / Contributors: Manuel Olveira, Jorge Luis Marzo, Pedro Medina, Marius Babias,
Subdirectora / Senior Editor: Ana Carceller
Alicia Murría, Eva Grinstein, Mariano Navarro, Luis Francisco Pérez, Santiago B. Olmo, Juan Antonio Álvarez Reyes, Joana
Coordinación en Latinoamérica Latin America Coordinator: Argentina: Eva Grinstein México: Bárbara Perea Equipo de Redacción / Editorial Staff: Alicia Murría, Natalia Maya Santacruz, Ana Carceller, Santiago B. Olmo. email@example.com Asistente editorial / Editorial Assistant: Natalia Maya Santacruz Directora de Publicidad / Advertising Director: Marta Sagarmínaga firstname.lastname@example.org Directora de Relaciones Internacionales International Public Relations Manager: Elena Vecino Administración / Accounting Department: Gema Lucas email@example.com Suscripciones / Subscriptions: Pablo Delgadillo firstname.lastname@example.org Distribución / Distribution: email@example.com ACTAR firstname.lastname@example.org Oficinas / Office: Tel. + 34 913 656 596 C/ Santa Ana 14, 2º C. 28005 Madrid. ESPAÑA www.artecontexto.com
Neves, Uta M. Reindl, Vicente Carretón, David Liss, Pablo Helguera, Mónica Núñez Luis, Bárbara Perea, Agnaldo Farias, Peio Aguirre, Rosa Pera, Natalia Maya Santacruz. Especial agradecimiento / Special thanks: Dan Perjovschi, John Baldessari, Galería Pepe Cobo, Chusa Murría, Horacio Lefèvre
ARTE CULTURA NUEvos MEDIos
ART CULTURE NEW MEDIA
ARTECONTEXTO arte cultura nuevos medios es una publicación trimestral de ARTEHOY Publicaciones y Gestión, S.L. Impreso en España por Eurocolor Producción gráfica: El viajero / Eva Bonilla. Procograf S.L. ISSN: 1697-2341. Depósito legal: M-1968–2004 Todos los derechos reservados. Ninguna parte de esta publicación puede ser reproducida o transmitida por ningún medio sin el permiso escrito del editor. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means without written permission from the publisher. © de la edición, ARTEHOY Publicaciones y gestión, S.L. © de las imágenes, sus autores © de los textos, sus autores © de las traducciones, sus autores © de las reproducciones, VEGAP. Madrid 2005 Esta publicación es miembro de la Asociación de Revistas Culturales de España (ARCE) y de la Federación Iberoamericana de Revistas Culturales (FIRC)
Diseño / Design: Jacinto Martín El viajero www.elviajero.org Traducciones / Translations: Dwight Porter, Juan Sebastián Cárdenas, Benjamin Johnson.
ARTECONTEXTO reúne diversos puntos de vista para activar el debate y no se identifica forzosamente con todas las opiniones de sus autores. ARTECONTEXTO does not necessarily share the opinions expressed by the authors.
Primera página / Page One ALICÍA MURRÍA
DOSSIER: DE LA PRODUCCIÓN A LA COLECCIÓN FROM PRODUCTION TO COLLECTION
La producción cultural a la luz de la teoría de la cultura Cultural Production From the Perspective of Theory of Culture MANUEL OLVEIRA 13 ideas sobre gastos artísticos 13 Ideas About Artistic Expenses JORGE LUIS MARZO
Conversación con Antoni Muntadas Conversation with Antoni Muntadas PEDRO MEDINA
Intervención especial de Dan Perjovschi. Introducción de Marius Babias Special Intervention by Dan Perjovschi. Introduction by Marius Babias
Colecciones y coleccionistas / Collections and Collectors ALICIA MURRÍA
Coleccionar desde Latinoamérica, entrevista a Mauro Herlitzka Collecting in Latin America: An Interview with Mauro Herlitzka EVA GRINSTEIN
John Baldessari, apertura total y formulación de reglas John Baldessari,Total Opening and Formulation of Rules MARIANO NAVARRO
Ignasi Aballí, 0-24. Secretos de la imagen y silencios del arte Ignasi Aballí, 0-24. Secrets of Image and Silences of Art LUIS FRANCISCO PÉREZ
Austria / Viena y otras cosas (museos y artistas) Austria / Viena and Other Things (Museums and Artists) SANTIAGO B. OLMO
Libros / Books
Críticas de exposiciones / Reviews
Portada / Cover DAN PERJOVSCHI
PAGE ONE Two Years of ARTECONTEXTO With this issue of ARTECONTEXTO we mark two years since our launch, a very short period for a publication, but one in which, surprisingly, we have achieved a large domestic and international following, and have become a voice with an echo in the world of contemporary art publications. The reason for this rapid consolidation can be no other than the intellectual relevance of all our contributors, both our regulars and those who write for us only occasionally about the subjects we address, and particularly for our dossiers, whose analytical spotlight has illuminated in our pages such subjects as: art in public spaces; new exhibition formats and spaces that explore the visibility of art works; art and sound; the transformative possibilities opened up by the new technologies; what artists themselves have to say about the issues they specifically confront; Jean-Luc Godard and his contributions to and impact on the audiovisual idiom; space and its connotations from a gender perspective; and, in this issue, about the difficult path travelled by the art work –and the artist– from production to the market, in which we have given expression to collectors in their different profiles, and which features a special contribution by the Romanian artist Dan Perjovski, whose ironic drawings are published in a dossier that is rounded out by an interview with Antoni Muntadas, the artist who has represented Spain at the latest Venice Biennale, and who recently won the National Visual Arts Award. The issue also features an article about John Baldessari, whose work was recently shown in Madrid, and another about Ignasi Aballí, who is now showing in Barcelona. Also worth noting is a piece about the art world of Austria. And then there are our regular news and reviews pages. ARTECONTEXTO’s second anniversary coincides with the 25th birthday of ARCO, a fair that has deeply affected the Spanish market and whose treatments by the media as a cultural space, for good or ill has taken it beyond its nominal role as a specifically commercial meeting point for galleries and collectors. It is to ARCO’s credit that it has helped familiarise the Spanish public with contemporary art, even though art fairs never provide adequate conditions for the enjoyment of art, and they offer a confused and confusing panorama of the diverse artistic languages, selected beforehand, decontextualised and mixed, with a view to sales. A fair is only a fair, however thirsty for information the Spanish public may be, and regardless of the fulsome concomitant “cultural” programme of round tables, debates and lectures, which hardly leave time for visits to the fair itself. Sadly, for the rest of the year, Madrid suffers a dearth of such events focusing on today’s art. Nonetheless, ARCO remains the main event of the year for both experts and neophytes. This 25th edition is the last to be organised by ARCO’s director for the past 19 years, the much loved Rosina Gómez Baeza, to whom we wish every success in her new projects. Her replacement is Lourdes Fernández, who is closely tied to the art market and is also director of Manifesta 6, to whom we also wish the best of luck.
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13 Ideas About Artistic Expenses By Jorge Luis Marzo*
Public cultural policy has been kidnapped by big cultural infrastructures. Both civil demands for politicians to develop a genuine territorial policy using all available resources, and some promoters’ eagerness to carry out such policy, are absolutely at odds with an evidence: there is not an specific reason for that policy to be applied, given that responsibility for supporting creation is not anymore assumed by centers with projects intended to encourage a cultural policy, but by those centers that are only interested in completing their programs.
Even though we acknowledge the importance of both public and private cooperation in regards of financial support for many State art centers, public conditions of access, programs, teaching and support for creation principles must be clearly stated, for all these aspects should be guaranteed by public institutions, which are always more effectively supportive of infrastructures.
Cultural policy’s objectives have been considerably transformed. Today, public budget utilizes culture as a smoke screen for other activities, be they commercial, industrial, touristic or related to infrastructures. However, culture itself doesn’t seem to be enough justification. Some may think that’s all right, because culture per se doesn’t exist: the problem lies in a new game of confusion created by the new dynamics adopted by public budgets: the fact that once culture has been transformed into an important sector of economy, the design of a cultural image made on behalf of those involved in this business is completely justified. Quite democratic but absolutely deceitful.
Today, cultural policy is an alibi for the complex touristic plot in Spain and Catalonia. Art biennials or contemporary art museums
An exhibition room at CAB, Burgos.
are inaugurated all across the country, and the investments are so gigantic that there is virtually nothing left for financing other cultural projects in these cities or regions (Victoria’s Artium, MUSAC in León or CAC in Malaga are among the most recent examples). Rather than generating local structures of creation, these museums are intended to become architectonic icons, eventually housing collections of famous artworks by famous artists or serving as venues for temporal internationalist exhibitions, highly spectacular and easily broadcasted among touristic routes. Current cultural policy is also intimately related to certain urban and commercial promotion interests. Such relation is consolidated by establishing big constructions (Barcelona is a good example of this phenomena), or by creating financial-political brands that mechanically operate as identity logos (Forum). We’re talking about cultural policies that provide showcases for new technological and industrial business networks, visualizing wicked forms of sponsorship. In short: current cultural policies are due to a concept of culture as a spur for economic profit. DOSSIER · ARTECONTEXTO · 17
Culture subsidizes economy, but economy doesn’t sponsor culture. Is it just because culture doesn’t need to be sponsored? Is it just because culture supports itself spontaneously? If so, why do we have to swallow all those artistic logos of cultural policies? How did culture become a reduced catalogue of icons? Questions are very simple: for instance, the money for supporting production in the current Culture Council of Catalonia’s Government comes exclusively from official culture budgets for culture and these expenses are not shared among the rest of involved councils (tourism, trade, industry, public works). Why? If the construction of
a minimum share in cultural market”. I’m not saying this distinction is wrong for itself. Nevertheless, big cultural business have an utterly political nature, or, more accurately, they have a politically triggered orbit, whereas less commercial experimentation and production must bear with the anathema of potential irresponsibility, hence they are submitted to a closer control. The fact that the first proposals about the future of the Arts Council were quickly debated by politicians, who labeled them as “merely consultative but nor executive”, provides an accurate definition of a hidden dynamics applied through the current cultural policies to the expression, both social and public, of art.
7 Institutional devices of culture are suspicious about artists and, by extension, about other similar independent cultural agents. This, in principle, is somehow logical from our national perspective based on such abstract formulas as the “professional” artist, the lonely rider or the punk boy in his motorcycle, in short, problem kids, reckless squanderers. It’s always Contemporary Art Museum useful having this notion at hand if An exhibition room at CGAC. of Barcelona (MACBA) © Javier Tles 2004 one is not in the mood for munificence. The fact that institutions are always doubtful about giving big cultural venues produces an expansion of hotel industry, not to money for artists to create can also be explained by the traditional aim mention restaurants and all kinds of services, then why is there no to oversee and control artistic production. The reasons are very reciprocity at all? How come this surplus is not used to reinforce amusing: censorship or political correction, the need to balance the different policies of cultural support that may be related to “other” interests of those “families” that exert an influence on institutional productive practices? culture, not to mention a certain formalist, stylistic censorship whose main argument against artworks is they don’t represent the “authentic” 6 According to such paradox, cultural policy seems to be values of what is considered avant-gardist and a potential generator of reduced in many occasions to a theatrical performance consisting of profitable logos both for media and international museums market. spending official cultural budget. The platforms on which this performance is staged are becoming smaller and smaller, since they 8 Cultural policy seems to be fossilizing around are now obliged to be more strategic as a result of the great number “observatories”, think tanks, centralized spaces and groups that are of elements that intervene in the process. One of the most evident able to orchestrate not only budgets but also an important cluster of cases is the distribution of cultural budget: on the one hand, we interests. If it’s true that these laboratories, often controlled by have a sum invested in “productive” activities, that is, those activities professionalized cultural managers whose solutions are nothing but that generate profit and directly spur economy; on the other hand, hollow sophistication, have become the only advisers in this awkward we have a sum invested in activities considered “non-productive”, cultural policy, then we may be running the risk of seeing the whole although this money appears as a “gratuitous” support to avantsituation turned into a dependant, vertical, macroscopic projection, in garde investigation. An example of this dichotomy can be found which decisions are made only by means of pure strategy, locating between the Catalonian Institute of Cultural Industries (ICIC) and the every aspect in a diagram of expenses and calculations. The notion of Institute for Artistic Creation and Contemporary Thought (ICAC), both policy as a fancy textile is just O.K., nevertheless, in a context as cultural organizations depending on Catalonia’s government. While unsteady as the art environment –which has been transformed into a ICIC is focused on strategic management of big cultural business, museum itself, in an endangered species to be protected, and a ICAC supports those “experimental practices that can hardly obtain couple of decades after the “sorpasso” of commercial audiovisual 18 · ARTECONTEXTO · DOSSIER
imagery– that kind of policy has eventually created a production network that only provides shelter for big cultural infrastructures. In other words, they create the contents for museums, while artists are just the labor force they need to supply a museum program. Water: the cultural policy we have is identical to this country’s culture itself. Culture is designed.
Cultural policy seems to be less and less interested in the actual platforms where cultural practice takes place. It is urgent to get balanced. While, on the one hand, planning according to the many parts and created interests involved is a logical step, it is also true that this kind of strategy is demagogic without direct participation of those who actually inhabit places, including programs adapted to those specific places.
exclusively based on giving money. Cultural policies don’t lack money but political determination and, above all, there is an absence of policies intended to encourage investigation and education (the situation, in this latter aspect, is now worse than ever). Likewise, it must be stated that there are other circuits that have nothing to do with established circuits: cultural policy must be social but it shouldn’t be neither cultural nor sociological. That’s how cultural policy starts. Once cultural policy reaches maturity it should become, like everything else, an I+D. Only if it’s an important issue, we will eventually see if everything deserves to be called art.
From the series of conferences How do you imagine your square?, organized by Ojo atómico
Independent cultural creators and producers must be provided with the necessary tools in order to obtain varied forms and conditions of production. The main tool, the most direct one, is financial support. It is useless and absurd to keep Library at the CGAC. focusing on other questions. Mechanisms are all we must care about. Art centers should hand over an important share of their budget to creators themselves, so they can perform their activities, guaranteeing the proper conditions and supervising the process in order to avoid confusion, thus making management easier. Creators are very acquainted –more than one might expect- with production processes, and they are not necessarily dependant on institutional technicians for designing and performing their creations, although they should constantly learn from those technicians. Perhaps combining technicians and artists in the same management network would make things a little bit better. On the other hand, too frequently perhaps, some institutional productions are very expensive on behalf of companies and suppliers, either because institutions delay payments due to a complex bureaucracy, or either because suppliers apply an automatic extra charge whenever they work with foundations and politicians. It’s been attested that many creators are able to produce their works without great expenses but also preserving presentation and competence standards, which is mainly a consequence of an horizontal and transversal manner of getting things done, a manner that makes those self-sustained, self-taught, less professional elements more confident when a network of suppliers is being carried out.
A cultural policy cannot be based neither on “the acknowledgment of a work’s merits” nor on “a lifetime at the service of arts and knowledge” (according to the mottos created by Ministries of both PP and PSOE and their cultural departments). That’s actually the function of awards. Without an explicit support to education and production conditions of young creators, regardless of the circuits these creators will eventually join in, cultural policy usually becomes an spectacle-policy that ignores the need for resources intended to provide social expression with a real critical, public dimension.
Institutional cultural policy has decided to promote a forest controlled by big trees, ignoring the lower ones that are obliged to exist in a context that gets darker every day under the branches of big trees. These forests give the impression of being gigantic and they certainly look healthy and leafy. But it’s just a delusion. Small plants and grass have become either French gardens or they are preserved as endangered species (with great expenses), instead of consider this flora as the main source of cultural ecosystem. By the way, please, forgive my awkward floral attack.
Budget is important because it is a transference of a real production device. Nevertheless, a cultural policy shouldn’t be
*Jorge Luis Marzo, curator and private reasercher.
DOSSIER · ARTECONTEXTO · 19
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munt muntad On Translation: I Giardini, 2005
Spanish Pavillion. 51st Venice Biennial © Muntadas. Photo: Claudio Franzini
Conversation with Antoni
By Pedro Medina*
If we attempt to define the period in which we live, we will most likely use concepts like mass communications, terror, spectacle, and globalisation. One of the artists who for a long time has shown a critical view of the world with great clarity is Antoni Muntadas (winner of the 2005 National Visual Arts Award), who has reflected on the power of the media in works like Video is TV?. With his work On Translation he has already spent ten years questioning the processes of codification of languages through diverse projects which delve into the memory of each space, while considering the possibilities of different means of expression. This year great interest has been aroused by the two latest projects in this series, one at the Spanish Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, and the other at inSITE 05, which have confirmed his prominence as an expert on the relation between the artist and society. On the occasion of his participation in the seminar Territorios mutantes [“mutant territories”], directed by Nekane Aramburu at the CendeaC, and of the projection of On Translation: Fear/Miedo (present on inSITE) in Espai Visor (the Visor gallery’s new transition space), we spoke with Muntadas to explore the issue of the artist’s participation in the world, nearly always determined by the media and their role in certain artistic events.
If we consider the major curated exhibitions and we think of legacies such as that of Harald Szeemann, one possible path would be defined as “more ethics and less aesthetics”, a path that has wandered between a commitment to certain historical facts and a range of multiculturalisms, somewhat diluted in certain more recent artistic events. How do you judge the current state of this trend? I don’t think we should regard it as a trend, but we might rather say that historically there is a guiding political thread, a type of works based on commitment. These works have always existed, but at certain times they attain visibility through certain exhibitions. But if we talk today about exhibitions, that is, cultural manifestation in which works with certain features are gathered together –such as Documenta– it is the curator who tries to express a view of the times and to contemporalise the works. The most recent Documentas already posed certain paradoxes between the art work and its presentation; that is, everything adheres to the Western exhibition format, which can imply a limitation of the work when artistic practises come from other parts of the world. Sometimes gaps are created between the works, what they propose, and the way they are shown. Situations or approaches to time and space are filtered through the conventional three-month exhibition, which is a problem, particularly
DOSSIER · ARTECONTEXTO · 25
On Translation: I Giardini, 2005 Spanish Pavillion. 51st Venice Biennial © Muntadas. Photo: Claudio Franzini
when the time format has some limitations and cannot be applied equally in different cases. I believe that there are some exhibitions which have a problem of expanded time, setting three days as the maximum. This implies a type of view of the work; for instance, if it is a 180-minutes work, the public doesn’t reach the end. As regards these reading and exhibition times and formats, I think the curators, museum directors and the like should invent other models that have to do with the projects that the artistic practises carry out, because in some cases it doesn’t work. The curator must take risks and have the ability to make the exhibition interesting visually, as well as conveying a series a concerns embodied in the works he or she proposes. We have spoken about the role of the curators, often concerned about representing practises centring on identity or social representation, sometimes selecting pieces in which formal aspects have been neglected or appear secondary to political considerations. How do you view this apparent imbalance? I can answer you in a personal way. I am talking about projects as a manner of working, with the possibility that the work can become active. In Warning: perception requires involvement there is a basic proposition: the capacity to create an activity, to generate elements of reading. Does this ask for a lot or not? It does. One must get one’s feet wet in this sense, which often implies that it is not entirely digestible. However, when one doesn’t explain, one runs the risk of not connecting with the public. For example, at the Spanish Pavilion in Venice, there was a printed text at the entrance to the series On Translation. Even so, lots of people didn’t grasp what there was inside. An atmosphere that composes another level, which must be activated by the public, becomes a problem of interpretation, just as things are invariably lost in translation. Seeing works like El aplauso [The Applause], presented both in Laocoonte devorado and at the Venice Biennial, one perceives a 26 · ARTECONTEXTO · DOSSIER
message aimed at an anaesthetised spectator, who feels the pain of others as something distant, and does not question the images he or she receives. How is one to understand pieces like this one, conceived in accordance with the memory of a place and applied to other contexts? The point of origin of the works is perfectly clear. I always endeavour to present a work in the context in which it was produced. In this instance El aplauso was produced in Colombia and later shown in other places. It is a part of the series On Translation, a work about violence in which the translation filter is the media –how the media translate violence. Colombia has some characteristics that might be identified with a stereotype, but when you are there and are experiencing it up close, that stereotype and that situation are something so present that they become reality. With El Aplauso, the audience takes a complicitous view of that situation of violence through the media. It is made up of elements taken from the press, radio, and television, and applause is perhaps the extreme gesture of acceptance. One might speak of irony, but more than irony might be seen. One may keep some distance, but by repeating images of military, sexual, economic, ecological, and media violence –the whole spectrum of violence— in Colombia, but also in other places, the statement is clear. In addition, some 60% of the images are of Colombia, but there are also images from other places. Would you view dialogue with reality in terms of responsibility? One would imagine that an artist would respond to such events as that of 9/11. After 9/11 there have been attempts to create positions in this sense, but I don’t think there have been any definitive works, since artists tend to be slow and responses take time. In the case of On Translation: Fear/Miedo, produced for inSITE 05, the idea of fear is addressed in a place where it is latent, fear is present in society. One feels it on the border and in the way it is translated in the North and in the South. This work consists of four parts. The first deals with fear as a universal and historical sensation that is transformed into a personal emotion. The second part is how the North translates the South –the North’s fear of the South is a fear arising from ignorance of the Other (fear of a different colour, a different language, the insecurity stemming from unfamiliarity); the South’s fear of the North is more a physical fear, the fear of the border patrol, the police, repression when you are seeking another life and you don’t attain it because borders exist. The third part reflects fear in the media, which create archetypes, although nowadays the idea of fear is also represented in literature, a phenomenon that exists but that is amplified by these sectors. The last part is about fear as a political instrument, which in the case of the United States is translated into a situation in which everything seems to be justified by terrorism issues, which implies the loss and limitation of civil rights and freedoms. But this work is not a response to 9/11 –it is more about the results of a situation created by 9/11.
Sometimes the works do not come immediately, and the most immediate ones are not usually the best, since they are propelled by a particular situation to which artists are asked to respond at once. However, I would say that I have not been aware of any important works in reaction to this situation, but rather curatorial initiatives. Paul Virilio spoke about the accident at a show in the Cartier Foundation, but 9/11 was not an accident. The exhibition was interesting in theory, but the works included were questionable, since they were quite diverse and different in their approaches and aims. On Translation: El Tren Urbano. 2005. Public Art Project. Roosevelt Station in Hato Rey’s Urban Train. Can the artist really have an influence on the San Juan. Puerto Rico. Photo: John Betancourt. © Muntadas media? Is it still possible for a new project for the world to be proposed from the sphere of art? It would be presumptuous to think that we can contribute to major changes. The artworks should contribute to a political attitude, operating as “documents” of reality, notwithstanding discussion, a reflection, an interrogation. I think it unlikely for it to have their subjectivity. Similarly, the film appears to be an ideal medium for an immediate impact. Rather, it will echo, strengthening discourses reflecting situations of acceleration, insecurity, and transformation. that already exist, from other perspectives, and pointing out or Could video be the most useful contemporary narrative medium for illustrating issues to other, parallel discourses. showing the panorama of our times? I don’t know. Marc Augé commented to me that he had been The video made a strong comeback in the 1990s, but the reasons for invited to the forum held in advance of the next Venice Biennale, and this were disparate. New generations have grown up with television, he said that the agenda for this meeting on this new Biennale was cinema, and, in general, the narrative of the moving image. This use of mainly taken from the issues I had raised in I Giardini at the last video is perhaps sometimes excessive. It is used as a convention, Biennale. I’m not sure, but perhaps I helped to revive a dialogue. Still, even when there is no logical connection with the project. The medium the fact that these questions raised in the Pavilion had an immediate appears for me in the process of work –I don’t start out thinking that a effect probably means that there was a need. I would say that the work will be done in photography, as an installation, a publication, or a contribution that we can make is the discussion on a number of intellectual aspects, of the medium, on the cultural level, and about ideas. When I decided to call the Pavilion On Translation it was plainly because I meant to pose a pavilion that would be transformed into a discussion of ideas, because the production as a cultural translation is showing how the interpretation is approached. It is based on political, economic, cultural and social issues. We analyse something that we know exists, but the important thing is to try to see it in a different way. At the same time, I think it is fine that Robert Stock is listening to opinions and opening a forum. The question is: is this a gesture? Will it have any consequences?
The language of photography or video would appear to predominate in artistic practises with a
On Translation : Stand By, 2005 Spanish Pavillion. 51st Venice Biennial © Muntadas.
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On Translation: Fear / Miedo, 2005 A Project by Antoni Muntadas for In Site_05 / Interventions Beta digital video. Tijuana, México - San Diego, U.S.A. © Muntadas
video. I think that for a question of production, but also of presentation of the work, an automatic movement has been created which leads to uniformity. In every project there is a direct relation with the medium and there may be works with a very clear sense of the medium to be used, but often a way of working is being created that leads to a generic production and presentation systems. Though they are often confused, there is a great difference between a monochannel video, a projection, and an installation. They are three different devices: a monochannel has to do with a way of watching television, and is not a work in a loop. And a projection is different from the other two. The installation is not just the moving image, but it is also a series of elements that create an appropriate atmosphere. There is an interrelation of elements, like a assamblage, an extension of sculpting, which turns it into a different proposition. Different ways of looking imply different ways of doing, then? When I read or am going to watch something, I regard it as worthwhile if it manages to touch me, if it makes me think and inspires me to do things. It is a good sign when something you read or see motivates you. First comes the formal part of the work, the sensorial part. There is a question of emotion, of an urge, from the viewpoint of perception –first it has to touch you perceptively, and later you can rationalise the work, you can situate it, entering into a more intellectual process– but the interesting thing is to know whether is there a subsequent reaction or not, a motivation to activity. For example, the power of action of a workshop is limited, but even so, they always create kinds of reflections, interrelations, and short circuits, that are produced when you see other works and discuss them. 28 · ARTECONTEXTO · DOSSIER
Lastly, as collective experience, can it be said that inSITE has had some impact on society? I believe that inSITE, like other projects such as Arte/Cidade in Brazil, can be distinguished plainly from events like biennales. They are projects that are intended to have an impact on the territory and are always works that are made with that purpose. It is a structure of production and not only of presentation, in which the artist decides how to react to a context in producing and presenting works. In my case it was a 30-minute work to be broadcast on television, determining what should be seen in Tijuana-San Diego and in Mexico City-Washington D.C. This decision was important. To stress that there was one visible and one invisible border was essential to the project. It is possible that in each inSITE there will be works that remain and that become emblematic, but it is still unlikely that everything that is done will be of interest, and have some sort of impact on society. Furthermore, the practice of changing the curator should be reconsidered. I wouldn’t mind at all if Osvaldo Sánchez were to serve again, because he would have gathered experience. He was a very unique curator: he moved to San Diego and spent two years there working –which is not easy to find– to familiarise himself with the situation. I think he intervened in a way different from the previous ones, and to do it for only one year doesn’t seem like enough, because these things should be allowed to develop over time. If someone else comes, the previous experience is lost. However, there is some continuity thanks to Michael Krichman and Carmen Cuenca, the executive directors of inSITE, who are the people that make it possible for inSITE to be carried out, who organise the production structure, the legal side, the economic side, etc. But at the end of the day it was Osvaldo Sánchez who had the freedom to decide in artistic terms what the projects would be. Each one played a role in the different media, circumstances, and communities. One thing that happened with On Translation: Fear/Miedo was that when it was viewed by people who had been involved in the project, some people asked me for a copy to show to members of the border patrol police, since they thought that they should see it and hear the opinions coming from Tijuana and San Diego, opinions spawned by the fear generated by situations for which they are partly responsible, and which they never hear. It appears that this work created a perception that immediately defined a public on which it could have an impact. This was wonderful, but it doesn’t always work out that way. In inSITE there are works that operate in very different ways, some of them associated with the idea of the spectacle –which for me was the least interesting dimension– and with the idea of cultural consumption, akin to other types of events. And there are also works concerned with time, with a community that involves people. Different groups of people were involved with different projects. This makes for considerable diversity, even though it is not an exhaustive programme,
On Translation: I Giardini, 2005 Spanish Pavillion. 51st Venice Biennial © Muntadas. Photo: Claudio Franzini
and it brings problems, but they are problems that arise from the context itself and from the same cultural manifestation. However, I think that people are eager to work in a serious way and not to create spectacles unnecessarily, although there are some works that were produced to attract a type of public which otherwise would not have attended. For example, Javier Téllez’ “bullet-man”, shot back and forth across the border, which was advertised as if it were a circus attraction, and broadcast with readings of poems written by inmates at the local madhouse. At the end of the day this was the image of inSITE that got the most circulation. There are artists who create a media dimension in their work, who attract a great number of persons, creating the “media event” so that the work later has come media characteristics that complement it. Sometimes it is pure event or pure controversy and sometimes not, now that it manages to reach some segments of society that otherwise it could not reach. I think that there are many levels, in
recent years there have been people who have understood the media as an element of dissemination, information and discussion, and others who see it as a very specific element in relation to their work. In instances such as Yes Men, that have taken part with a biographical film made in Hollywood, other audiences are reached. It is a group that they define as activists in which the participants change their name according to the project, and introduce themselves and present their work at international meetings such as that of the WTO, to question many situations with interventions and performances. In sum, I believe that the most interesting projects are the ones that raise questions and question certain things –at bottom these are question we are all asking, but that only rarely come to light publicly. At the same time, a project will always help you to learn more about something. *Pedro Medina, critic and Culture Area Coordinator at the Instituto Europeo di Design (Madrid).
DOSSIER · ARTECONTEXTO · 29
rjo Por/By Marius Babias*
Con sus dibujos, realizados a partir de unos pocos trazos, Dan Perjovschi no sólo ha encontrado la forma de aludir al dilema de la auto-colonización, sino también de desenmascarar el mecanismo europeista y occidental oculto tras el proceso de ampliación de la Unión Europea. Sus dibujos, que mezclan con singular virtuosismo la caricatura, el cómic y el graffiti, abren nuestros ojos a las complejas conexiones entre la vida cotidiana, la agenda política y la identidad cultural. Sin reproducir resentimientos de tipo anti-occidentales o retrógrados (cosa muy en boga entre algunas elites culturales de Europa del Este), Perjovschi se centra, de forma sarcástica y a veces irónica, en el proceso de autoconstrucción con mecanismos y conceptos Occidentales.
With his drawings Dan Perjovschi has found a means –using just a few strokes– for not only naming the dilemma of self-colonisation, but also for prising open and unmasking the Western Europeanism dispositive behind the EU European Enlargement Process. His drawings, which straddle with great virtuosity caricature, cartoon and graffiti, train our eyes for the complex connections between everyday life, political agenda, and cultural self-definition. Without reproducing anti-Western and antiModernist resentments (as have become fashionable among parts of the East European cultural elites), they focus in an ironic and at times sarcastic way on the process of selfconstruction with Western concepts and dispositives.
* Marius Babias es escritor y curador, vive y trabaja en Berlín. Marius Babias is a writer and curator, he lives in Berlin.
scEnEs for action
By Natalia Maya Santacruz
LIQUIDACIÓN TOTAL: AN EXPERIMENTAL SPACE IN MALASAÑA
SPACE INVADERS: INVASION OF THE STREETS
www.liquidaciontotal.org This site belongs to an association that encourages, backs, and develops cultural and contemporary art projects in Madrid’s Malasaña neighbourhood (23 San Vicente Ferrer street). Its open programme consists of very diverse activities, including exhibitions, debates, video screenings, and lectures. Liquidación Total welcomes all projects which, despite their quality, have not been admitted to more conventional spaces. The page opens with graphics referring to the season’s exhibitions, followed, at the bottom of the screen, with a detailed list of the activities carried out since the association was formed and the space opened. Belonging to this group are artists such as Antonio Ballester, Ulrich Schötker, Lila Insúa, and Patricia Peribañez.
The website www.space-invaders.com reminds us of the famous video game played on the Atari console back in the 1980s. The pixellated aliens and their invading ships counterattack this time with an urban occupation that reaches the streets of many cities. This collective takes up the revival spirit of the four-legged pixel drawing and uses it in street interventions with different sizes and materials: aerosols, stencils, small pieces of 1 x 1 cm and tiles that cover entire walls in forbidden places and which, though at times resembling a video game, at other times are like Rubik’s Cube, whose colour scheme reminds us of an enormous pixellation. In the section “the invasions” we can find images and brief reminders of the interventions in the nearly 30 cities visited, along with guides-maps for finding the work. It is well worth clicking on the Amsterdam link, where a small newspaper cutting says it all: “City officials have determined that a strange group is leaving its card in the form of mosaics on bridges and buildings —mosaics filled with colour that represent small cosmonauts.” Although this collective, like many graffiti artists, jealously conceals its identity, it does not shrink from showing its work in galleries and art centres combining animation, video, and photography. In the section Art spaces attacks we can see the exhibition flyers until 2005.
WOOSTERCOLLECTIVE: STREET ARCHIVE www.woostercollective.com It might be said that this website is urban art par excellence or “a celebration of street art”, as it claims on the opening page, but it is also a sort of archive recording the rarities found by member investigators on different streets and corners around the world. Its files, which over the past five years have become a large database, hold everything having to do with ephemeral street art. Aside from graffiti and reportages, its searchable categories include crime, which refers to laws, official notices and other articles and fragments that criminalise and point the finger at this artistic practice, seen by the members of Wooster with humour and irony. As well as showing a selection of its own work, the Wooster Collective invites visitors to join in the search for new interventions and to help locate those responsible, usually anonymous artists. Also present are fanzines, low budget editions, images of stencils, and interventions in advertising.
ATOMIC EYE: AN INDEPENDENT SPACE www.ojoatomico.com This self-styled “anti-museum of contemporary art” page represents one of the most interesting places in the Madrid independent art scene, on 25 Mantuano street. Since 1993 the well-known Ojo Atómico has been showing its experimental approach to all kinds of cultural initiatives that promote citizen participation and interest in interventions in public spaces. It seeks the involvement of artists in the political and social spheres in order to boost cultural diversity. Its website also provides the list of all its activities, which are of course not confined to exhibitions, but also include debates, workshops, and lectures in nearby public spaces. We can find information about its work in a free magazine and on the link to the catalogue, which contains details of activities carried out and a perhaps too brief selection of texts addressing such matters as the independent projects or museum fever as a speculative action in cities.
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Published on Jun 9, 2009