saco semana de arte contemporรกneo contemporar y ar t week antofagasta / chile
FIFTH CONTEMPORARY ART WEEK MELBOURNE CLARK HISTORICAL PIER, ANTOFAGASTA / THE DRIEST PLACE IN THE WORLD, QUILLAGUA
one way ticket 1
saco semana de arte contemporรกneo contemporar y ar t week antofagasta / chile
FIFTH CONTEMPORARY ART WEEK MELBOURNE CLARK HISTORICAL PIER, ANTOFAGASTA / THE DRIEST PLACE IN THE WORLD, QUILLAGUA
one way ticket 1
SACO5, Fifth Contemporary Art Week One way ticket / August - September 2016 ARTISTS Angel Delgado Cuba / USA Bogdan Achimescu Rumania / Poland Paula Quintela Chile / Australia Johannes Pfeiffer Germany / Italy Alicja Rogalska Poland / England Teresa Solar Egypt / Spain CURATORS Flavia Introzzi Argentina / Spain Krzysztof Gutfrański Poland / Brazil Marisa Caichiolo Argentina / USA TEAM director / Dagmara Wyskiel general producer / Christian Núñez head of communications / Carla Wong communication support / Gonzalo Medina head of local media / Christian Godoy editorial support / Carolina Lara head of mediation with schools and communes / Carmen América Núñez administration / Cindy Gómez head of web / Juan Troncoso support in edition of contents / Francisco Vergara production assistance / Catalina Lobos head of editing / Héctor Valdebenito audiovisual and documental video register / André Salva photographer / Sebastián Rojas photographic registration support / Angélica Araya, Gabriel Navia, Dagmara Wyskiel, Cristian Ochoa, Pamela Canales, André Salva, Francisco Vergara, Juan Troncoso text translation / Kevin Hagen SACO5 is organized by the Colectivo SE VENDE, Mobile Platform of Contemporary Art, in alliance with PAR Corporation. It is financed by the Regional Government of Antofagasta with resources from the National Fund of Regional Development, F.N.D.R., 2% Culture, year 2016. Presented by Minera Escondida, operated by BHP Billiton. We are grateful for the support from: Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Santiago, Radio Bío Bío, Arte Al Límite, El Mostrador, Visual Arts Museum (MAVI), Antofagasta TV, El Mercurio de Antofagasta newspaper, InformArte.cl, Antofagasta Regional Library, Artishock, CP Communications, Hablarenarte, Curators’ Network, Mauricio Quezada and Manuel Cortés. edition / Carolina Lara y Dagmara Wyskiel layout / Christian Núñez Created and produced by Colectivo SE VENDE, Mobile Platform of Contemporary Art Antofagasta, november 2016 www.proyectosaco.cl
TABLE OF CONTENTS ONE WAY TICKET / 7 One way ticket. Dagmara Wyskiel / 9 Ticket to SACO. Carolina Lara / 13 Relations regarding emigrating. Gonzalo Medina / 16 An invitation to let ourselves be surprised. Patricio Vilaplana / 21 From the Historical Pier. Patricio Rojas / 23
PSTONE, PUZZLE, PARADISE: THOUGHTS OF DISLOCATED ARTISTS / 25 Fleeting moments of a journey. Carolina Lara / 27 Pieces of an eternal puzzle. Paula Quintela / 31 Mutant identities. Angel Delgado - José Gascón Martínez / 34 Lost paradise? Bogdan Achimescu / 42 The artist´s emigration: a discovery journey. Johannes Pfeiffer / 47 The stone. Teresa Solar / 54 We are all victims. Alicja Rogalska conversa con Rafaela Castro / 59
TO EMIGRATE IS TO ASSUME A SCHIZOPHRENIA OF THE IDENTITY / 65 Interview with: Paula Quintela / 67 Angel Delgado / 71 Achimescu / 75 Johannes Pfeiffer / 78 Teresa Solar / 82 Alicja Rogalska / 85
THE DISEMBARKATION / 91 Diasporas on the pier. Rodolfo Andaur / 93
DISPLACEMENT, GLOBALIZATION AND PRAXIS / 109 Digging up those topics. Carolina Lara / 111 Dream destination. Marisa Caichiolo / 114 Experiences in an island in the middle of the desert. Flavia Introzzi / 118 Welcome to de desert of the real! Krzysztof Gutfranski / 122
AT THE SECONDARY SCHOOL / 127 Educative dialogues and approaches. Gonzalo Medina y Francisco Vergara / 129
IN THE FRAMEWORK OF SACO5 / 137 Overflowing the frame. Dagmara Wyskiel / 139 Image, images and diatribes. Rodolfo Andaur / 142 Astrolab_line and progression. Angie Saiz / 144 Migratory mourning: intercultural photography workshop. Cristian Ochoa / 148 Tetrapods and the MAVI / Youth Art Award. María Irene Alcalde y Gonzalo Contreras / 151 FAXXI - SACO 2017: linking networks to make emerging artists visible. Isabel Parot / 154 The line, the rock and the bone. Residency of Bogdan Achimescu and Teresa Solar in Quillagua. Dagmara Wyskiel / 156 Desert intervened. Bogdan Achimescu, Guisela Munita y Oscar Concha / 163 Conecting histories. Melanie Gerland / 181
COLECTIVO SE VENDE: A RECOLLECTION / 189
ONE WAY TICKET
ONE WAY TICKET To emigrate is to assume an everlasting schizophrenia of identity. Even if you go back one day, you will never again feel completely here. A little of there impregnated your skin and your mind. The visit to the place of origin becomes a trip into the past, where you look for the same people and go back to the same places as always, sometimes uselessly. It’s hard for you to understand the changes. Despite that, you feel that you belong to this history and this world. There could be multiple reasons why you left, depending on where you were born and grew up. Growing up in one cultural context and as an adult changing to another can set off the need to reinforce the original identity (attachment and shelter), generate the conviction of not belonging to another place (desterritoriality), assuming oneself as a citizen of the world (globalisation or uprooting) or moulding yourself to the new reality to such an extent that you feel part of only it (elasticity of the transplant). Whatever the form or combination of the foregoing, you have to learn everything over again. Starting with local history and cultures. Sometimes the language or the religion. The festivals, the symbols, traditions, prides and taboo subjects. Migrations constitute one of the most significant and transversal hallmarks of our times and influence all social sectors, continents and professions. It is the reality that we assume slowly, and with various focuses of resistance. The right to choose, in the XXI century, where I want to live and work seems unquestionable. But it is not, on either side of the Atlantic or Pacific. Waves of what is foreign cause fear, xenophobia and nationalism in one segment, and empathy and solidarity in another. In forming our judgements we should never forget that every decision of this nature matures in the intimacy of a family and involves a sacrifice that goes far beyond what is material. Today, one out of every ten inhabitants of northern Chile is a foreigner. A half million Chileans live outside the country. The times of economic and political exodus are left behind and we hope they never come back. For more than a decade, some have been calling the country “the Switzerland of Latin America”, converted into a place of desire and pilgrimage, with a one-way ticket in hand or by the clandestine road in the north. For that reason, Antofagasta, as the largest urban and economic centre in the Atacama Desert, arises as a coherent and timely place to talk about migration, this time not as a socio-political phenomenon, but understanding it as a transcendental human experience, shared by millions. It’s true that for everyone who left their country of origin, emigration becomes a threshold that marks a before and after in their lives; nevertheless, the essence of the work of a driver or a doctor does not vary much between one place and another. Artists, however, face an additional challenge. Frequently 9
working based on the social fabric, they stress political contexts, re-read recent history and react to the developments of the moment. How can a work of coherence and weight be constructed when you are illiterate or blind in one eye? Being an artist already formed, how do you reinsert yourself in a scene and not fall into the autism of the outsider? How do you understand a world where you didn’t grow up but nonetheless one in which you pretend to belong? Six emigrant artists were invited to create works arising from their experience, self-referring and at the same time universal. Crosses on a world map marked the journeys between origins and destinations. Who are you for yourself and for your setting? What does your identity mean today in a globalised world? And finally, does it matter to you that your origin shapes your artistic production? These are the questions we asked them. SACO, OR AN EXAMPLE OF HOW TO NOURISH YOURSELF IN THE DESERT The fifth version of the Contemporary Art Week closed its doors with 13 thousand visitors. The 4 thousand from the year before were already considered a great success. When in 2012 we proposed setting up a cyclical and mass event in Antofagasta, nobody was willing to bet on the project; our elevated level of utopia caused smiles. In northern Chile, deprived of museums, galleries, art centres and documentation, professional careers that developed critical thinking, there was nothing to hold onto. We started with the formation and agglutination of the local micro scene. Self-taught artists, journalists by education who always wanted to study art, engineers who gave four years of their lives and a degree certificate to their parents, psychologists who understand the world through the lens, and others with or without degrees from local universities and educational establishments that are in essence higher education institutes in service of large-scale mining. There was a hunger for art. So we set up a “small ambulatory food stand” with guests well selected for what we needed: generous, visionary and highly knowledgeable, who gave workshops, exhibited their works, and held residencies in The Driest 10
Place in the World, Quillagua, involving the circuit in their production process. After four years we can talk about a micro scene that grew in parallel with SACO. In a land supposedly infertile and without the minimum conditions necessary, with brush strokes of public policies, a placebo of discourses, and the omnipresence of industry. As happens in these cases, in the desert cultivation feeds on what it can, taking maximum advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, and it turns out to be from determination, resistance, and an impressive absorption capacity. Itâ€™s what amazes the university professors from Santiago who come to give speeches at the ISLA (Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Arte): the attention, the interest and the commitment of the local artists and producers. The micro scene learns and teaches at the same time; itâ€™s a multi-channel flow, to be fed and at the same time to feed others. There is no time to wait until one stage is closed and another starts; everything advances simultaneously. Students from workshops and reviews of portfolios are at the same time mediators for the first contact in SACO â€“ guides who attend to visitors and bring the works to the public, photographers for recording, sound engineers, journalists, and web administrators.
The educational opportunities are free; for the work performed in SACO they receive compensation. This year was hard for them: attending to 13 thousand people is no small task. Installing SACO on the Historical Pier of Antofagasta was the right answer. Independent of the intense program of mediation with the schools, the bombardment in the local press and social media, it was the casual passers-by who significantly elevated the number of visitors. Between the fishing terminal, the municipality, the regional museum and the historic quarter a couple steps from the Plaza ColĂłn, an obligatory circulation and socially transversal sector was set up. The whole family with ice cream, the driver with the seafood empanada, the lady in a hat with her poodle, a pair of cyclists forever young, the troublesome little group cutting classes, the unemployed union member who was never a father and is now learning to be a grandfather, the reggeaton music player and his group, and the fashionable bearded man with his blonde woman. They went by there. And there the guides were waiting to accompany them to tour the pier among the works of art. We had everything figured out. SACO grows, expectations and demands, both internal and external, rise. In a national scenario that has not been able to set up a biennial or triennial, it has become the only cyclical non-commercial event in the visual arts, with visibility and resonance inside and outside the country. The fact that the epicentre moves a thousand 400 kilometres north for a couple weeks is good for everyone, both those here and those there. The place where you are seated significantly influences your way of looking at the world, especially if you are fixed in the same armchair for a long time. Itâ€™s a good idea to change the angle once in a while, even though the stool in Calama or Temuco is not as comfortable and it moves. Dagmara Wyskiel SACO Director
Ticket TO saco Thanks to the self-management effort of the Group SE VENDE, Mobile Contemporary Art Platform, the intermittent support from state and regional funds, and a now constant alliance with private companies, SACO has become one of the maximum contemporary art encounters in the country, without conforming to classical formats, but rather redefining itself every time based on local needs. SACO is not an art fair or merely an international curatorship or an exhibition of works. The event has achieved continuity in northern Chile, pointing at different situations, since its first version in 2012, successively: the presence of national and international artists and experts, the encounter of autonomous arrangements, work in situ on the topic of Chile – Peru – Bolivia borders, and always the presence of the guests in Quillagua, an Aymara town that subsists on the banks of the Loa River and where the residencies program The Driest Place in the World is held. Over time, the Antofagasta Contemporary Art Week has contributed to generating a local artistic scene, or at the very least to activate relations, situations with great emphasis on the public, strengthening “audiences” in a territory where before, literally, there was a great void with respect to contemporary art. Its fourth version in 2015 went even beyond what could be a scene and centred on artistic education, holding workshops aimed at different languages and that related to artists-teachers from Latin America with 82 high school students from Arica to Vallenar in northern Chile. Titled One way ticket, SACO5 was dedicated to the topic of immigration. This year’s encounter included work in situ by six artists from Europe and Latin America (August 18 to 28) plus a tour of interventions made by them through the Melbourne Clark Historical Pier (August 28 to September 13), as well as a
series of parallel activities from July to September under the program In the framework of. In a Chilean city especially marked by flows of immigration, each invited artist represented that reality: Angel Delgado is a Cuban who lives in the United States; Bogdan Achimescu, a Romanian settled in Poland; Paula Quintela, a Chilean residing in Australia; Johannes Pfeiffer was born in Germany and works in Italy; Alicja Rogalska is a Polish emigrant in England; while Teresa Solar has an Egyptian mother but was born and resides in Spain. Also participating as curators were: Flavia Introzzi (Argentina / Spain); Krzysztof Gutfranski (Poland / Brazil) and Marisa Caichiolo (Argentina / USA). In previous versions, SACO has been held in the Antofagasta Station Cultural Centre and the Huanchaca Cultural Park. This year’s location was once again a heritage site that at the same time enabled more effectively reaching the local public. SACO was held on the “nitrate pier” in the centre of the city, in the middle of the historic quarter. The construction from the end of the XIX century is a National Monument. It was there that the emigrants who built this large city and the entire north historically arrived. There they first set foot on Chilean territory. The pier is a symbolic space, a threshold where you aren’t in the water or on
land. An architectonic metaphor for the condition of various emigrants. Thanks to the agreement signed between Corporaciรณn Cultural PAR, the administrators of the site, and the Group SE VENDE, plus the work in situ by artists that circulate internationally, the organizers were able to expand and diversify the audiences: compared to the 4 thousand attendees there were in 2015, this year 13 thousand people came to the exhibition. And this impact is without counting the number of young people and visual arts teachers who previously participated in a cycle of conferences and discussions in schools in Antofagasta, Tocopilla and Mejillones, which gave continuity to the work of prior years with artistic education, once again strengthening the links between first level representatives of contemporary art and young people from the zone. In the framework of is a program of activities that provides SACO with exponential growth. It is configured based on alliances, inserting themselves with various activities in other spaces and communities. From the end of July to November, various activities came to life: there was an updating course on visual arts given by Rodolfo Andaur; a video art encounter, Astrolab, organised by the artist and director Angie Saiz, with projections on the pier and a workshop on experimental collective video creation given by Carlos Silva; plus the inauguration of a mural in the Chilenos de Villa El Sol camp in Los Arenales sector, the culmination of a photography workshop given by Cristiรกn Ochoa to immigrants on the occupied land. From August 9 to September 13, the artist from Arica, Gonzalo Contreras (MAVI / Youth Art Award 2014), exhibited a series of sculptures called Tetrapods in the public space; while at the inauguration of SACO5 on the 25th of August, the FAXXI - SACO contest was launched for artists from the north, an agreement between the Antofagasta encounter and the Santiago art fair. Then, from August 25 to September 2, Teresa Solar and Bogdan Achimescu did a residency in Quillagua; in October, the Chilean artist living in Germany, Melanie Garland, worked with immigrants in Antofagasta as part of her project Connecting histories; to finalise the program with the Intervened Deserts Spring Laboratories. Three residencies of research and creation in ancestral settlements for local artists that were the responsibility of Bogdan Achimescu, Guisela Munita and Oscar Concha, respectively, in September, October and November, focusing on the localities of Paposo, Quillagua, and Ayquina. Carolina Lara Journalist and art critic
RELATIONS REGARDING EMIGRATING The city of Antofagasta, as a platform for the installation of SACO 5 feeds back into the relational syntax in which the project is developed, being a territory where reflecting on migration as a social phenomenon becomes transcendental. Art in that sense is once again a critical space of reflection where the public, the works and artists are mixed together in an unprecedented experience that transcends the various activities of this version of SACO in a symbiosis that is able to create a space for reflection on the social setting regarding emigration based on contemporary art. While the SACO5 activities were being carried out, the Antofagasta public was finding out about the particular occurrence of a project of a territorial nature. Being on the Historical Pier of Antofagasta, a place of heritage, and a space open to the public, closer relations were developed between the publicâ€™s experience and the works, added to by the participation of the artists in the production process in situ, including in places symbolic for emigration, beyond the pier, such as the occupied sites in Los Arenales Sector of Antofagasta, where mostly families from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia reside, and where the Cuban artist
Angel Delgado interviewed residents in order to collect sheets for his work Dream destination. In that sense, in addition to working around a contingent topic, actions were outlined that brought the public, the works and the artists closer together, resulting in enriching proxemics that enabled socially intertwining the topic more effectively in the audience: with 13 thousand spectators for the principal showing, and in the conferences held in the schools, where each artist, in a strategy of cultural mediation, presented his or her work, personal history and proposal for addressing emigration. These sessions were held in municipal institutions where students from emigrant families were also present, which implied a certain pertinence of this work of linking and intertwining art and life. The need to create opportunities for dialogue based on contemporary art evidenced the importance of a topic very much present and alive in the local, but also national and international public. So SACOâ€™s centre of operations, the Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Arte, ISLA, was a core from which six artists from all parts of the world developed their unedited works, moving between the pier and ISLA, coproducing their works, and also feeling the stories of the audience and establishing a place of encounter in the institute where inhabiting was mixed with what is relational, along with creation and mediation around emigrating.
So, the different works placed on the historical pier also had a relation with other experiences, with similar life stories and those of each of the artists in the different countries in which they decided to build a new life, which were points of reference and keys that generated a certain closeness with the public regarding the topic of migration. For example, in the performance by Alicja Rogalska, an artist who was also an emigrant asked for donations to raise a monument to the victims of capitalism, with that body also being disciplined by that system; or in the house built with cushions by Paula Quintela, that referred to the yearning for objects of the home, where viewers found quotes of memories of what was most intimate about their migrant situation. Also, the sounds collected by Teresa Solar in El Cairo and previously inserted into the installation sought to be a nexus between the artistâ€™s personal experience and a potpourri of music of different parts of the planet, making out the need to invite the audience to situate itself in a common place, through the sounds of Fata morgana, El Cairo landscape. On his part, and using the constructed space as a landmark of appropriation, the Romanian artist Bodgan Achimescu produced the work Ermita, which consisted of 24 drawings placed on the north ladder of the pier, referring to the phenomenon of emigration based on a caricature, where the public found
a sequential narrative in a pleasant encounter with the sea. Recalling the old use of the place, the German artist Johannes Pfeiffer decided to re-establish through memory a process of travel that stressed the past and the present, installing a One way ship at the end of the Historical Pier, metaphorically tracing the trip undertaken by the early emigrants who arrived in Antofagasta and Chile, and also writing a current story with a sculpture placed between the pier and the ocean, where what was important was the site of the view. Art and community were intertwined through a critical exercise that occupied a public space and reverted the conventional forms of art in order to establish links with contingent issues, forming a synergy with the audienceâ€™s experience, inviting them to reflect on the migratory processes in first person, writing metaphorical experiences based on a crucial territory for talking about emigration in a national and international context. Gonzalo Medina Journalist
AN INVITATION TO LET OURSELVES BE SURPRISED We are proud to have the chance to see how Antofagasta has had impressive development in the area of culture and how in turn different groups have made collaboration and synergy a model of management. That SACO5 was presented on the Historical Pier of Antofagasta speaks of this common desire to generate quality cultural opportunities with a high sense of civic participation. We thank Dagmara and Christian for the constant provocation that SACO means, for making us uncomfortable as human beings and taking us out of our comfort zone. Contemporary art becomes a medium to recreate a reality that we often prefer to avoid. 2014 was the year when we reflected on the complex relationship between Chile, Peru and Bolivia; in 2015 we were surprised with the talent and creativity of more than 80 young people from the region in the showing Between the shape and the mould, and this year 2016 one of the oldest processes in humanity â€“ migration, was placed on the scene. One way ticket reflects the journey of no return of six artists, an experience that is shared by thousands of people who decide to cross over the borders of their country of origin to make a new start. These human displacements are well known in the history of Antofagasta. Its origin, development and present are marked by the value of inter-culturalism; it is its most essential characteristic. Perhaps there we will find the answer to the constant question about the local identity. For us it is cause for great satisfaction to be part of an initiative such as this, which constantly pushes us to break through barriers, eliminate prejudices and reflect on topics that many times are complex, difficult, or that are not often addressed. SACO reflects our commitment to culture, always understanding it as an effective form of transformation and development. It is an invitation to let ourselves be surprised and enjoy this new provocation. Patricio Vilaplana Vice President of Corporate Affairs Minera Escondida, operated by BHP Billiton
FROM THE HISTORICAL PIER The Melbourne Clark Historical Pier of Antofagasta is a space where the most native identity of those of us who give life to the local community takes on its full expression, since it gives account of our history as an eyewitness of the evolution of this desert soil, and is the starting point for all those who came from other latitudes seeking a new life in the emerging city that shelters us today. For that reason, rescuing and valuing this monument that makes all of us who live in Antofagasta proud is in the most important sense talking about immigration and the contribution made by those who came from far away to be the forgers of our territory. Being able to receive, contribute and value the work involved in the SACO contemporary art week, which in its fifth version in 2016 is focused on showing the reality of immigration, its hardships, anxieties, dreams and hopes, becomes a gesture that could not have a more suitable location than this pier, because it converses perfectly with its essence and provides that implicit value that only results from a view based on art: in a reflection that necessarily makes us see how a multicultural and diverse community has the challenge of taking care of its history and projecting it for those who will inhabit this soil in the future. Patricio Rojas Figueroa Presidente Corporaciรณn Cultural PAR de Antofagasta1
PAR (Palabra, Arte y Regiรณn [Word, Art and Region]) is the administrator of the Melbourne Clark Pier
STONE, PUZZLE, PARADISE
Thoughts of dislocated artists
FLEETING MOMENTS OF A JOURNEY Since the world is a village that we visualise in a click, and globalisation, more than a concept of a time is a reality that we experience in the street itself, tinged with multiculturalism, certain categories of artists – “nomads” or “radicants”, have come to determine situations that are key for contemporary art and perhaps currently in many cases do not pass through the condition of artist. The second term corresponds to an analogy that Nicolás Bourriaud makes in a book published in 2009, between the botanic family of radicants (plants that do not have just one root but multiple roots that can grow in any surface and in all directions) and an aesthetic of migrations. “A radicant can separate itself from its first roots without harming itself, and once again become acclimatised: there is no single origin but rather successive, simultaneous or cross rootings… It can carry fragments of identity with it, provided they are transplanted in other soils and that their ongoing metamorphosis is accepted” says the French art critic. Entering into Bourriaud’s theory are “the precarious identities, the open forms, and instability”, works such as “fleeting moments of a journey”, where artists do not forget their roots but what is most important is where they are going. On the topic of emigration, this year SACO5: One way ticket brought together six international artists who embody this whole situation from their condition as immigrants, for a work of interventions on a site that is no less significant in this respect: the Melbourne Clark pier. Its construction dates from 1872, during the nitrate peak, and it is situated in the historic quarter of a city today marked precisely by high indices of immigration, due to the great development of mining and by the large inequalities that characterise the context of wild neoliberalism. Two moments that are undoubtedly connected, and in a way related and strained here, in front of an element as symbolically key as the sea, with its infinite, suggestive horizon. In the works in situ, the artists then had to review their own experiences as well as those of the place, seeking relations that went past what is common in order to come across the others at the same time. The writings with which they contributed to this book is a similar but separate effort. They are the reflections that each one established based on the invitation from SACO5. The view generally turns self-referential: here we have the chance to get to know part of the artists’ own biographies. But the stories are at the same time in connection with the collective immigration experiences of others, who live in specific zones as well as through global situations. Paula Quintela (Chile / Australia) precisely wonders: What happens when we emigrate? The author, who could represent a Latin American artist’s own searches by exploring less restrictive scenes, reveals part of her personal story of a feeling of more female 27
rootedness. She talks about the mother, the grandmother, the home, of a feeling of fragility and at the same time of belonging, where identity is in constant movement. The trip made by Angel Delgado (Cuba / United States) was more obligatory. A displacement driven by the island’s conflictive situation, which involved expatriation, and that he shares with hundreds of his compatriots, whether artists or not, for generations. Along with the Cuban art critic José Clemente Gascón, he also talks about the conditions of Cuban artists in exile, a scene in diaspora that confronted with what is foreign has raised its own identity and has incorporated other codes, contributing a kind of baroque style to Cuban contemporary art, always revealing the society of origin. Bogdan Achimescu (Romania / Poland) tells us a story of emigrations, that of his family that goes way back, to a town that the author sees through the eyes of the grandfather, and the father, as a kind of paradise lost, marked nevertheless by the geopolitical changes suffered during the last century in Europe and the East, and the war. The father, he tells us, has Alzheimer’s and the artist has opted to leave the nest, the roots. In the journey, the loss of memory and also the effort to trap it, even though in minimal fragments. The emigration experience of Johannes Pfeiffer (Germany / Italy) has been more internal, born from that impetus of change that led him to a decision so radical as to leave everything there had been before. What remains and what goes away in that journey? The artist sees that in the search for a new home in the world, the first thing abandoned is security, in order to give in to a process of constant change that is mutual, that operates on the person who arrives as well as the person who receives him. Pfeiffer also sees in this dynamic a metaphor of artistic creation. The text by Teresa Solar (Spain, with an Egyptian mother) is filled with memories, flashbacks, reflections on the relationship with her mother and images of El Cairo that at times sound surrealist. The childhood, the family, the language, the Mountain, the pyramids, the sand, the grandfather, the cemetery, the airport, the stone and the dust, come and go in the story along with that sensation of not being from neither here nor there. In this chapter, all the texts are in first person, except that of Alicja Rogalska (Poland / England), who opted to have another person speak, another emigrant, so she interviewed Rafaela Castro, the Colombian actress located in Antofagasta who participated in the intervention on the pier, The monument to the victims of capitalism. There, according to Alicja’s proposal, she had to interact with the public, establish dialogues based on a crucial topic for the local context. In the interview, the Polish artist might be relating her own immigration experience with that of Rafaela, compared face to face with the resident of Antofagasta. 28
In their texts, the artists somehow reveal the reasons for their moves, occurring in some cases due to the violence of a dictator, or simply the need to be challenged, with each experience being of an intensity difficult to take on, of growth marked of course by the work, and at the same time traversed by an initial tearing that leaves everlasting imprints. Carolina Lara
Paula Quintela (1968, Santiago - Chile) Degree in Arts with a major in Painting from the Universidad de Chile, with professional photography studies in the TAFE Institute of Brisbane, Australia, and in Fotoforum in Santiago; as well as ceramics in Fanshaw College in Ontario, Canada and engraving with the Canadian artist Jean Pierre Sauvé in Montreal. Her work explores the cultural experiences and connections between time, migration and memory. From 1997 to 2000 she lived in Canada. Then in Chile she resided in Antofagasta. In 2007 she migrated to Brisbane, Australia, where she currently lives. Upon arriving she joined the group Impress Printmakers Studio. Numerous collective showings in Queensland led her to her first individual showings in Australia, highlighted among which are: Almanaque in the Bleeding Heart Gallery (Brisbane) and in Off the Kerb Gallery (Melbourne); …some migrate by day, some migrate by night in Jugglers Gallery (Brisbane); and Life in Paraná Road in Bosz Gallery (Brisbane); in addition to her participation in Lessons in History vol. II - democracy in the Graham Gallery (Brisbane); Queensland-Quebec Water Portraits - Portraits d’eau in the Warren G.; Flowers Gallery (Montreal); and in Hong Kong Graphic Art Fiesta 20102011. Her art book 1973 for the showing Lessons in History vol. II - democracy was presented in 2012, and acquired by the Queensland State Library for its renowned Australian public collection of books of art. www.paula_quintela.com 30
PIECES OF AN ETERNAL PUZZLE â€œYou are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where you thoughts take youâ€?, (James Allen, circa 1900) I would like to reflect on the physical and emotional transition we experience when we emigrate from our place of origin to a new land and illustrate a personal dialogue, explaining the residue from the flow and unease that remains after leaving behind the world we knew. What was learned, experienced and shared has to be applied and integrated in the new place. A reflection on the relationship between the physical space, and the emotional and bodily cost of leaving. I am an emigrant who has gone through this experience many times in my life, with some of these moves being more heartbreaking than others. This constant change has led me to a continuous examination of personal and cultural memory, both learned and imagined. Also to a search without an answer in the notion of identity and permanence, as well as in the perceptions that we develop about ourselves throughout our life. Our surrounding environment has a profound physical and social influence on how we perceive ourselves. Whether the experiences shared with the family, the interaction with friends or our community, each of them influences the image we have of ourselves. With the help of the people around us we develop our individuality based on what we believe, consciously or unconsciously. Our personalities are modelled by our cultural conditioning, our memories and our experiences. Just as our perceptions and experiences are unique, so too are the effects on our lives. Identity in social psychology implies an individual sense of belonging to a particular social category, and an understanding of the projected value and emotional significance of animate and inanimate things within that group. When we emigrate we feel the urgent need to create a home that serves as a symbolic refuge for us. This fragile, wobbly and delicate nest is at first built in a vain and valiant effort to contain us and protect us from the unknown, from loss and scrutiny. As an aid in our process of integration into the new culture. As a woman emigrant, I feel there is a profound relationship between the female world and the household. Upon leaving we are forced to leave behind many objects that through the family history have connected us with the mother, grandmother and great grandmother, objects that have been handed down from generation to generation like a whisper, more than through books or documents. 31
Many times these objects represent a trip to the past that is lost and to an altered future. When I am on one side of the world, my home is on the other, and when I am asleep my country is awake. Through dreams and memories, personal experiences are transformed into a series of fixed moments. Each image is transformed into a metaphor of the distance covered, in which many things have been lost or altered. After the departure and the arrival, in the new scenario the way we perceive ourselves can contrast with the way we are perceived by others. In the smallest things, many times more complex than words, names or the language, what is innate and instinctive can suddenly be transformed in something external, because individuals respond differently to the same circumstances. In contrast, despite coming from a different culture, sometimes individuals react in a similar manner, granting a sense of familiarity and recognition. What happens with material and immaterial things in their new context? How does our perception of the permanence of things change? Do the lines drawn on a map define us? Are legacy, religion and language directly related to the land where we are born? What happens then when we emigrate? Maybe we adopt the legacy of the new place and simultaneously incorporate that new legacy into that of our place of origin. The physical and emotional move affects our perception of what is permanent, its changeable nature and the fragility of the collective identity, to the point that the memories of our place of origin many times come to be an act of defiant resistance faced with the change. Do we arrive sometime or do we remain permanently in transit? Here there is an opportunity to recount the histories that are intertwined like fragments of memory, fragments of the day to day in a globalised world that increasingly interweaves cultures. Even though I do not pretend to offer definitive answers, with these reflections I suggest that in the fragments from the past, present and future, there are elements of a personal truth that are in constant motion, like pieces of an eternal puzzle. Paula Quintela Visual artist
Angel Delgado (1965, La Habana - Cuba) From 1976 to 1980, he studied in the Escuela Elemental de Artes Plásticas of La Habana. A graduate of the Academia de Bellas Artes San Alejandro in 1984, he studied in the Instituto Superior de Arte of La Habana until 1986. In 1990, he did the performance Hope is the last thing that we’re losing as part of the collective exhibition The Sculptured Object, which took him to jail where he spent six months deprived of freedom. This experience marked his life and his work. In 2003 he started to work and be represented by the Galería Nina Menocal, in the Federal District of Mexico. In 2005, he decided to remain definitively in Mexico, where he lived until 2013 when he decided to migrate to the United States. Since then he lives and works in Las Vegas, Nevada. Generally in his work he proposes transforming everyday objects into works, adding a poetic charge to them that makes us reflect on our life, on social processes, or on the artistic creation processes themselves. Among other awards and residences, in 2016 he obtained The Fountainhead Residency, Miami. He is currently represented by the Building Bridges Art Exchange Gallery and Foundation in Santa Monica, California. The artist has participated in more than 100 exhibitions, between personal and collective, in more than 15 countries, including Cuba, the United States, Belgium, Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, Germany, Colombia and Spain. www.angel-delgado.com www.youtube.com/angeldelgadofuentes 33
MUTANT IDENTITIES The Cuban migratory problem, still difficult, converted into definitive exile, is the statement of the rooted-uprooted contradiction of memory, submitted to preferentially differentiated approximations, no longer for describing the difficult situation itself, but in the status of the subject who has suddenly been converted into an expatriate and whose denials, for certain circumstances that are foreign to him, have led him to live with a feeling of loss of his own identity. In a kind of unconsciousness, the reminiscence is transformed into provisional postcards, incomplete images, and quality of life in new geopolitical-cultural spaces, assuming a spectral view of certain facts, objects and happenings, also evidencing a displacement toward other affective and expressive conceptual frameworks. In the history of Cuba, the dichotomies of exile-art, banishment-homeland, and distance-nostalgia are no longer a discovery. Cuba has always been a country of emigrants, those banished or exiled in other lands. The founders of this condition have been constituted by distinguished Cubans like José María Heredia, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, José Martí, Juan Clemente Zenea and Guillermo Collazo, among others. In different times and conditions, emigration also included the priest Félix Varela and his disciple José Antonio Saco, the literary promoter Domingo del Monte, the narrator Cirilo Villaverde and the writer-professor Miguel Teurbe Tolón. This exodus has also been denominated “our diaspora” a term coined by Calvert Casey, a Cuban journalist and novelist of United States origin, also emigrated. Emigration is the reality that is slowly assumed with focuses of involuntary resistance for the right to choose where to end up living and working, but that in the confrontation with the other reality cause fear of what is foreign, xenophobia and nationalism, as well as empathy and solidarity. Multiple events reveal in a large number of recognised or emerging artists, that their work points toward these accumulated problems and that their universal projection shows codes and symbols that have meant a lack of interest in their roots and history. These situations are at the same time a source of richness that, being victims of false manipulations, have silenced a segment of actual society that continues being a consubstantial part of these difficult circumstances in which artists have to live and express themselves. The art of “those over there” or of “outsiders” is undervalued and rejected by the different criteria imposed on the cultural identity, except on those that are still in the condition of diaspora. The nation has a marked control of dependence through the hegemonic mechanisms of official culture, which sees the diaspora as something of its own and that it somehow attempts to dominate in order to reconcile or negotiate discourses. 34
The phenomenon of emigration and exile has been conditioned by innumerable processes in which the island has been involved, at or against its will. These
Ciro Quintana / The shipwreck of my landscape, oleo on canvas, 2016.
The phenomenon of emigration and exile has been conditioned by innumerable processes in which the island has been involved, at or against its will. These circumstances have also resulted in other ways to address the reality of being, the need to find â€œgnostic spaceâ€? as Lezama called it, outside their setting, the meadow open to all creations where they are able to pass the multiple looks at the symbolic production of the artists dispersed due to their indomitable rebelliousness, in other contexts of legitimation and recognition. These circumstances have favoured the sprouting of poetics and discourses that originate from the immediateness, the chromatic multi-tonicity, the world view and the most diverse social visions as an ideal itself. These Cuban creators, from the prism of their vocation, have encountered a very specific particularity in representing the problems of a difficult situation, in which the hallmark itself of their individuality and their sense of assuming reality or recreating it as a credential inside or outside the island has been made manifest. Emigration, defined as the dispersion of ethnic, political, religious, excluded and displaced groups who have abandoned their place of origin to be distributed around the world, in their specificity in the Cuban case, originates as a multitude 35
that for certain and very particular reasons has felt the need to disappear from their place of origin. Their tracks show eloquent signs of an irregular migratory process, exacerbated by the social political context, where the depersonalisation is the material trait of an uncertain itinerary, lacking identities and anecdotes, a sign of a route in which their psychosocial derivations recall the human prominence. The allegoric vestige of a faceless exodus evokes its dramatic ancestry contained in the precarious crossing with the sea as a protagonist, a kind of existential exile where the displacement over time of the provisional memory, the poetics of impossibility, immobility, uprootedness, the delimited space that contains movement, and the expressions of the general emotions that the subjects suffer are also fundamental. Through symbols that fluctuate in the expressive elements of their conceptual potential, exiled artists, by employing pictorial, graphic, installation and gestural artistic techniques, evidence the identity of the geographic situation in the allegoric configurations of the vernacular reality. Artistic migrations have been analysed from the standpoint of different academic disciplines and have originated a set of highly specialised theories. Regrettably, this specialisation has not always been in benefit of interdisciplinary dialogue, nor has it given way to a holistic vision of the migratory process of Cuban artists of the socalled “Generation of the 80’s”, in which artistic groups emerged inopportunely and without permission who shook up the national art scene with aesthetic proposals that had not been produced before, and where the official culture did not find a language that would enable communicating with an aesthetic phenomenon that that they tried to supplant with other variations. These limitations expressed the institutional resistance with the exacerbation of archaic and traditional paradigms, permeated by a language of stereotyped rhetoric that intended to continue exalting values that were behind the times and the insolvency of which was the refusal to dialogue with the artists of the 80’s, trying to cut off the “dangers” represented by the new imaginers of art and contemporary culture. A whole generation of creators was dispersed toward new contexts for the sake of a possible resurrection inside or outside the island. The cultural policy did not know how to deal with the modern artists and when the institution tried the capitulation of the artistic proposals and projects, the critique was left without light, thereby sealing off a live stage of its creators. For some, the “vanguard of the 80’s” supposedly failed, gave up faced with the policy and the ideologies of power that were imposed from all orders to cripple their foundation. Their successors originated metaphors of cynicism, topological discourses, ambiguous and double reading codes, as a strategy faced with a supposed reconciliation with the institution that strengthened other, less contentious, more cordial and open creative conditions, in the face of the different 36
Those who have tried to make an issue of that moment of the context have sustained a counter cultural conceptual base toward this movement, denying its own condition from the power of the concepts and denominations, thereby devastating their aesthetic presumptions in order to link their textuality with the old way of narrating under the same standards, to say the same thing in a different
Performance / Group Ready to Win. Workersâ€™ Social Club (WSC) JosĂŠ A. EchevarrĂa. Vedado. City of La Habana, 1989.
artistic languages that were able to slight the instruments and foundations of the theory. Those who have tried to make an issue of that moment of the context have sustained a counter cultural conceptual base toward this movement, denying its own condition from the power of the concepts and denominations, thereby devastating their aesthetic presumptions in order to link their textuality with the old way of narrating under the same standards, to say the same thing in a different way for the purpose of collapsing any vestige of a dissimilar awakening and to dissolve a discourse that comes from reality itself and from the autonomy of the territories of art where the idea of coexisting with the old structures could no longer be possible. The discourse of discrepancies was unacceptable, and the views that denounced the stereotypes and paradigms imposed were marginalised, obligating the waiver of the natural space of legitimation when society was not prepared to assimilate 37
that advance. The unfinished project was an episode sealed in its own history; like the dramatic song of the swan, it announced the farewell from the national artistic scene of the great majority of the young creators of that generation. A new and winding path had to be travelled in order to start over from the displacement, overcome the stages of emotional pain and trauma that were inevitable for those who in the middle of their creative effervescence had to assume the temporary abandonment of what is most precious for an artist â€“ the creative production for which they had placed themselves at risk in an atmosphere of incomprehension and authoritarianism. In the context of exile and faced with new imaginations, they decided in the midst of survival to face the setbacks, which required strength and perseverance in order not to decline the very sense of life from which the results of the vocation and its challenges emanated. Other referential settings have enabled them to continue with the unfinished work and in return, the emergence of Contemporary Cuban Art has been recorded, which has been produced outside the island with its dissimilar moments of splendour. Faced with emigration and exile, the artists have had to deploy their idiosyncrasy in order to face the concurrence of codes, symbols, ideologies and values that, by incorporating them has formed a baroque image of being Cuban. The aesthetic-conceptual dialogues that establish each artistâ€™s poetics with their own reality is a dialogue with oneself that is supplemented with the vision as a whole and the interest in showing the art carried out in proscription. In essence it is also the expression of those that have been ignored, excluded in some way,
JosĂŠ Bedia / To reach the other shore, acrylic on canvas, 2014.
objected to, because they have been able to show in artistic images the faded side of the society to which they belonged, their nonconformities, and the resistance 38
to the official discourse, the thematic lines and the typecasting that the authorities try to impose. With these reasons, the artists in exile have tried to show the reverse of identity, the other face of society that is also diversity, expressing the feelings and the struggle of emigrants against apparent abandonment, the mistrust induced on themselves by acting without paternalistic dispositions, and without enemies that put the judgement of ego to the test, the capacity of talent, the intelligence to negotiate survival and manage respect for the difference. As an individual, Angel Delgado had all the reasons to emigrate for political reasons, due to the lack of freedom in Cuba, and after six months of imprisonment for carrying out a spontaneous scatological performance, a provocative artistic act, based on the Dadaist and situationist tradition on the 4th of May 1990 in the exhibition The Sculptured Object, organized in the Visual Arts Development Centre. The visibility of the critical sense of art was verified in itself, when an unknown world was revealed starting from the moment when he tried to shout in an image against censorship and the lack of freedom. His subsequent creative production would face an unending series of closures where it would no longer be possible to see signs of a start; the stain of criminal records, cautions, confiscations, the reticence that turns out to be impossible to take out of the “shoulder bag” of his personal objects, because his body had been converted into the discursive support for the poetic of loneliness and isolation in the cursed circumstances of vindication of the aesthetic paradigm, in an island condemned to political rhetoric. In his work, survival is an anagram of transpositions, converted into the emblem of those subjected to hardships, recreating the complex of impotencies in limiting situations, the illusion of impetus, the incarnation of vertigo and at the same time the fear of disappearing isolated; his actions became visual symbols of the traumas of the referent when an entire agonic visuality is configured, governed by being buried or sinking with the usual objects of one trapped in himself, in order to be able to face anonymity and being forgotten, to survive in the present, between what is happening and the rewriting of the past. The prominence of ephemeral materials is the evidence of his resistance to express himself with icons linked to deprivation, shortage, freedom, aggression, anguish and gradual disappearance of rights, faced with the impossibility of changing the life that transforms accumulated memories into a reality that reduces those relegated to the status of “non-persons” whose hopes wander between galleries without redemption, tied by the strings of power. His discourse after the testimony of the experiences shared has been able to transcend the biographical event; the metamorphosis gives substance to the irony of the processes of waivers as a symbolic premise of the subjects converted by inexplicable conjunctions in moving 39
from being a prisoner to a political emigrant. His emigration, although circumstantial at first, has also been driven by the desire to find new horizons for his career as an artist. After several years of multiple entries and exits from Cuba, in 2005 he decided to reside in Mexico, where he settled down for eight years, a period in which he settled down for eight years, a period in which he sheltered the vision of simultaneously belonging to two cultures. With the sensation of being divided, his life and work started to go into a conflict of identity, exacerbated by the attraction of his origins and the stress of living between what is remote and what is current. All his displacements through different cities in recent years have benefited his work, making his statements more universal. Despite his capacity for adapting in new contexts, constantly returning is also a recurrent need to reencounter himself and his memories, no longer for the attraction of returning to the original referent, but because the artist no longer belongs to a specific place, but rather several at once. Currently, he remains in the United States with the doors open, since for him there is not yet a final migration, but rather, the reasons for moving are every more present at this time. The migratory trip, in any of its stages, condenses a strong structure in the artist’s conceptions, which attributes to him an existential dimension that configures his personal and collective experience. The tracks that record the new spaces in the artist’s memory reactivate his experiences and are revealed as works, because their body, as a discursive support, transforms them into a territory of chronicles of a mutant identity. Angel Delgado presents these conceptual issues in his installation work in situ Dream Destination for SACO5, where he invites spectators to inquire and question not only the topic of migration bit also other related and obligatory topics in these times, such as identity, abandonment, freedom, travel, borders, exodus and other abysms that decorate our reality and cover our destiny. In this work the artists merges expressive elements from the different trends of conceptual art to articulate a discursive poetic based on the transformation and the change in the sense of diverse day to day objects used by subjects of displacement, favouring a reflection on the effects of the new status or condition of the emigrant, because they in turn constitute significant picture cards of transversal identities, where the protagonists of the trip are subject to new existential situations that enter into the set of conflicts and circumstances of the new imaginers. José Clemente Gascón Martínez Plastic artist, art critic and professor Angel Delgado Visual artist 40
Bogdan Achimescu (1965, Timişoara - Rumania) Was born in Romania where he studied at the Ion Vidu Art School in Timișoara and the Ion Andreescu Visual Arts Institute in Cluj. He graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Kraków, Poland where he currently lives and works. Over the last three decades he produced drawings, prints, texts, performances and multimedia art. Most of his work currently falls within the cathegory of performative lectures, which combine oral history and live drawing using projection systems. Achimescu’s work was shown in about thirty solo shows and numerous group exhibition. It is part of various public and private collections worldwide, among others in the New York MOMA, The Sao Paulo Museum of Art, The National Gallery in Washington DC, The Albertina in Vienna, etc. In 2001 Achimescu’s videos were shown in the Romanian Pavillion at the Venice Biennale, as part of an artist group called the Context Network. Achimescu’s teaching experience includes appointments with many universities in the United States, Romania and Poland. He currently works at the Faculty of Intermedia of the Fine Art Academy in Kraków, Poland.
Paradise lost? A few years ago, I went for a coffee with my father, whose life story I knew only from snippets, gleaned from our not-so-frequent meetings. To my surprise, he had prepared notes about the topics he wanted to talk about, as if this would be a formal lecture, not a father and son chat. As I soon found out, having been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he desperately wanted to nevertheless maintain as coherent a conversation as possible. He also handed me a floppy disc. On it was a carefully edited and illustrated text meant for his children and grandchildren, written under the pressure of his narrowing time and the eagerness to pass on his fading memory. My father has described in it the life of several generations of his ancestors in the isolated Romanian village of Șiroca, where he was born. This text proved to be a very intriguing counterbalance life as I knew it. The inhabitants of Șiroca are all descendants of just one family, with their genome occasionally refreshed by out-of-village marriages. They live on a less then fertile limestone plateau, cut by clean streams of water and patched with bushes and plum trees. It is a charming but poor region, with no substantial temptation for invaders or migrants. Thus the villagers lived undisturbed for centuries and, astonishingly – if one takes into account their humble existence – my father is able to track the family tree hundreds of years back, as if they were some nobility. Their way of life has not changed much in this time: they farm cattle and sheep, grow orchards, crush and burn stone to make lime. On the narrative side of things, this could be the story of a paradise. With the whole package however, including illiteracy, poverty, lack of hygiene, health care and many forms of civility, all one can do is describe this world lovingly yet honestly, which Nicolae Achimescu did. Alternatively, it be recycled into an idyll, by masking over the inconvenient parts, which is exactly what romantic visions do. They do this for a reason: romanticism has a political function and it goes hand in hand with the national projects in Europe, never seeming to go out of fashion, like a bad hairdo. Its promise is a mono-ethnic Schlarraffenland with people living close to nature, embedded in fertile families huddled around strong men, oblivious to political and historical turmoil, eating healthy and living to peaceful and verbose Kodachrome1 old years. This is a fata morgana that, when followed, leads to its own caricature: the nation state, schizophrenic-paranoid entity that lives in cycles of imagining enemies for itself and committing serial murder-suicides.
Kodachrome was a type of film sold mainly in the US, famous for its rich, pleasing colors and high definition, as well as for its high archival stability. It was the film of choice for art reproductions. In popular perception, it was the guarantee of preserving a memory for a long time.
The opposite of this latter image exists (it may be called cosmopolitanism) and its exercises are the cities of the vibrant world: Berlin or Czernowitz in the thirties of the twentieth century, Berlin or Kraków now. The opposite of the human condition described above exists as well. If the world were a better place, its embodiment would be simply called a human being. In the brave new world it’s called an émigré. In other words, if it weren’t for the real or invented ethnic monoliths, the immigrant would be... well... just a guy that moved „here”. Displacement Emigration I do know. I was born in it and it follows me my entire life, threatening to close its circle, with just a brief moment of stability that I enjoy now. I was born in 1965 in Romania, to a Polish-Romanian couple. I lived in Romania until 1990 and now live in Poland. During the War, the Polish part of the family zig-zagged through Europe to flee their native Bukovina, at times pretending to be German and finally settling in Romania. Each of the fleeing family spoke no less than four languages. Their polyglotism was a testament to the multicultural life they left and a survival tool in the newly ruthless reality. Their home city, Czernowitz, has a different name in over a dozen languages because of the multitude of nations that once lived there and because of its cultural relevance. This is where the poet Paul Celan was born – and this is the place that made him “a German-speaking Romanian Jew”. It is also a town that keeps “moving” from country to country. To be more precise, Cernăuți (to use its Romanian name, for a change) was in Austro-Hungary when my grandfather was born, in Romania when my mother was born, then in the Soviet Union, back briefly in Romania, again in the Soviet Union, and is now in Ukraine. Judging by the recent events, this might not be its last national affiliation. Why did my family leave in 1940? Because the choice was to either remain inside the belly of the Gulag2 machine or to try and run for whatever seemed to remain from the former world order. Growing among regrets Fast forward to 1965 and the twenty years between the end of the Second World War and my birth must have felt like a very short period for my grandparents. They were in their sixties, crammed together in a small room rented from unwilling locals.
I am using the term Gulag, refering to the Soviet labor camp system that killed millions (see The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsy). The fate of those who were not sent to the Gulag from the region is described by Timothy Snyder in his book Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin. Emigration was litteraly a life-saving choice in this case.
Their friends were scattered, my grandfather’s job gone, my grandmother’s amateur theatre – a memory without even a photo to confirm it wasn’t a dream. To make things worse, their lives were caught in the bureaucratic absurdities and Kafkaesque uncertainties of the dictatorship that stole the post-war peace. My grandparents were complaining about their loss frequently and sometimes I feel like I still hear them. My grandfather felt very strongly he needs to tell me about the atrocities of war, yet my early age meant he needs to wait for me to be mature enough to understand. According to him, this time came when I was four. Recently, a psychologist told me that children who hear such stories grow into adults with post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that fills them with guilt for having a good life and the irrepressible urge to reenact in their imagination bloody scenes they heard about. I now recognize myself in this description but I take it with a grain of salt. What have I done as a child after listening to stories about gas chambers? Well, I took all objects that had “made in Germany” written on them, and chucked them behind the sofa, which was – for all purposes – my childish image of a black hole. In my mind, segregating the symbols of a nation was a symbolic substitute of a bigger cleansing, a task that I couldn’t take on as a child, but I thought perhaps would solve the problem. Emigration carries its own regret, the regret of what was left behind. My grandparents thought of their past and their lost homes as time and places of harmony, and the word harmony brings unity to mind. Unity as peaceful uniformity is a social reference point, a personal nostalgia colored by pleasantly vernacular stories told in front of imaginary picturesque backdrops, like the one I sketched a few paragraphs before. Unity is also a utopia that, once pursued, often requires war and massacres to implement. Thus the circle closes and the immigrants become the agents of the next displacement wave. Being different Leaving one’s country is sometimes an act of self-defense in dire situations. But being an émigré, for me, is neither more difficult nor is it more noble than being just a human being, and being an artist only adds advantages to the situation. I have languages to use, themes to talk about and a planet to live on. All of the planet’s problems concern me directly and I feel comfortable with the duty and right to solve them and comment on them as I see fit. Muelle Salitrero Compañía Melbourne Clark Inspired by the Antofagasta pier, I decided to illustrate a short story of mine that has to do with the space between land and water, while in the same time bringing in a theme of exile and solitude. 44
During my summers in Romania, I used to walk back and forth, naked, the two or three kilometers of narrow, stony shore between the villages of 2 Mai and Vama Veche. This stretch of beach is squeezed between a tall and muddy cliff and the Black Sea. It was a very isolated place at the time of my visits, with only a few places where one could walk down the steep falaise to reach the water. On the just eight or ten meters of beach, a sculptor had built an improvised shelter for himself. It was a hermitage, if you will. Since the country was engulfed by the miasma of dictatorship at the time, and the sea was one of Romania’s strictly guarded borders, his self-imposed exile was a choice that never ceased to mesmerize me. It was as if he chose THE place that was both as far from the state as possible, yet not under water. Sheltered from the land by the tall wall of clay and earth and exposed to the uncompromising presence of the sea. In drawings and texts shown on Antofagasta’s historical pier I am telling the story of this lonely man’s construction, between land and water. Bogdan Achimescu Visual artist
Johannes Pfeiffer (1954, Ulm - Alemania) Who was born in Ulm/ Germany in 1954, goes to Berlin to study business management. By way of a crucial experience he finds the access to art in Italy. Since 1980 he has lived in Italy, where he studied sculpture at Rome and Carrara academy. In 1985 he realized his first project of land art in France, Triangulation. To him, this project means new freedom, the liberation/release from stone. Triangulation, a term used in the field of science, means measuring form and size of the earth by laying a net of triangles. Pfeiffer uses this to symbolically measure the earth by the installation of artistic triangles. What remains for him is the experience on site, the experience of material, man and space. In 1988 Johannes Pfeiffer moves to Torino, an industrial city in the north of Italy, where he finds his new home. From there he is travelling throughout Europe and the world in order to enter into creative dialogue with spaces, both inside and outside. Doing this the artist needs access to unconscious knowledge, a language of his own, by which he must be able to voice what he has experienced at the respective site. Thus Pfeiffer tries to artistically discover and experience the world for himself and uses these experiences for his future projects.
www.pfeiffer-arte.de www.behance.net/johannespfeiffer 46
The artistâ€™s emigration: a voyage of discovery The topic of SACO5 is Emigration, a most up-to-date topic. It is a topic, which has been determining the history of mankind up to now. The topic is like the breathing of the earth: Movements, wavy movements are created, set off by the most different causes, which set people into motion and make them leave their native country in order to leave their roots and to look for a new home, a new place in the world. There are the most different reasons that make people take this step. Diseases, financial difficulties, famine, war, distress or simply curiosity can set off this step. It needs courage, sometimes the courage born of desperation. Depending on how the exterior or interior pressure is being put â€“ this will be the resolution to emigrate. The road to emigration is a road to an unknown and uncertain future. Since man has given up nomadic existence, which had been imposed upon him because of search for food and has settled down, man has grown fond of security, the security of the rigours of the weather (tents, houses), the security of dangers from outside (walls, fences, weapons), the security of nutrition (agriculture and cattle breeding), the safety of interpersonal relations (family, traditional social structures) etc. Giving up these everyday needs and emigrating means a lot of desperation, both from inside and outside. The aims are different: to find a place in a better world, to guarantee feeding, to maintain health and life at all, to give children a better life, to find work and peace. Peace is no evidence in this world neither the inner nor the outer peace. The way to a better world is long, laborious, and dangerous. It is hardly to be held out without perseverance and without skills. Sometimes not even these are sufficient and emigration just ends on the way. At the moment, we are witnesses and involved in an extraordinary movement of emigration. War and misery force many people from the Middle East and Africa to leave their countries and make their way to an extremely dangerous, brutal and merciless journey. It needs a lot of stamina, skilfulness, but also fortune to overcome the difficulties of the journey. That is only the first part of emigration. When arriving at the new place, the second step to emigration starts: meeting the new world. My personal journey began shortly after my parentsÂ´ arrival at a camp after their escape from East to West-Germany. I was born in a refugee camp and that was the reason why my parents were finally given a flat of their own where I spent my first few years. My father left Posen (today Poland) during the war, when the Russians 47
came, and escaped for the first time. When he already had a family with two children he took flight for a second time further west. Thus, my elder sister and brother very closely experienced the flight as toddlers. I think that all the changes of address and, with them, the changes of school shook my home feeling very early. In addition to that, my parents undertook many journeys abroad, which, at a very young age, made me curious and aroused my interest in new places, other countries and cultures. My motherÂ´s parents emigrated to China. Therefore my mother was born in Kanton. My uncle went to South Africa as a missionary. Thus, you could say that both the experience of the flight, of being a refugee and emigration were part of my DNA, even before I myself left my home country. A life-threatening illness made me devote myself to art. My studies of business management, law and theology, but above all my inner turmoil, my emotional upset then showed me that the chosen way could not be my way. My illness intensified my already long ago started search for what I should do with my life, what really could be my vocation. Sensitizing all my feelings and emotions I finally could receive a message: Go to Terracina in Italy, to Ellen. This message stuck to my brains, not disappearing for weeks, months, until I finally listened to the inner voice and set off. After some wrong tracks I finally arrived at EllenÂ´s place. Ellen, 60 years old, one of my parentsÂ´ acquaintances, a painter, graphologist, astrologer and medium became the obstetrician of my new life. After a lot of talking with her and evenings spent together, I had a wonderful dream: I was pregnant with her child. That happened in 1979. Days after intensively looking for my child, Ellen gave me a small piece of marble and I started to chisel my hand into it. Such a strong energy flow poured out between me and the stone that suddenly I was sure that the child was born. At that moment the search for the meaning of my life had come to an end. After a lot of consideration I decided to go back to Berlin once again and finish my studies of business management knowing that an important decision lay ahead. Inside it was already made, but it was difficult to let go all my past. It was difficult to separate from everything I was accustomed to. It was difficult to go. Thus I put off the decision, which resulted in a depression that became heavier from day to day robbing me of all my energy. From the day I kind of panicked I decided to set off the next day. This was the second time that my big inner turmoil showed me the way and helped me to choose the way of emigration. Thus, in my own case, the decision to emigrate to another country was the decision to immigrate into my real self. It was the decision to discover myself, the decision 48
to find my real, original self. The search for myself made me leave my homeland. That it was a journey without return, I could only guess then. The only thing I was really certain about before leaving Berlin and Germany was the thought that if I emptied my backpack it would fill again. This was very important for my new beginnings. That means creating a vacuum, creating room for something new will again fill up this vacuum. I think this is a physical principle that is also valid for man´s life. Leaving behind everything old, abandoning his present habits, securities, conveniences and interpersonal relationships, so to say throwing off ballast to reduce the weight of his fragile boat he creates space for new things to happen, he can open up and devote himself to the new things. Each change in man´s life is doomed to failure when taking with him all his old experiences. This is valid for both interpersonal relationships and geographical and sociocultural changes. If he emigrates with all his cultural inheritance and is not prepared to allow something new, he will remain a stranger in his own new surroundings. Without internal vacuum, without open-mindedness, without the readiness to approach new experiences he creates a ghetto. A ghetto, which no stranger is allowed to come into and he himself is not allowed to get off. A ghetto as the place where his habits continue to exist and doesn’t blend with sociocultural life outside. That way curiosity and the willingness to question himself and his origin, his traditions are the condition sine qua non integration is brought about. Integration means approaching the new, listening to the new, watching the new, reflecting the new, allowing the new to find its way into himself, simply, concerning himself with the new. But it also means that the new is blended with what he has taken along. By using what he has taken along as parameter on which he values the new, both cultures are kind of melting together. This, according to me, is the crucial point, the catalyst for integration. A new process of socialisation results from this, socialisation that is weighing up different worlds, different experiences against each other, mixing them with each other, socialisation in which one element outweighs the other, which, at the same time, is the starting point of a new culture. It´s as if two rivers flow together. First, the waters run alongside, clearly forming their boundary. Only gradually do they mix with each other. I myself became strong by the new culture, was influenced by the new world and slowly started to change my own habits. My personality came under new influences, it imperceptibly, but steadily changed, and I finally had the feeling that 49
this change had a positive effect on it. This is a long process both with steps forward and steps backwards, which is constantly in motion, constantly changes. But one´s own influence on one´s new surroundings is not to be underestimated. On the one hand, one is being influenced, but on the other hand, one oneself is influencing others. Thus, a mutual process is taking place. Of course, as an individual one does not have the same effect on the whole as the other way round. But it is really obvious that one has strong effects on those living next to oneself. This can be seen in conversations, in people´s attitudes towards oneself with the result that the comparison with the `old´ world is drawn more often. Therefore, in an interesting way, one world is weighed up against the other, but also very often against the people living in the new world. In a globalized world, my identity as an artist and human being - I think these two become a whole – is only to be looked for and to be found by means of an exchange of views with others. My identity develops with each journey, each art project, each dialogue with others. Uruguay, Chile, China, South Korea, Kazakhstan and many countries in Europe have left their mark on me both as a human being and as an artist. The experiences I had in these countries by working and living in situ have penetrated me, have left their marks. Emotions, talks, images, smells, contacts and exactly the people of the respective places have left impressions on my brains and soul. These live on within me and accompany me on my next journey. That way identity in a global world is being created. The difference with tourism is clear: The artist has the chance of realizing the new more intensively than the tourist; he has the chance of entering into an artistic dialogue directly in situ. The direct confrontation with the conditions of the place, such as climate, material, architecture and, of course, with the people, with their mentality, and not least their ‘Weltanschauung’ are part of this dialogue. That way the artist-traveler has the possibility of getting into the spirit of the new, the unknown and reacting to it by his artistic way of expressing himself. However, a good artist must have three qualities: He must have access to unconscious knowledge, he needs a language, and he must be capable of expressing what he has learnt from his unconscious knowledge in his own language. Therefore, the artist is a kind of medium. His task is, no matter where he is, to fathom out the imbalances within a society in an artistic way, to recognize beauty and ugliness, to track down drama and trauma happening in a society, and not least, with prophetic talent, to indicate perspectives to mankind by his work. 50
This is a big challenge and certainly not to be expected from one single artist. This needs a huge amount of energy, the willingness to bring heart and soul in his artwork. When, in 1985, I could free myself from the more classic stone sculpture, I realized my first land art project. In southern France, on a field once cultivated, but then lying fallow, I constructed a big triangle made of stone. The stones that had been piled up to thick walls around the field were again returned into the field they originally belonged to in the form of a triangle. The triangle whose starting point is a manor surrounded by high walls - an opening in the form of a triangle had been broken through the wall â€“ is symbolical of the breakout from a closed system. The experience of breaking out/ of taking off is important to me or rather the respective person who is breaking out/ taking off and helps me/ him/ her on my/his/her further way. The triangle body shape, the wedge is symbolic of dynamic, of starting off, of opening. Later, I called the project Triangulation I. Triangulation is a term used in the field of science and means measuring the form and size of the earth by means of laying a net of triangles. According to this, I have continued my work and have laid art triangles all over the world. To me these triangulations, this laying a net of art triangles, are a symbolic measurement of the earth, of people. They deal with the experience in situ, with the examination of the place, with learning to know the place, with the dialogue there, with the exchange in situ. It is like the mixing of the waters of the rivers in the world meaning that every artistic intervention in other places is an act of integration, of mixing, of gain, of increase in human experience. This will be preserved in any form and will influence the course of the world. Thus, the artistÂ´s emigration from his own country becomes a voyage of discovery into the global world. The emigration from the past becomes the immigration into the new, which means emigrating enlarges the artistÂ´s horizon. That way the artist who emigrated has the advantage of realizing the new in a way the local artist is hardly capable of. The former can realize things with a different view, from a different perspective as this perspective is fresh and full of curiosity, full of curiosity to learn to know the new. Curiosity as the desire for the new, the unknown, the unnoticed. Thus, curiosity is associated with courage, which is the basis of the discovery of new horizons: Curiosity, the basis of the discovery of the world, the discovery of new research results and the work of the artist who sets off to shape and express his inner experiences. Artists are wanderers who pursue new courses unconventionally and radically following their inner ideas. They have visions without avoiding any risk, they express things not thought of before and present them to the world by way of their artistic work. 51
Therefore, IÂ´m sure that the errant artist on his voyage of discovering the unknown, is growing and changing with his work, that his roots, his origins are mixing with the new, with the insight he gained on his voyage. And as every artistic identity consists of many single experiences, of past and future, of countless artistic attempts, of his work, realized and unrealized, I am of the opinion that an artistÂ´s work is defined by the entirety of his experiences, his past, and his future. Johannes Pfeiffer Visual artist Barbara Pfeiffer Text translation
Teresa Solar (1985, Madrid - España) Lives and works in Spain. Studied Fine Arts in the Universidad Complutense of Madrid and pursued postgraduate studies in the Universidad Europea of Madrid. In 2016, she exhibited individually in the Centre d’Art La Panera. She is a finalist in the mentors program of the Rolex Foundation, and has been awarded a production scholarship from the Marcelino Botín Foundation, with which she has produced the film Al Haggara. Highlighted among her exhibitions are individual showings in Matadero Madrid, in the Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo, in Green Parrot of Barcelona and in the Galería Formato Cómodo; as well as her participation in LOOP 09, Centro de Cultura Contemporánea of Barcelona (2009), and in Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid (2010, Centre Pompidou of Paris, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin). She has also won the Generaciones 2013 award and the CAM 2011 production scholarship, with which she did All the things that are not there. Her latest works include heterogeneous practices such as video and sculpture. Many are articulated around characters such as Harold Edgerton, which permit reflecting on the figure of the pioneer and the foreigner. These references in one way or another cross over biographically; for example her series on those who were decorated in the film Lawrence de Arabia has to do with the coexistence between her native language, Spanish, and the language of her Egyptian mother, Arabic. http://www.tsabboud.net/ 53
THE STONE A mountain could be a pebble that someone tossed into the air, I am a stone that levitates, flying in an airplane. The only thing I remember about my grandmother’s house is the hallway. I am walking through the hallway, I am small and the walls are very high. It is cool in the house, there are several doors on the sides. In the hallway in front of me there is a big image of Christ, with a crown of thorns and bleeding. I don’t remember anything else from that house. I don’t know when I first heard of the Mountain. The Mountain is the only elevation in El Cairo. It is low and on its top it forms a plateau from where you can see the whole city. The Mountain served as a quarry since the times of the ancient pharaohs. From there they extracted the stone to build the great pyramids of Giza. Seeing the pyramids is like seeing the Mountain in a grid. In my parents’ house there is a black and white photograph with my father mounted on a camel with my brother and sister, and my mother mounted on a burro with me in her arms; the pyramids can be seen in the distance. I always have to look for myself in the photo; I’m so small that I hardly take up any space. There is a Christian legend that occurred on the Mountain. It is the story of Saint Simon, who supposedly lived in the X century. Due to a threat from the caliph who governed El Cairo at that time, Saint Simon had to bring together all the Christians in the city in order to work a miracle. They all got together at the foot of the mountain and all together they prayed “Kirienalson, Kirienalson”, which means “Lord, have mercy”. And the mountain levitated three times. The faithful then looked left and right and Saint Simon had disappeared. My mother always spoke to us in Arabic. When we tried to talk with her in Spanish she told us that she didn’t understand that language. Then we heard her speaking with my father in Spanish and it all seemed to make sense to us. In the middle of the Mountain there is a big church excavated in the rock that can hold twenty thousand people. It’s a gigantic hole that goes into the stone like an open pit mine. Around it there is a whole labyrinth of churches also excavated in the rock. Some are enormous and others are very small. Since they are caves it seems like the ceiling is floating over you, as if the miracle were taking place over and over again above your head. In the church, if you turn around and look toward the steps you can see the enormous hole made in the rock against the light. The walls seem to form a 54
triangle, so when you look at the ceiling it’s like seeing a negative of a pyramid. When you go on the highways of El Cairo you can see a lot of sweepers sweeping sand, just dust from the desert. Sometimes the city suffers big sandstorms, so the buildings have a uniform patina the same colour as the desert, as if born from the sand. The city is constantly fighting not to be devoured by the desert. Many of my aunts and uncles emigrated some time ago and live outside of Egypt. They come back and no longer know how to drive in the odious traffic in El Cairo. The members of the family who have stayed and who are able to, have moved away from the city. They have moved to neighbourhoods very far from the centre. In order to reach these neighbourhoods you have to drive for a long time on highways where the desert and the urbanisation are almost confused in jumbles of debris. The neighbourhoods rise up like an oasis in the middle of the remnants of other constructions, with big fences around them. Sometimes there is also debris inside, so the walls do not delimit anything; the outside and inside are the same. The fences create a mirage in the desert. I have never liked studying languages very much. When I was small I really put up resistance to learning Arabic; that assimilation that was natural for my siblings wasn’t for me. My mother obligated me to speak to her in Arabic and constantly corrected me; that made me stop communicating with her. When I was five years old we made a pact: she would speak to me in Arabic and I would respond in Spanish. We have kept that pact our whole life. It has always surprised me the number of Egyptian luxury developments that have names in Spanish, such as “El patio” or “Estrella de mar” or “Fresca”. At the base of the Mountain is the neighbourhood of the garbage collectors, who in Egyptian are called zabbaleen. The garbage collectors are Christians who came from all parts of Egypt in the 70’s and settled at the base of the mountain. They collect the garbage in El Cairo, moving tons of plastic, paper and glass. They are very much linked to the churches above. They have a lot of churches hanging between the balconies, made from the scraps they collect. They are very light and move with the wind, as if they were levitating above the streets. I have a very poor memory and tend to invent my own recollections. I think I clearly remember the Madrid airport at Christmas, when we went to El Cairo on vacation. I remember the long, very long lines where we waited in front of the Egypt Air counters. I visited the Coptic Cemetery with my mother. Supposedly my grandfather is buried there. He died when she was very small and she has been looking for his tomb for a long time. They buried him in a pit when the cemetery was in construction, with the intention of moving the tomb to a permanent location, but that never 55
happened and they lost the place where remains were. Those who knew died some time ago. In Mount Analogue, Renée Daumal tells the history of the hollow men. They live on the other side of the stones and what is empty for us is full for them. Sometimes the mountain climbers accidently kill them when they drive the pick. So a hollow with the shape of a man can be seen in full detail, but made of rock. I always think that this rock man could be my grandfather, finally found in the cemetery. A few years ago I went to El Cairo to film a video that ended up being called The ambassadors. My family accepted me as one of them, with all the pressure that an Arab family can project on a young girl that is one of theirs. Meanwhile, outside in the city, when I was negotiating prices and services, I was treated like a white woman, like a European, like a foreigner. I felt sandwiched between two spheres, two glass walls that didn’t seem to touch each other and between which I felt completely alienated. The entire video of The ambassadors was based on constructing and recording a decoration that simulated a cartography office. When I finished recording, we took everything down. The remains, which were mostly broken pieces of pressboard, took up very little space. When I see the pyramids I think about the incomprehensible amount of material used to build the tomb of just one man, who is miniscule, who is lost in all that material. I try to look through the stone and find that hole, but the thought is solidified first, it turns back into stone before reaching the empty space. When the Aswan Dam was built in Upper Egypt, many temples were left partially submerged in the water. The sandstone walls that rose out of the immersion were so soft that you could sink your finger in them. One evening I went out to buy a pen drive and came across a pelican that was sitting on top of a table in the terrace of a restaurant. It disgusted me how such hard feet were joined with the soft body full of feathers. Artists are constantly talked about as if we had all the answers regarding our work, as if we should be completely convinced of each and every one of the elements that make up our works. A false solidity is created around us that does not respond to either our vital conditions or the economic conditions. This causes me to experience a certain sensation of papier-mâché in my own body. The current quarry that is located at the base of the Mountain is owned by the army. The army owns so much land that my mother calls it a “State within another State”. 56
Haggar, my second maternal surname in Egyptian means â€œthe rock pickerâ€?, the quarry worker. When I returned to Madrid, after visiting the Mountain, I dreamt about a hollow stone that could be traversed like a curtain. And inside the rock there extended a large golden hallway that was very tall and in the dream it was endless. We also went to the top of the Mountain that has been colonised by various luxury developments. We went to record a golf course that they are making grow in the middle of the rock. They did a lot of checking on us to know who we were, because everything is surrounded by lands belonging to the army. When I was 16, I began to be interested in my linguistic legacy and started practicing Arabic, which I understood perfectly but which resisted coming out of my vocal chords. Now I have been able to reach a basic conversation level and I feel proud of this reconquest. Whatsapp and e-mail have inaugurated a new stage in communication with my mother that this time has to do with written text. She writes Arabic in the Western alphabet, establishing a regulated relationship between the Arab phonemes and different signs on the Western keyboard, such as numbers and apostrophes. I also allow myself to write in Arabic, but I invent all the characters, creating on the go a free relationship between the sound of the word in my head and the shapes on the keyboard. This spurious pronunciation does not appear to bother my mother and has been established almost like a game between us. The last time we went to the pyramids we were the only tourists. We took a walk farther away from the three big constructions, around the small pyramids of the queens. These constructions have not withstood the passing of time as well as the others and have been disintegrating; they have lost their shape and once again become just material, just mountain, just dust. Teresa Solar Visual artist
Alicja Rogalska (1979, Ostrołęka - Polonia) Polish artist based in London. Her practice is interdisciplinary and encompasses both research and production with a focus on social structures and the political subtext of the everyday. She mostly works in context on projects that involve participation, creating situations and collaboration with others, brought to the project for their particular skill or expertise. Being both rooted in context and speculative, her projects occupy the space between what already exists and what is possible. Alicja graduated with an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London (2011) and an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Warsaw (2006). She is currently an artist in residence at MeetFactory in Prague and Artsadmin Bursary Recipient 2016-17 for artists working in contemporary performance. Exhibitions and projects include: All Men Become Sisters, Muzeum Sztuki (Łódź, 2016); Myth, Artisterium, Europe House (Tbilisi, 2015); Rehearsal, National Museum (Kraków, 2015); No Need For References, Kunsthalle Exnergasse (Vienna, 2015); Critical Juncture, Kochi-Muziris Biennale (Kochi, 2014); A Museum of Immortality, Ashkal Alwan (Beirut, 2014), Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Flat Time House (London, 2013); General Strike, Mews Project Space / Art Review (London, 2013); Melancholy In Progress, Hong-Gah Museum (Taipei, 2012); Jour de Fête, The Private Space Gallery / LOOP Festival (Barcelona, 2011); To Look is to Labour, Laden Für Nichts (Leipzig, 2010) and No Soul For Sale, Tate Modern (London, 2010). www.alicjarogalska.com 58
WE ARE ALL VICTIMS In referring to immigration, Alicja Rogalska opted to do so through another voice, interviewing Rafaela Castro, a Colombian actress who came to Antofagasta in 2011 and who in SACO5 participated in the intervention The monument to the victims of capitalism. The proposal of the Polish artist for the Historical Pier, carried out in collaboration with the curator Krzysztof Gutfrański, was a work “of a dialogic nature, referring to the history of Antofagasta as a place of economic migration, a constant and criss-crossed flow of people, raw materials, goods and capital”. As actress, Rafaela was in charge of a money collection box and a book of donors. She had to interact with the public, who could donate coins, the raw material for the future monument, and share their opinions or ideas, and capture them in the book. As an immigrant, she perhaps represented the numerous Colombians who work attending to services and businesses in the city. In the interview, Rafaela’s own immigration experience and her role in the work on the Melbourne Clark pier take on importance. Alicja repeats the idea of not being but at the same time being through the presence of the actress in front of the public. What does home mean for you? Effort. What is your place of origin? I was born in Cali, Colombia, in 1988, my birthday is the 13th of March. What is the difference between Antofagasta and the place you come from? First is the size. Cali is much bigger. And second, the complete diversity there is in foods, malls, theatres, variety of products, and people. Antofagasta ends up being like a town. How did you come here and what was your first impression? I came here through my best friend who studied with me in Cali, in the Academy of Dramatic Art Studies. She had come first and needed me to do some events, some performances of painted bodies. I had to stay in Santiago and there she called me, she brought me here. And the impression I had of Santiago was… Very economical, that everything was very economical, that things were so cheap. If you see the prices in Colombia and the prices here… 59
What has been your worst job in Antofagasta? I came to Antofagasta because I was looking for work. It went well for us in Santiago, but it was better for me to come due to the climate, I looked for work in (the company) the Teatro de los Sueños. Miguel Cancino gave us a job as dance teachers to work with (the towns of) Sierra Gorda and Baquedano, and there we started. The worst job was before going to work with Miguel. He gave us work just two times a week as teachers, so I went to work in the market, uf! How terrible to work as a waitress, my feet swelled, the gypsies robbed me, others left and they charged me for their lunches. So it was the most terrible job I remember before starting to do theatre. How do you think the situation is for immigrants in Chile? On one hand, I think that if they are smart they can reach all the objectives they want to achieve. But it’s not their country, so also, it works against them that there are times when they don’t want things that are favourable for the country, and there the Chileans are building up certain concerns or certain things or that if they don’t like it why are they here. So when you leave your country in that context, you have to know why you are leaving and what you are coming for. Not getting involved in drugs or alcohol or bohemia. You have to try to follow your objective and lift your country high, so they don’t point out what has happened a lot with Colombia, that we all pay for what a few have done. What experience in particular has made you approach theatre professionally? The first was with Miguel as a dance teacher. How we started and so I could open a way for myself in the field and make myself known. But once I was getting fully involved, it was with the company TIA (Teatro Independiente Antofagasta [Antofagasta Independent Theatre]), with Marilú (Rui-Perez). There I was opened up to the experience of theatre that I perform, because there I have maintained myself with many theatrical works, there they have seen the value of what I do, and now I am also a theatre teacher in the Liceo Experimental Artístico (LEA) (Artistic Experimental Lyceum) and in the Colegio Chañares, and having a good job has helped me get established. What have been your prior experiences with performance art? In Santiago I had the opportunity to work with a painter named Tuco Rodríguez, with painted bodies. He painted us live, in places, in discos, in art spaces, and there we started to interact with the bodies. Really what we did was contemporary dance; that is my experimental focus. 60
How did you prepare for The monument to the victims of capitalism? A lot of analysis, because I found that not everyone spoke the same language. That was a challenge since there was not always a translator. It’s not the same face to face. I wanted to say things to you, but I did it anyway. Also Dagmara was there, who is an excellent translator and helped me a lot. But what I had to analyse most was your countenance, your face, your hands, the smile, the hands again, and then the eyes. So that’s a little of how I see the interpretation and the body expression and sign language that is used a lot in working with deaf mutes. After that, doing the work in the field, seeing what it’s like to be a promoter, an executive, a person who sells a product like a shampoo or any other. From there, when I interviewed the public it was different, because I started to interact live with the people and extract the information they also gave me and with that prepare a short script to bring out the good and the bad. What do you think about your role as an actress interpreting yourself as protagonist and host of The monument to the victims of capitalism? I felt great, because interacting with people is something that makes an impression. There are people who come with problems, come with energies from their home or from other places, so you absorb that energy, you come and project yourself with a smile. My character has a lot of love, a lot of personality, open to the public. It’s like a person who is not going to have all the information but who provides it with love and a lot of peace, with good energies. But there are times when that does not happen, so I worked those energies as I oriented or prepared them. There were people who were furious, but with my energy I transformed them into what I wanted them to realize and to show what they were saying. In that I can say, showing my smile, because that’s what counts, when you receive people with a smile they pay attention to what you say; she has a smile, let’s see what she says. How would you judge the interaction with the public during the action? The people came willing, some didn’t care, and others didn’t know what capitalism was, but as they passed the instalment there were people who talked about art, about economics, people who knew a lot. So I shot the arrow and the people caught it. They told me good things, bad things. For some people it hurt to leave a coin. There are people who ask a lot of questions. Interacting with the people is wonderful. What were the participants’ reactions? There were people who got offended when you talked about capital; there were offended by the work of art. There were times when they didn’t see the purpose 61
of the work of art. You had to be more concrete. What you told me to do was more of an experiment to do sometime. I had to be more concrete, that with their help the monument would be made. Other people said that Antofagasta was too young to make a monument to capitalism, so how is it, are many of the things they said. The taste also went for the art, and for the theatre, or something more like that. How did the participants in the project define the concept of capitalism and how did they recognise its victims? The concept was given to me by the authors, and so we started listening to what they thought about capitalism. I tried to explain to the people that capitalism is the social and economic part of a nation, but that handles the money, that it is not handled well, that this can be seen in the AFPs (private pension management funds), in health and education, and the people said â€œwe are the victimsâ€?, there are people who are robbing us; the capital goes somewhere else. We produce copper, we make everything, and we have nothing. Do you remember some particular opinions or suggestions made by the participants? The first was that the city was very young, that it had to focus on theatre. In other ideas, they said that the people had to make an effort; that people were mediocre; that this is like a school because it explains to you what capitalism is and helps you talk about it. There were also many drawings. A Bolivian asked me what type of art I did and then drew a hand with money. It had some dogs in cages, and that represented capitalism, and therefore us. What is your proposal regarding the location and appearance of The monument to the victims of capitalism? It was well located. That is a historical pier, and the visual was sometimes out of focus a little with the victims, so the people thought the victims were from September 11 or people who had died on the pier or the people who died in some war. If I hadnâ€™t been there, the work of art would have lost its focus; that they were victims as such, so they had to leave some coins and that it was necessary to take those coins to the victims of capitalism.
TO EMIGRATE IS TO ASSUME A SCHIZOPHRENIA OF IDENTITY
Paula Quintela (Chile / Australia) “Go out and explore and not be afraid” 1. Tell us about your work in SACO5. The work I am presenting in SACO5 is called In transit and is a house that speaks of the loss and of the things we leave behind and of the chain that we cut when, as immigrants we leave our country of origin… So, above all, from a female point of view… For that reason it’s a house, because for women it’s a little bit stronger and we have a much stronger need to have this nest, to form a nest, almost an instinct. So we form this nest wherever we go, and this is a fragile, transparent and light house, because that’s how fragile the first house we set up when we arrive in a new place is; and this transparent house, where we are exposed because we can see inside and they can see us, is full of cushions because it is a domestic item and is an item you travel with. Even on short trips people take their pillow as a security object, like taking a small piece of the house with you, and these cushions have prints of objects, antiques, items from everyday life; plates, cups, knives … Because in the end, when you emigrate you have to make the decision to leave things behind and choose very few that you can take along. But as a woman, there is also a story of legacy, that the great grandmother or the great-great grandmother passes on to the grandmother all these things that have been, that have been passed from family to family, from person to person in the family, and when you emigrate you cut that chain, because you don’t have any possibility to take all those things with you. So it’s quite strong. It’s not a reflection on the value of the things themselves; it’s a reflection on your origin, on your roots that when you emigrate you somehow cut, and it is also a reference from day to day domestic life, because there are 365 cushions, pillows, like each day of the year. This house is this first year of the transition, so for that reason the work is called In transit. That is basically the general concept of the work. This work has many more readings, many more layers. It can be read many ways, but that is more or less the central idea. 2. What relation does your art have with your origin and with the country where you live now? My art has to do with my origin… I would say ever more conscious… I have emigrated many times in my life and I always thought that my work reacted to that, the landscape; that my view, my external view, invisible, of the places I have lived… But I began to realise that my origin has always been present, my history, and it is a tremendously important factor in my work. 67
3. What cultural aspects attracted you in the new country and which ones meant difficulties? What would you take from your country of origin to the place where you live? The cultural aspects of Australia that attracted me were its ideals as a society. I always believed in equality, in nature, in living in harmony with the environment, living surrounded by a nature that is respected. All those things that I thought were ideals of mine, that there wasn’t a society where those things were fulfilled, that it was too difficult, too utopic. And I came to Australia and couldn’t believe that all that existed in the society and I loved that and felt that the country suited me to a tee. There was everything I believed in, and as culture, there is also the respect they have for aboriginal art and for all the artists of the world. They are very open, almost hungry with curiosity, to attract new ideas, trends. There are very interesting currents, and in conceptual art, all types of branches, very, very enjoyable, very avant-garde, and I never thought I would find something like that. Now, the difficulties are the same ones you can run into or that I have run into every time I have emigrated before, that it is very hard to form a network, in which it is very hard to become connected, to get galleries to represent you. But this time it wasn’t as difficult as in other places. I would say that other times I have emigrated it has taken me at least two years, but in Australia it was quicker. I knew what to do, but it was still an exercise, an effort to make a new space for myself and that I would say has been the most difficult. If I had to take something with me from my country to the new country… Well, if it were an object I think the most important would be to take my photographs and my work tools, which is what I did when I went to Australia, it was the press and my camera. That is what would give me work and tools of creativity and give me a starting point. And the old photographs of my family give me a connection with my origin, with my family, with my loves. And if I had to take something characteristic of Chileans and that I have missed very much it would be spontaneity. Australians, even though among English speaking countries they are the most spontaneous, still lack what we Chileans have, and it is that thing of asking help from anyone in the street, of talking and telling your feelings… It is not at all English, they don’t know what to do when you say “I feel such and such a way” or “I would like” or “I’m sad”. Here in Chile we do it spontaneously, you say what you feel, what you want, and that doesn’t mean anything, and then you feel better and continue on your way. It’s something that doesn’t exist and I believe it’s something I need to make me complete. And the other thing I think is the Chilean sense of humour, because even though I very much like English and Australian humour, there is a part of me that is not complete because that part is missing, that spark, that Chilean spontaneity, and I think that those are the things, because the rest I like, it fits me, I have become integrated and it fits me perfectly. As a society it fits me, as a place to work I have liked it a lot… I have become well accustomed to the 69
distance, viewing Chile from far away has changed me in order to find my own voice and my creativity, or my own work, as well as concentrating on my work; the distance has suited me well. 4. Identity for you means… Identity for me is what we are, everything we are, what we receive from our parents, from the society in which we grow up, from our environment. But also from the trips we make, from the experiences we have, from the people we get to know in our lives and the experiences we live; for me that is identity. 5. Do you feel that you found your place? Could you emigrate again or return? I feel that I found my place… I think that… it is a dangerous question because I feel that each time I say “I found it”, here I am staying; life checkmates me and sends me to other places. But yes, I feel that it is a place that fits me very well, I feel comfortable … Like I said before, the distance suits me, and the silence of the distance for developing my work… And I have liked the tranquillity of life in Australia very much. Of course I miss my family and my friends very much, but I live in a way that is closer to what I believe, how I imagined an ideal life. I like my life now; yes, I believe I found my place. Whether I could emigrate again? I think so, even though I just said I found my place. There is a very strong adventurer side in me, always a wanderer, since I was small, of wanting to see what is on the other side of the ocean, in another place, in a certain town, what it feels like to live in that place. I am very curious and I like the extreme, and I like new places and I like to explore and I like to travel. I don’t think I would emigrate like I had emigrated when I was eighteen, like at three and at four, and in very, very difficult conditions, and very, very much to the unknown. I think I am no longer up to that; but yes, in good conditions I would emigrate again. And whether I would return to Chile, sure I would return. I don’t know if I would now, because I feel I still have much to do there, but Chile has many things, many people that I like and have… And I am Chilean, I have never stopped being Chilean, so if the question is whether I would return to Chile, the answer is yes, at some point. 6. What advice would you give people who emigrate? First: that they don’t close themselves in, that they go out of the house, not be afraid of another language, of making mistakes, of going out and talking, asking questions, connecting, talking to the people, asking, trying to speak the language, getting a job or trying to enter a group of something. Become integrated as soon as possible, without being afraid, because after a while you realise that there was nothing to be afraid of, that it was a waste of time and unnecessary loneliness… And also do research. Before leaving, do research and know where you are going to arrive, know a little about the culture where you are going, 70
about their codes, because even when you go to a country that speaks the same language I think that one of the most difficult things is to learn the social codes, for example things like when you go to a place and they give you three kisses and in another place it is frowned upon to greet with a kiss. So there are little things like that, that save you a lot of hard times, understand how people relate… What they expect from you when you meet someone, when you call someone by telephone. All cultures are different and you make your life much easier if you do a little research before going and you save yourself all those hard times. But it’s that: go out and explore and don’t be afraid; being afraid is a waste of time.
Angel Delgado (Cuba / United States) “Identity for me is something that we carry all the time” 1. Tell us about your work in SACO5. My work is called Dream Destination, and has to do with the whole theme of SACO5, which is emigration. In my case, I am going to work with sheets; that is, many of my works are done with objects that I give a change of meaning, in this case sheets… Metaphorically I am talking about the dreams of these people, of emigrants, and 71
I use the sheets that are like the place, let’s say, an everyday object that we use almost daily, and from where many of our dreams come, and that is a little of what the installation is about. It’s going to take each sheet to be exchanged for new sheets that I provide the immigrant and they give me the sheets they are using; they are going to carry a word that they themselves will tell me, that has to do with their feelings, with their experiences as emigrants; that is, with a word that is very important in their stage of being an emigrant, and those are the words that are painted on the sheet. In this case they are going to be painted with dirt from here, and painted by hand directly on the sheet. It’s a little like returning to our roots, technically. 2. What relation does your art have with your origin and with the country where you live now? The relation of the art I did and have done in Cuba for a long time is about the controls and restrictions imposed on our path in life. In Cuba we know that we have thousands of controls and a lack of freedom all the time and now in my current country, the United States, specifically in Los Angeles, I find that there is another type of controls and other lack of freedom that are different and some that coincide. And nevertheless, the controls in the United States are much stricter than in my own country, in Cuba. My art with my origin has to do, almost all the time, with everything that you have incorporated, whether in school or in life experiences. You always bring your own country, and I think that’s something that you reflect all the time, and the place where I live now; it’s always the same, always… The work is nurtured by new experiences, from the places where you are. When I was in Mexico my work opened up a lot to Mexican everyday life. In Cuba, in fact, my work was much more anecdotal and in moving to Mexico, it made me open up more to discourse and a work is done, or I do a work that is a little more universal. And now that I live in the United States, for three years now, I also start, almost without realising it… When I start on the works or the ideas for the works, I realise that I am incorporating these new experiences into the work. Regarding the relation of my art, that is, the art I have done my whole life, that I started doing in my country Cuba, with what I did here in Antofagasta, I think the point that unites them is the controls that we have imposed on us as human beings in our path through life and in the case of emigrants… On these sheets that I painted, the works have a box that is similar to the seals or stamps that are constantly placed on us in migratory controls: denied or accepted. So I think the relation between my previous work and what I am doing here in SACO5 is this control that is imposed on us all the time.
3. What cultural aspects attracted you in the new country and which ones meant difficulties? What would you take from your country of origin to the place where you live? The cultural aspects that could seem attractive to me in the new countries where I have been… I would have to talk about two, that is, technically I have migrated twice, first to Mexico and later, just three years ago, to the United States. A first aspect that very much attracted me in Mexico, for example, is the cultural diversity they have. It’s a country where every pueblo has a different culture, different religion, and that makes you open up much more. Coming from Cuba, almost everything is very flat; in that sense the culture is the same in almost the entire island. Then in Mexico it’s extremely varied. Also, both in Mexico and the United States, I start to find a contrast, talking about the work, given that in Cuba, practically, at the time I was there, which now has changed a little, but when I was there, artists worked practically out of love for art… There was no art commerce; we didn’t have galleries that sold our art. Then, in leaving for Mexico, which was the first country, it’s automatic. In fact, I go to work with a gallery called Nina Menocal, where I started to market my work and I realise that it’s a completely different dynamic. And the same thing happened when I went to the United States. What could be least attractive about these two countries? Well, I think there’s a lot. Each change of city, and in fact I have changed cities two or three times in each country, I think that each thing influences my work and makes it more attractive… And now it is 73
not so much cultural, but in moving from Mexico to the United States, for example, I encountered a very big contrast in the way of life and the controls the country has or that we have in each of these countries. In Mexico I became accustomed to a way of life, they are freer; somehow less controlling; you can almost do whatever you feel like and nothing happens, in many aspects. And then I came to the United States and I realised that you are highly controlled. From the start they turn you into a number, which is your social security number, and from there they control everything. It is very different from Mexico, where you go about your life like nobody is controlling hardly anything. I would take to the country where I currently live, which is the United States… First of all, I would love to take my mother who is still in Cuba. I think that would be fundamental for me, and among other things, some personal objects that I still have there, and maybe also some foods… like what… There were some black frijoles that I think are only made there in Cuba, because the black frijol that we eat here in the United States, I don’t know, it maybe has less flavour, for example… 4. Identity for you means… Identity for me is something we carry all the time. It is being yourself wherever you are. It think it is simply that. 74
5. Do you feel that you found your place? Could you emigrate again or return? Feel that I have found my place, well, the truth is I think not yet… I have changed cities for different reasons, but now after making five moves, I feel comfortable where I am now in Los Angeles; however I don’t think it is my final point yet. I am assuming there will be other changes; I don’t know where destiny will take me, but surely it will be another place. Emigrating again is something almost definite, that is going to happen, almost surely, but returning is very possible also; it is part of my ideas, my plans. Maybe it will be at some point, but only until… We would have to change some things in Cuba, above all politically speaking. Now I realise that when I go back to Cuba I no longer feel completely at ease, and I do not agree with the things that happen in Cuba; definitely, in order to return there would have to be a political change above all. 6. Your advice for an immigrant: My advice for any emigrant is to be perseverant all the time, and surely with that and faith, you are going to achieve your dreams, definitely.
Bodgan Achimescu (Romania / Poland) “Identity is the baggage I have to undo about myself” 1. Tell us about your work in SACO5. For SACO5 I prepared drawings in my sketchpad, I expanded them and placed them on the glass on the pier’s handrails. These drawings represent people who are partially under the water and partially out. They are not in a comfortable position. It is not exactly like being on the beach. Nor is there a tragic connotation. It’s what I consider a state of suspension between two worlds. It’s not completely clear for me or for the public whether these characters are emerging from the water or are drowning, a little like the situation of the refugees now in Europe. What is important for me is the state of suspension between the two impossibilities. I worked, inspired by the information on the pier that I took from the photographs that were sent to me in Poland and based on the prior knowledge I had about the petroglyphs. Based on that I developed these drawings that seem like bird droppings that dirty the glass on the handrails and also like the petroglyphs we visited today. These drawings are new and haven’t been shown before, but the idea is old, it comes from the 80’s and is inspired by a person I met at the Black Sea in Romania. This man was a sculptor who was tremendously unhappy about the condition of Romania, which at that time lived under a dictatorship. So he tried to get as far away from his country as possible… and the sea stopped him. So he was also somehow a character 75
suspended between two worlds, like these semi-submerged figures. This loneliness was not imposed on him, but rather he imposed it on himself, perhaps as a life option. He was suspended like a person trapped in an airport without a visa, without a passport to be able to continue the trip or return. He was using this point of suspension as a point of observation and reflection. These people represented in my drawings seem to be looking from this particular observation point, suspended between two worlds, like a movement from an emigration process that is detained, like they arenâ€™t in any place. 2. What relation does your art have with your origin and with the country where you live now? It has a lot to do with both countries. Romania and Poland are Eastern European countries and therefore have much in common in terms of history and also of mentality. Perhaps the biggest influence on my work was the status of artists in the country from where I come, Romania, which in reality was the status of an internal emigrant, with their ties to society cut off at various levels: financial, philosophical, educative, in level of empathy. This was a tremendous disconnection between artists and the society that was caused by the dictatorship. So a big part of my work is a work of reconnection at all levels, both in Romania and Poland. The biggest sense that my work as an artist has is to humbly try to make sense of life being an 76
artist, and test my role in all the aspects I mentioned before, considering that I am trying to make art in a society that does not need art, or that simply thinks that it doesn’t need it. I am questioning myself all the time about my role as an artist, what sense it has to be an artist in a society like that. 3. What cultural aspects attracted you in the new country and which ones meant difficulties? What would you take from your country of origin to the place where you live? Each time I come in contact with a new culture, I think from the start that I will find similarities that will surprise me, but not in the way I expected. In Chile, even the geometry of the country, which many people would probably say is unique among the geometries of the borders in the world. The border of this country, thousands and thousands of kilometres that extend through various climatic zones. Curiously, I did something similar with a topic I had been working on some time ago, which is that compression between the ocean and the territory. The other day, Christian (Núñez) told me jokingly, when I asked where I could buy sunblock for my skin, pointing to the north and to the south said “salvation” and then to the mountains and the sea, saying “death”. And basically they decided to energize the area where they are. Defining a city like Antofagasta, even from an 77
economic viewpoint, with the large gaps between rich and poor, between locals and migrants who are settled on this narrow stretch between east and west. This is similar to Europe in many aspects. One of my first days in Antofagasta, I walked along Sucre Street toward the mountain as far as I could go, and on my way I was seeing how the socioeconomic strata were changing. When I arrived at the point, or toward the end of the street, a man stopped me and tried to talk to me but realised that I didn’t speak Spanish. I understood that he was trying to advise me to go back, not to continue walking so that my camera wouldn’t be stolen. After meeting this person who spontaneously tried to help me, I went down toward the cemetery and toured the area. I continued walking up to the ring road and reached the cemetery, which I found tremendously exciting, and in some way happy; it was extremely inspiring. In that brief circuit I feel that I came across some very intense things that were shown to me in a tremendous variety… The north of Chile, a wonder… The people. It’s going to take some time for me to assimilate everything I saw in this short walk through Antofagasta, having encountered this man and having walked through the cemetery and, well, having passed through different social strata and having read the names in the cemetery, of people with different backgrounds, different nationalities. 4. What is identity for you? It’s baggage that I want to get rid of, it is money that I have earned and now have to spend, it’s a facial expression I have when I meet people. 5. Do you feel you have found your place? Would you emigrate again? Technically, I would say no, because I’m too old to emigrate. But emigration does not just mean a change of place and you never know what can happen. 6. What is your advice for someone who wants to emigrate? Do it!
Johannes Pfeiffer (Germany / Italy) “Every immigrant needs a lot of heart, patience and tolerance” 1. What does your work in SACO5 consist of? The work I have done for Antofagasta has to do with the topic of the exhibition, which is One way ticket, better yet, with emigration in general, more in this case with 78
the emigration of artists. There are six of us artists who have emigrated from the country, and for me it is a very interesting topic because I had left Germany 35 years ago; I live in Italy, in the north, so my life, my art have changed, and the reason I am here is the topic, emigrants, emigrant artists, and for me this place, the pier, is the place of departure, of change, a place of emigration in the end, so I have made this ship because a ship is a medium, a vehicle of travel. The title of the work is One way ship because it is just one time, it travels in just one direction. I have made a ship of screen, steel wire, suspended with white threads. The threads are to hold the ship suspended. The threads also mean light, the threads mean… It’s like a candle, the threads are also a material of transformation, from a material thing to an immaterial thing; it’s a thought carrier, the idea, the material to immaterial, spiritual things. 2. What relation does your art have with your origin and with the country where you live now? Part of the problem is that… I was born in Germany, I lived in Germany for 25 years, and I got started in art in Italy, in the country where I emigrated. So it could be that I haven’t done art in Germany, I have done it in Italy. In Italy I started with marble, then as a classic sculptor, also with figurative shapes, and five years later I have changed everything. It started with land art. The first project that wasn’t the 79
elaboration of marble, of stone, was one of land art in France, in Provence… It was like a liberation of the stone (that) is a little like a prison. I believe that my spirit, character is discovered more by sensitivity, by the space, in general where I work; it’s not so much like at first, it’s not so much like the work in stone (of) transforming an idea into stone, a reaction, a dialogue with the space in which we live. So for me it’s more important than before to sculpt a shape in the material. This is like intervening. So, sure, my character is German and then Italian, a person changes, it’s logical; always changing. In a case of emigration the change is assured, other things are experienced, you experience new things; I have to be very open to other things. So there have been many stimuli that have been drawn in and that are going to be exchanged with the ideas I have had in the old country. 3. What cultural aspects attracted you in the new country and which ones meant difficulties? What would you take from your country of origin to the place where you live? The thing that attracted me about my new country, Italy, was on one hand, the light; because in Italy there is a very particular light that I think there isn’t in Germany. The reason is that the country is very long and there is a sea on all sides. So there is a particular reflection of the light. The most important reason was that I have encountered art in Italy. After a period of illness, the idea of going to Italy was
created, and following this intuition I have found art with what clearly is a key event, which at that time I knew it was… In my first life I didn’t know what to do; now I converted to art, and this way I am a master in Italy. It’s a very wonderful country with very beautiful palaces, architecturally with a very interesting, old history. Also it is a very complicated country; as a mentality, it is the opposite of Germany. There is a mentality that I think is the opposite of German, so the first years it took a lot of energy from me to understand, to change… Because I have changed, I think I have many Italian characteristics that I like very much, that I have internalised, and have left German characteristics that I didn’t like. So I think I have made a combination, a very interesting blend with two different mentalities, selecting the best part. 4. Identity for you means… Well, that’s a good question, because I think the work identity is very important for everyone, not only in art, but for everyone. In art it can be important because identity is also authenticity, because if I don’t know who I am, I can’t be authentic. In art, authenticity is something that is very important, it may be the most important. Because if I am not authentic, art is always something that has been seen, any part that has been remembered without my own interpretation with my identity, so I think that is very important. 5. Would you travel again and live in another country or return to your country of origin? Return to the country of origin, I don’t think so, not to live, because up until now when I move, when I have moved it is always in another place. I don’t like to return to live in a place at all, not for anything; so if I leave, I leave… I very much like finding a new place, it could be more difficult now, because the house, the family, it’s… beautiful… but it impedes you from changing, going to another place, it could be Barcelona, Madrid, why not go to Paris. Lately I like Berlin a lot, where I have also studied, because it seems like another city now, after the fall of the wall. I think it has changed a lot and I like it very much. 6. Your advice for an immigrant: Well, I think every immigrant needs a lot of heart, patience and tolerance… Because I can’t advise a person to emigrate or immigrate. If they do so, it’s because it’s something very important in their life. So, I can talk, I can dialogue, discuss with the person. I will never say emigrate or immigrate. If they do, do it with a lot of tolerance. Something very important is to learn the language, because without the language I think that after ten years I would not understand anything about the country where I go to live, because in the end it is a very important means of communication. There are other means of communication, but I think language is first, so the first thing is to learn the language. 81
TERESA SOLAR (Egypt / Spain) “All traditions enrich an individual’s experience” 1. Tell us about your work in SACO5. Yes, my work with SACO5 has to do with my family legacy. My mother is Egyptian and has lived her whole life in Spain and has raised us there, but she has always made a great effort to transmit her cultural legacy to us, to make us learn her language. And with all this cultural legacy there also comes a legacy of migrant and of that dual nationality she has, and that in the end places her in an intermediate point. I believe that rupture with her native country and the arrival in a new culture, with which she ended up not identifying herself, has also been passed on to us, and has been quite a recurrent topic of work, not only from the perspective of emigrant but also from the perspective of a traveller and translator; that is, it is a pole of transmission of knowledge and you could also say a filter based on your own prism. The work that I present in SACO5 is a project based on a trip I made to Egypt, precisely to record a film about El Cairo, about my relationship with my family there and my relationship with the city. What I present on the pier is a sound installation that reproduces and represents a specific landscape of El Cairo. It is an aquatic landscape found on the banks of the Nile, in a very central part of the city, in which different recreational boats dedicated to taking tourists and locals on tours on the Nile have, well, they actually have a series of melodies; they reproduce a series of melodies on their loudspeakers. Each one is completely different; some are national themes; others are contemporary … Techno… And they are all mixed together with each other, forming a symphony, you could say, unorthodox and arrhythmic. And all this is finally combined with the sounds of El Cairo, which is a tremendously noisy city, with the traffic, the noise of the car horns… In the end it forms a nearly unintelligible din that speaks precisely of these temporalities, of these different ways of understanding a culture, a musical culture, and that tell us of an experience that is totally aggressive with the medium itself. 2. What relation does your art have with your origin and with the country where you live? Yes, as I said to you before, this cultural legacy inherited from my mother is tremendously important in my work and has been one of my sources of reflection. Actually, many of my works have much to do with translation, with travel with tourists, and that has been developing quite naturally in different formats, in video format, with medium-length films and even with sculptures, installations that many times have to do precisely with this translation from one language to another and these are also translations, you could say, dirty translations that are knocked down, that are in between, that exist, that are divided between one culture and another; that’s how I focus this cultural legacy so important for me. 82
3. What cultural aspects from your motherâ€™s country of origin attract you? What would you take from Egypt to Spain? I have opted for this installation, I have wanted to present this installation here, perhaps for several important reasons. On one hand I am very interested in working El Cairo as a phantom landscape, as a landscape not only abstract but actually invisible. And maybe also for that I have been interested in working it that way, because it is a legacy I have received from my mother, that has to do precisely with sound, not so much an actual experience with spaces, objects, but rather that is received through a narrative, from an orality and from a sonority, and thatâ€™s why I have been very interested in working it this way. Also, I believe that all this transposition of music and rhythms talks to us precisely of these different temporalities, of the different ways of understanding one same culture. 4. Identity for you meansâ€Ś For me, identity, in the end, is defined as a tremendously abstract spirit, a tremendously abstract notion that goes beyond a religious aspect, a social aspect. In the end, identities are mixed with all these past experiences, but are being constantly nurtured by the conflicts and circumstances we encounter in the present, and is about thinking that there are no defined identities and
nationalities, but rather that really each one is a funnel of emotions, of cultural notions, of conflicts. It is something that is constantly mutating and is difficult to ascribe to just one. In my case, of course I have inherited this conflict, this conflict of emigrant, even though I have developed, I have lived constantly in Spain, and I do feel tied to that cultural legacy. Neither is it that I feel tied with a spirit completely of belonging, but rather that I am capable of... Or I would say that it is an intermittent spirit that many times you are capable of empathising with those people who are considered and who are your family, and they consider you as part of their nuclear family, but who many times are seen or can be seen from outside, through the experience in another country... Actually I understand identity as something fluid, abstract and that cannot be ascribed firmly to anything. 5. Do you feel a dual sense of belonging? Could you emigrate? The migratory experience is something complex for me to define. On one hand I feel an enormous need to emigrate... Above all for a matter of work, status as an artist. Artists are increasingly more obligated to make mobile elements that move through different territories and that are nourished from different experiences and also different characters (that they are) encountering on their paths. Having a close migratory experience makes you 84
know precisely how difficult it is to emigrate, to know the gap there is, that emigration places, and I would also say that coming from a family of emigrants makes me want to emigrate less. I know precisely the problems it brings. 6. Your advice for an immigrant: I think that seeing how my own family has experienced these migratory processes can also generate a reflection. For example, some members of my family have migrated to Canada, or the United States and have not wanted to teach the language to their children, and their children for example don’t know Arabic and can’t relate to that cultural part; they can’t travel to Egypt and get to know that country because they don’t know the language either, no. And I believe that really, what you have to think about is that many times when you migrate, you carry along certain inferiority complexes, because you have to emigrate, because in your country you can’t work, you can’t live, which generates a lot of inferiority complexes that make you not want to transmit your culture. But I think it is really important to emphasize that those cultures are rich, that they must not be lost, that the traditions must not be lost and must be transferred, through this translation that many times is erroneous or not as clean or somewhat dirty, but that is tremendously rich and that also makes you question yourself in the culture in which you are immersed. What all these traditions do is enrich the experience of an individual, and never, never, never take away.
Alicja Rogalska (Poland / England) “Of course I would emigrate again” 1. Tell us about your work in SACO5. The project is called The monument to the victims of capitalism and is a performative intervention on the historical pier of Antofagasta. On the pier there is an actress who is in turn an immigrant in Antofagasta from Colombia. Her role is to interact with visitors and collect ideas on the form and location of a possible monument to the victims of capitalism, as well as money in the form of coins that would be the material for the future monument. The idea of the project is to anticipate the end of capitalism in some way. In general, those monuments to the victims are built after the regimes end. So the performance is going to last as long as this project lasts on the pier. Some of the ideas proposed by the public will be published on the website dedicated to the project. Even though it is called The monument to the victims of capitalism, it is not really a monument, but rather is like an imaginary office for future monuments. 85
The context of the project is very important: in first place, Chile is a neoliberal country, as well as the local context of mining, exploration for saltpetre nitrate, copper, lithium, the result of industrial mining and also the exploitation of the workers. Nevertheless, the project has been local with a global perspective, so we have been asking the people for ideas on places that could be in Antofagasta, Chile or any other place in the world where that monument should be placed. 2. What relation does your art have with your origin and with the country where you live now? I was born under a leftist regime. Itâ€™s difficult to say in what magnitude, because it is at many levels, but I think having been born in a country under a dictatorship and living in a country with a neoliberal systemâ€Ś Itâ€™s very difficult to say exactly what it is, but I think the fact that I grew up under communism when I was a girl is very important for my work. I remember the political difference and the ideological regime. That is very important for my work; what I try to do is imagine alternatives, because I have lived in different systems. Now I live in a country that is very advanced in terms of liberalism but I still have that background and
the memory of when things were different. Therefore, I think it’s easy for me to imagine that things could change again. 3. What cultural aspects attracted you in the new country and which ones meant difficulties? What would you take from your country of origin to the place where you live? What is most attractive about living in London, in the United Kingdom, is the fact that there are people from all over the world living there, so you are not surrounded by one culture but rather by multiple cultures and very different people. And the difficult part, which is not limited only to the United Kingdom, but that we have in various parts of the world too, is a society totally focused on making money, connected to relations with a financial gain, or in general with money. It’s a shame. It’s not just the United Kingdom but many countries of the world. 4. Identity for you means… Identity is a very loaded word. I think there is not just one identity, that we have multiple identities. I think identity is not about the place where you were born, about nationality, but about your experiences in life, with the people you know, 87
with the places where you go. This develops you as a person and contributes to who you are. That for me is the definition of identity. 5. Do you feel you found your place? Could you emigrate again or return? Of course I would emigrate again; once you are an emigrant you will always be one. I never feel comfortable in my home, I never feel comfortable where I live, so I could feel uncomfortable in another place. I believe itâ€™s healthy to feel uncomfortable and to challenge those questions. Itâ€™s a beautiful thing to be an emigrant. Of course there are many types of migration. Voluntary migration is completely different from forced migration and I would like to make that distinction, not everything is positive and beautiful. 6. Your advice for an immigrant: Be open to other people and try not to judge them.
DIASPORAS ON THE PIER A migratory trip can be considered a complex experience in which the migrant, for economic, political or social reasons, builds an intense trauma with the new space he or she has chosen to inhabit, a situation that incessantly puts him or her to the test. Apart from that, the feelings that surround migration have to do not only with the space chosen but also with the existential transit caused by the diaspora that impregnates the new confrontations that the migrant himself has constructed and that surround his stay. The diaspora, as a transnational phenomenon, highlights territory as a symbolic entity and constitutes it based on three focuses: identity that is generated by moving, the load of a nation that is left behind, and the awareness of a common or collective origin. Thatâ€™s why the uprooting from the territory of origin is inherent to all diaspora and involves the need for a collective memory that the shock enables elaborating. This way, the reference to all the roots is present in all diaspora; in general it is about subjective views that give account of the territory of origin as a homogenous space. So, in the communities where the diaspora move, that place becomes predominant. Without memory there is no identity and without identity there is no diaspora. So by analysing the processes of construction of spaces of memory, we study the diaspora and this enables us to accede to cultural settling. From different places on the globe, migratory movements, whether individual or collective, are the result of fundamental phenomena of contemporary reality, which has been constructed based on human displacements caused by aggressive capitalism. All this introductory background is a great source of inspiration for creativity based on a variety of critical and political discourses. It is here where there appears a scrutinizing analysis of the visual arts which generally present a concrete material, and at the same time create fictions that transport the notions of the migrant through a changing, shifting and sometimes dangerous space, in which a series of questions about this world ever more submissive to migration are exhibited. Nevertheless, for the work of the artist, the migratory trip does not cease to be a reference; migration superficially refers to certain displacements that are emerging, along with the multicultural dialogue within a territory that conserves a variety of acceptances. With this preamble, we could put a large number of works and projects on the table where the topic of migration articulates a strict relation with the communicational 93
flow that lies in hundreds of globalised references of contemporary art. In this case, it also does so faced with the incommensurable space that oversets aesthetics in that the artistâ€™s thinking must act without limits as well as without a direction, so that in the end it is possible to transport a message. The links that artists generate with the migratory topic have gradually increased. A phenomenon increasingly more massive, where some proposals exhibit specific spaces, new ideologies and the diffusion of new displacements. But I insist that these marks do not constitute a set of meanings of mimetic representation, even though they are the ones that establish direct relations with determined facts. That results when the artist makes use of the varied spectrum and imagery that appears on the trip, a trip traditionally loaded with strong connotative meanings, and even imprints personal and subjective distortions, which is a situation difficult to determine for the different semantic strata with which a work is presented. It is there where the works exploit all the individual and collective imagination that this topic of the migrant has solidified, so as to make references to what a migratory experience means, the journey, the human capacity to mutate and accept or reject the changes. Faced with the new visual synchronies that invite us to reflect on the migrantâ€™s steps and their tracks in diverse places, the visual artist Paula Quintela has created a space for contemplating various aspects of memory that are contained, encapsulated, and for which a series of objects are used that do not seem to go extinct over the course of time. In this sense her proposal causes us to analyse diverse convergences in observing her work under the context of One way ticket. This Chilean artist, who currently lives in Australia, has persevered with an account in which an endless number of elements arise. In her proposal, called In transit, the narrative lines of the work are strongly tied to memory. In transit presents us with an artistic inspection, specifically manufactured with pillows on which a series of conventional objects are stamped, which also carry with them the load of what is intimate and confidential and that leads us to remember and to forget various stories related to the past, since this does not mark a space in a single direction nor a single dimension for reflection regarding an experience linked to contemporary art. Based on this logic, various pasts appear that are qualitatively different and with which we also maintain diverse affinities. In this case, the poetic force of In transit is in linking the objects piled inside a house of plastic to the universal memory capable of breaking any chronological order, an idea that appears so that we are all capable of revealing other logics that do not point only at one particular identity but rather at an account that evokes the elements that constitute the immigrantâ€™s memory. Also, in this work the use of the concept of memory performs a diverse social 95
function since we have certainties that memories are assimilated by a society that uses memory only as a definition more linked to what is forgotten, but that is never analysed based on a social practice that involves its own acceptance. This way we are left observing this small file of elements that intend to lead us to a place or a memory. A space that revitalises and values certain ideas that we remember in individual as well as in the collective memory. Northern Chile is composed of waves of immigrants from different races and cultures, so it is evident that sooner or later, from a place like Antofagasta, we must address some reflections regarding these “new tenants”. Based on one or another question about immigrants, the artist of Cuban origin, Angel Delgado puts into coexistence both the social issue and the space of the new neighbours from the “Pearl of the North”. Delgado has been inspired by the sheets, the mud and the singular expressions of various immigrants who themselves became the platform for this artist’s work. In facing his own reality as a migrant, Delgado creates a space for dialogue that enables him to get to know and link his artistic practice with the ideas and feelings of those who for different reasons have chosen the northern area of Chile as their new home. But this work also speaks to us of a certain demoralisation on the part of these immigrants. Phrases that graph the problems of social adaptation, especially between the locals and the foreigners, and that give account of various feelings that determine part of being an immigrant. For this artist there are various tracks that are set deep in our society and that intend to alter any argument that justifies these others in looking for a place where they can live. Sociology has provided us with an inexhaustible source of concepts and measuring instruments regarding immigrants. Nevertheless, as advised in this artist’s tour through different places in the city, the immigrant’s reality cannot be measured or quantified, since their diverse experiences cannot be statistically instrumented; a fact that could be one of the principal reasons for such corrosive and aggressive disapproval toward immigrants. Certain works generate hope, while others teach us to accept others. This is how Delgado’s phrases give shape to a hope that those spaces that have denied foreigners could be blocked. One of the most agitated cities in the north presents us with a social conformation that certainly will always be showing certain transformations within the whole melting pot of realities that northern Chile generally presents us. Faced with this unique and incomparable diverse mantle, it is possible to see how the market economy has captivated one of the regions most manipulated by capitalism. 96
The monument to the victims of capitalism is an installation where the performative appearance of an actress is coupled with a dialogue that provides us with a discourse that has left no one indifferent in this version of SACO5. Alicja Rogalska, the artist who created this project, has studied in depth the visible economic expansion that the region of Antofagasta has recorded, and has also gathered an endless number of chronicles that speak of a country that is recognised as one of those in which capitalism has been venerated as a cultural phenomenon. Undoubtedly, it is these regions where we find ourselves with the position regarding the equilibrium between State and market, of course in favour of the latter; a dialect that has been reinforced with a tenacious offensive on the ideological field. On the other hand, The monument to the victims of capitalism extols the supposed virtues that the market expresses in listening to the actressâ€™s dialogue offering the attendees the chance to donate coins for the construction of a monument for the victims of capitalism. This act shows us that capitalism has been a historical process that rescues diverse factors that create a multiple complex and contradictory relationship. In this sense the artist has launched a reflection that intends to dialogue regarding how to think about the construction of a monument for those who have suffered the fractures of a political project driven by social agents, 97
ideologues, intellectuals and political leaders belonging to the capital-owning social classes in their most diverse forms. Facing The monument to the victims of capitalism, we understand that the convergence of neoliberalism constructs a series of methodologies under which actions are carried out around the power of money. With this background, and faced with this proposal, we could receive a series of reflections and offer some historical and concrete visions that constitute the unequal imposition of this political model on our lives. Since the appearance of the phonograph, the radio and other technological means of sound reproduction, we can find countless artists who have been interested in creating purely auditory works of art. Many of these works appeal to the idea that sound replaces a particular sensitivity that in some cases what is tangible or twodimensional does not provide. Any work that uses sound as the main vehicle of express can itself articulate an endless number of emotions that could be nestled in poetry. In the case of Fata Morgana, El Cairo landscape by Teresa Solar, the urban murmuring and the music appear inside a sound amplification on the pier. These sounds reproduced in speakers seem like sculptures that summarise the peculiar experiences of this artist within the nooks and crannies of a restless city like El Cairo, Egypt. Itâ€™s evident in observing and going around and around this sound installation, that it also seduces us in qualifying it as a musical instrument, since it becomes an aesthetic object with acoustic qualities. Nevertheless, others could say that it actually is a musical instrument that re-contextualises the space on the pier. Fata morgana, El Cairo landscape surrounds the visitors. It invites them to hear about a public space in which sonority had its complex evolution, generating intangible parallels. Also, in attempting to describe this project I run the risk of demarcating and delimiting the complexity of the sound, alluding that this proposal needs to be continuously questioned so as not to become a work whose construction is defined only based on some technical parameters that in themselves are strictly rigid and plain. So instead we can talk about the abstract relationship between sound and support as a visual element, an aspect that could determine the effects of a work where the audios are the main characters. 99
The proposal of the artist Johannes Pfeiffer succumbs to the objetual and installation space that the pier has created as an expositive laboratory. Based on his vision as an artist, through the work called One way ship, Pfeiffer invites us to enter into the open sea of the unknown. Also, his selection of this part of the pier presumes that he intends for his work to seem like a navigation chart, one that he certainly sets without a fixed course. In looking toward the horizon I can make out part of the sculptural image that passes by the abstraction and that through it gives shape to the margin of the mass, activating the surfaces, as if the work was growing on itself, opening up other spaces. Thatâ€™s why this shape had to be lighter. The other great incorporation in this proposal is movement. We know that many traditional sculptures have not reflected movement. At the beginning of the XX century, the most avant-garde sculptors undid the wrinkled surfaces in order to present positions of a more dynamic figure. But these artists also incorporated volume in order to produce shapes of continuity in space, an aspect that Pfeiffer has included. While this artist activates the visibility of the pier based on the sculpture, One way
ship can also be classified as a sculpture that marks the adventure that closes the return, even though time is lost, even though it doesnâ€™t arrive anywhere, nor are conclusions drawn from the trip, even though there are no results or morals from it. The equilibrium and suspension that this ship generates in front of a broad and moving landscape takes us on a trip that could make us reflect on what is meant by cultural mobility toward other places where you canâ€™t get a return ticket. The aesthetic regimen of the arts is what delinks every specific rule that seeks to understand the visual aspects that contemporary art has been constructing, with some more linked to stop organising topics, modes of reproduction and images in a hierarchy. Under this point of inflection, the artist Bogdan Achimescu interferes with the different rules that could be constructed to justify some images on the same space on the pier. The place in itself is already an urban intervention typical of these mining cities in northern Chile, so the proposal constructed by this artist stirs the imagination among the curatorship of SACO5 and this project called Ermita. Everything we see in Ermita seems like a scathing and critical caricature typical of 101
our time. With a grotesque style, this work tries to immediately capture criticism of personalities and figures with certain ambiguity. That is why associating this proposal directly with the caricatures places us close to a transcendental reality since the effect the caricature has on the capacity of representation is totally real, since it recreates a capacity of reality based on the conception of the aesthetic. The caricaturist mode of representation was not culturally possible before the deep reflection on the visual operations involved in the influence of the manga and comics in contemporary culture. Undoubtedly, these images could be associated with a typically baroque pretension of achieving expressions of character, physiognomy and emotion. The caricature is the result of a process that tends to schematize the forms and a displacement of authenticity toward aspects less obvious than pure perceptive recognition. In the terms of Gombrich, we could argue that Ermita presumes â€œthe theoretical discovery of the difference between what is similar and what is equivalentâ€?.
In determining the effects of SACO5 in this version it would be interesting to study the guidelines that marked its evolution, as a project that emphasizes its exhibition of contemporary art. Certainly, thinking that this exhibition has also been curated to propose new lines of research regarding artistic practice in the emerging city of Antofagasta. However, stopping on the pier and contemplating the proposals of the artists mentioned above, we understand that this exhibition guideline goes far beyond the simple act of placing a pair of works on the same pier. With this way of operating and for all that SACO has configured over the course of the years, since the Group SE VENDE, it has also been necessary to articulate the educational work that has been done with the public. We cannot omit that those impressions, which are now hundreds of thousands, are in the background in this version. The public in SACO5 has been part of the artistsâ€™ story. Moreover, it is these small urban actors who have enormously expanded the view of the others, of the ones who still question the real value of this type of cultural activities and of the contexts that art currently exhibits. Finally, SACO5 has reconsidered its own arguments in order to disseminate contemporary art since without going further, this has been a version that has not left anyone indifferent since it has been very important to confirm that there is a social demand for this type of actions. Also, in understanding the responsibility 104
of the local actors in wagering on and working jointly toward these objectives, we now see in Antofagasta another way of production to disseminate and create content with regard to contemporary art. And if we start from this pier, we will surely have a trip with many landfalls. Rodolfo Andaur Curator
DISPLACEMENT GLOBALISATION AND PRAXIS
DIGGING UP THOSE TOPICS One of the focuses of action of SACO since its beginnings has been to form links in an integrated effort of various disciplines that converge in the field of contemporary art. This has at the same time enabled enriching the view on topics that the encounter addresses each year and to expand its influence beyond the territory. In 2016, international curators, also marked by migration experiences, participated in the selection of some of the guest artists: Marisa Caichiolo, Argentine living in Los Angeles United States, called the Cuban Angel Delgado; Flavia Introzzi, also Argentine, but settled in Madrid, proposed Teresa Solar; while the Pole Krzysztof Gutfranski, who works between his native country and Brazil, proposed Alicja Rogalska. At the same time, the experts collaborated in different stages of the processes of interventions on the Historical Pier, as well as in the dialogues and reflections inside or outside the framework during the days in Antofagasta and also remotely. A record of these voices is in the following essays, where obligatory issues in talking about immigration or what SACO5 was, seem to be neoliberalism, globalisation, decentralisation, a look at the local territory, and the relationships that are established with Antofagasta. The perspective of Marisa Caichiolo plays somewhat between farness and closeness, with the memory of the city she visited in 2012 when she participated as curator in the exhibition Art + Politics + Environment, and with the current encounter the theme of which involves her personally. Although the trip for her was impossible and she could be not be present in Antofagasta during SACO5, her previous work with the artist as well as her own experience of emigrating and the recognition of the place are in her analysis of the proposal by Angel Delgado, Dream destination. Caichiolo recognises in the world’s current migratory problem a “tragedy that confines many to a status of eternal and permanent refugees”. Faced with this unavoidable context, she considers that the Cuban’s work carries out “a kind of healing” by involving the public visualization of an element so personal of the immigrants he visited as a sheet, to be painted with some key word of what the situation of having to live in a foreign country intimately means. More than relaying the theme of immigration, Flavia Introzzi pauses here on the possibilities that SACO opens for relations beyond contemporary art, toward the community and the environment, and how in the local context ISLA, the Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Arte provides a place for artistic residencies and a centre of operations for the organizers, the Group SE VENDE. For the curator it is “an island in the middle of the desert”. There where there is nothing with regard to contemporary art, neither to the north nor hundreds of kilometres to the south (until you reach Valparaiso). This autonomous cultural space, she 111
says, functions as a place of encounter and centre of research, creation and artistic production, a platform for collective learning and social innovation, “the ultimate purpose of which is the encouragement and development of an active and critical public… it’s not in itself to produce works of art, but to generate cultural ecologies, experimental communities, open and collective processes, ways of life and common worlds”. At the same time highlighted within these possibilities is Migratory mourning, a project by Cristian Ochoa that was realised In the framework of, and that involved a photography workshop in collaboration with emigrants from the Chilenos Villa El Sol camp, in Los Arenales sector in the upper northern part of Antofagasta, and an intervention in the public space. Krzysztof Gutfranski in turn stopped in Antofagasta itself, qualified in her text as “the most capitalist city in Chile”, making a historical tour through a territory that since the Incas has probably been a place of immigrations due to its mining potential, even when it is the driest place in the world, with a sort of “turbocapitalism” currently flourishing here in the desert, where the migrations of not only people but also of raw materials and capital also generate the biggest socioeconomic inequalities. This whole framework conditions the work by Alicja Rogalska, The monument to the victims of capitalism, where the curator collaborated in situ. Antofagasta “is a perfect space for commemorating the many fallen victims of capitalism and making them visible, from the nitrate miners wandering through the desert and the prisoners of Chacabuco, to the immigrants from Colombia working like slaves in sweatshops”. So we thought if perhaps the real monument was in the same action proposed for the pier, which conditioned a Colombian immigrant to work for pay, attending to visitors while she asked for money to build a monument that will never be done. Going to the desert, migrating to the waste land, cannot be without a promise, a utopia, easy riches, or at least a better subsistence. The historical relationship between extractism and capitalism has determined a place where maybe we are all foreigners. The uprootedness seems to be a sign of identity, converting Antofagasta into an epitome of the flows that mark a good part of the contemporary world. What place does SACO play in this context? Here at least, thanks to the proposal of the Group SE VENDE to invite others to talk about the topic of immigration and publish it, a desire to investigate the topics that concern us and that nevertheless are not reflected on openly. Carolina Lara
Marisa Caichiolo (1974, Argentina) Artist and curator, she studied Art History and has a Doctorate in Psychology from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA). In 2000 she migrated to Los Angeles, United States, where she formed part of the group of creators and artists of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon, realising two feature films: Rugrats go Wild and The Thornberrys Movie. As a result of her curatorial studies in California (Calarts), in 2005 she established the Building Bridges Art Exchange (BBAX) Foundation, headquartered in the city of Los Angeles. As part of her facet as curator, she has worked for private and governmental institutions, such as the Katara Cultural Centre, Qatar; Museum of Contemporary Art Sharjah, Arab Emirates; Lucie Foundation, Los Angeles; Contemporary Photography Centre, Los Angeles; ICBC Instituto de Cultura de Baja California, Mexico; Palos Verdes Cultural Centre, Palos Verdes; CA, Contemporary Art Centre of the Czech Republic, New York; AMA Museum of the Americas OAE, Washington; as well as in national art fairs within the United States. She has been curator of international biennials: in 2011 in the Contemporary Art Museum of Sharjah, Arab Emirates, and this year the Biennial of Casablanca, Morocco, and came to form part of the Council on Acquisitions and Exhibitions of the MOLAA, Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. www.marisacaichiolo.com
DREAM DESTINATION When I first arrived in Antofagasta (Chile) in 2012, I found a vast territory, a desert full of magic and with an indescribable potential. The air smelled of development, a new platform about to emerge, about to jump to the surface, about to come alive, like a shout in your throat that is about to burst out â€“ sensations that emanated from my interior as part of my participation in that first Contemporary Art Week. When this year, Dagmara Wyskiel sent me the official invitation to participate in SACO again, the first thing that captivated me was the theme chosen for this version. Baptised One way ticket, the proposal explores the migratory issue under different prisms, which has been intrinsic to my personal development, to my career as an artist, and as an international curator. Mine, like millions of individuals from all over the world, has been an existence marked by the symbolism that an immigrant carries on his shoulders and over his shadow day and night, a symbolism that accompanies me on every step of the road, that makes me participate in the facts and events that emerge when I physically, culturally, psychologically and spiritually move to those strange lands that are neither my native Argentina or Los Angeles, my second home since 17 years ago. As an immigrant who one day said good-bye to his country and built a future in another, I have died and have been reborn more than a hundred times. And in each rebirth I live with the reality skin-deep and with the recognition of the â€œotherâ€? in my own skin, I have been able to stay alive. Each sunset and each sunrise have been the sap that have fed me, the sustenance that has driven my steps toward a future that at times became uncertain and far away, and the horizon of which was sometimes hard to clearly make out. And it is the migratory issue, as visceral, current and known as it is in the whole world, which rises today like a tragedy that confines many to a status of eternal and permanent refugees. With that constant beat that feeds my identity as an immigrant, it was an organic and natural process to choose Dream destination, by the Cuban Angel Delgado, as the artistic proposal I wanted to take to SACO 2016. Being able to see his reflection in my own skin and in that of many other immigrants captivated me and instinctively attracted me to his proposal. I recognize first that I have already shared exhibition halls and projects with the artist in the past. But working with him now presented itself as an exceptional opportunity to delve into migratory manifestations under his view. Through 114
his work, Angel investigated the identity of the geographic situation, the detachment and what he himself has experienced in leaving his island, Cuba. His proposal was an intervention not only in the landscape of Antofagasta, but also an internal intervention, within the walls of the symbolic structure that sustains all the weight and pain, the mourning and the needs of immigrants. Itâ€™s a search within their own spaces inviting them to propose words (an internal, private, sacred language) and with those words intervene with their own objects. This way, the artist achieves a closeness, he takes over that language, that history, and that sense, because it is precisely that reality and that active adaptation he has in front of his eyes â€Ś it is his own. The room, the humble house, the sheet metal roof, the destroyed walls become a mirror, a known reality, a reality experienced and in some way reinvented in each tracing he makes on those sheets, on that everyday object with such an emotional charge, with a subjective load; sheets that have the weight of the dreams that remain recorded on them with indelible ink each time the sun comes up and rises solemnly over the line of the horizon. The sheets are seen as the cover that protects the body and the soul during periods of sleep. And those same sheets transfer and pass some of the dreams, secrets and desires from generation to generation. Angel incorporates the everyday into the proposal in order to generate a dialogue on the phase shift existing based on movements, on exiles. In this case, understood as a totally poetic discourse, with a subtle and fragile beauty that was transferred almost like in a migratory process from within the family to the pier. The conceptual framework of this project is interesting, but its symbolism and peculiarity are even more so. The Cuban moves the objects to a port of embarkation and disembarkation, a place that is normally witness to the arrival of the majority of immigrants. The project speaks of a special translation where the artist achieves the return of those words and those dreams that had been left alienated, enclosed in the capsules of time and in the spatial limits demarcated by the place of origin. He therefore carries out a kind of temporal and ludic healing of the process of emotional loss. Neither is it a coincidence that due to a personal matter it has been impossible for me to travel to Chile this year and I have experienced the result of SACO 2016 thousands of kilometres away. My closest everyday situation has obligated me to maintain the distance between my desire to physically be on Chilean land and the artistic events that are occurring there. Perhaps for that reason, the investment of emotions and time I have made in the project feel lighter, and maybe I have compensated for that feeling allowing an incredibly strong phantasmagorical and imaginative load 115
to blossom in my thoughts. My perception, desires, dreams and thoughts remain wrapped in fog and in interminable silence that make me partially understand the reality, although at the same time marked by a touch of magic and certain anguish. But that distance imposed by everyday realities has not impeded observing in a pondering manner how SACO has evolved over time. Each participant brought such an enriching project to ISLA1 for the community as well as for themselves, to be able to understand their journey, the incomplete view of their own life. SACO has bloomed in the middle of the desert as a purely creative space and with such an authentic, pure and genuine search as that of the immigrants who come to work in the mines in search of the riches and stability they dream of. They say that the lotus flower is the only one that blooms in the mud and I believe that in the same way, SACO is growing, opening paths and surprising with its project toward the country’s capital, challenging the artistic decentralisation process with daring and mischievousness. SACO is now a “dream destination”. For me too. Marisa Caichiolo Curator and director, Building Bridges Art Exchange Los Angeles
Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Arte and Residencies Centre created by the Group SE VENDE in 2016.
Flavia Introzzi (1977, Argentina) Cultural producer settled in Madrid since 2007. Degreed in Sociology of Culture from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Master in Cultural Management from the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid, and in Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Universidad Complutense of Madrid and Universidad Autónoma of Madrid. In her professional practice she has focused on the conceptualisation and development of projects of cooperation, research, commission and mediation, carried out in their majority in Spain and Latin America. She has collaborated with public institutions (Intermediae - Matadero Madrid, Fundación Carolina y Casa del Lector), as well as with private international organizations (Factum Arte) and independent initiatives such as the contemporary art space Off Limits (Madrid), of which she was responsible for the contents for three years. In 2015, she joined hablarenarte, a recognised projects platform based in Madrid that works in supporting the creation, diffusion and promotion of contemporary culture, mainly focused on the visual arts. She is responsible for the conceptualisation and coordination of projects such as Curators’ Network and a3bandas. She also works in creating networks and alliances of collaboration at a national and international level. Highlighted among her recent independent projects is the commission of the Centennial Collection of the Spanish Oceanographic Institute. www.hablarenarte.com www.curatorsnetwork.eu 117
EXPERIENCES ON AN ISLAND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT Close to the Tropic of Capricorn and looking out over the Pacific Ocean there is an island in the middle of the desert. Like an optical illusion, ISLA rises as an experimental community in the middle of the desert, a wasteland, not geographic, but rather a socio-political and cultural erosion that has abandoned this land and its community to the neglect of any institutional artistic and cultural support. The vacuity is evident, the nearest centre of artistic studies is more than a thousand kilometres away and the same is true of an exhibitions centre. A desolate landscape at first. But it is precisely in these contexts of neglect, adversity and vacuity, there where there is no type of institutional support, where the most authentic and vital cultural initiatives and non-profit organizations with strong public vocation arise. Undertakings that are born from civil society, really essential for the development of plural, intercultural, transdisciplinary and decentralised visions. That is how ISLA (Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Arte) was born, as an optic mirror that invites us to move toward a utopic future, understanding utopia as a non-existent place that serves to critique and transform the present. As part of SACO5, for 10 days I had the opportunity to be part of this experience of exchange and transmission of knowledge and practices in a framework of conviviality and sociability, along with other national and foreign curators and artists. The first inevitable question that surfaced was why SACO, Contemporary Art Week, if actually the international encounter widely exceeds seven days, brushing against three months, with a great concentration of activities that range from site-specific exhibitions, workshops in other cities of the region, talks with artists in schools and research residencies in the middle of the desert, among other proposalsâ€Ś ISLA is the spatial physical manifestation of this overflowing that SACO involves where works-events are not set out to attract spectators but rather are the result of contexts of research and collective learning that ideally evolve into open air laboratories. After my stay I must admit that what is produced there is above all links and connections, making those connections and absences visible, and interrogation regarding what is connected. It is not common, nor is it little. My initial interest in participating in this initiative was due to a personal curiosity about artistic practices in a territory on the margin of the hegemonic art circuits as well as the fascination with a territory as legendary as the Atacama Desert. The experience more than exceeded the two initial incentives. Mainly because it once again confirmed that based on global proposals, such as the curatorial theme on 118
immigration in the current version, you can act locally on the reality of a closer environment and linked to the surrounding community. A genuine example of that is Migratory mourning, an intervention in the public space that was directed by the photographer from Antofagasta, Cristian Ochoa, after the photography workshop held in collaboration with emigrants from the Chilenos Villa El Sol camp, located in Los Arenales sector in the northern part of the regional capital1. This challenge, linked with the local community, cannot be lost sight of, and is without a doubt one of the crucial traits in a project of these characteristics like SACO. Its international projection would not make sense if not for its objective of referencing and dialoguing with the situation of the regional and local society. In that regard, it should be remembered that it is globalisation itself, and how it is manifested in the cultural sphere, that in addition to homogenising and hybridising, also generates responses in terms of heterogeneity, strengthening and revitalisation of regional and local identities. This is the case of SACO. If thinking about an island is entering into what is local, it is undoubtedly also entering into decentralising. SACO is a model guaranteed by the decentralisation process that is currently beginning in some regions of the world while at the same time is being consolidated in others. While it emerges as a need faced with the demands of global changes in progress that tend toward homogenization, it is no less true that on the way, in running into local ways of doing and thinking, it is strengthened and can end up expressing a combination of global and regional, and once again, local. ISLA, as a physical place and headquarters, demonstrates once more that the initiatives of production, management, circulation, and legitimation started up by artists have been able to constitute themselves beyond a trend. It is no longer about local or isolated cases but rather of a clearly consolidated phenomenon. These autonomous cultural spaces act as nodes, places of encounter that stimulate the generation of ideas and initiatives. They are laboratories of artistic research, creation and production, in addition to platforms of collective learning and social innovation, the ultimate objective of which is the encouragement and development of an active and critical public. The ulterior objective is not in itself to produce works of art, but to generate cultural ecologies, experimental communities, open and collective processes, and common ways of life and worlds. If we visualise a utopic future for this context, as we mentioned at the start of the text, it would surely be linked to the formation of networks based on this first remote and founding experience. The constitution of experimental societies based on the â€œtechnology of friendshipâ€?2, that includes artists as well as non-artists,
This project was carried out in early August In the framework of SACO5, see page 148. Roberto, Jacoby (2011): Desire rises from collapse. Buenos Aires, Adriana Hidalgo editor.
scenarios of encounter, exchange and sociability among cultural agents, groups and even other networks. The network as an emerging paradigm, where there is no stability, but rather nodes in ongoing connection and disconnection that generate new forms of individualization. In the end, we no longer define ourselves by belonging to some structures that are increasingly more lax, but rather by the connection to networks and projects. In this sense, ISLA is a micro-utopia. It indicates something that possesses existence even though it is discontinuous, small, ephemeral, isolated. A device that contains relational and processual spaces and times that are seated on non-continuous materiality and heterogeneous means. It opens channels of communication between experts and non-experts, it produces border objects, articulates centralised and decentralised forms, gives rise to the formation of sustained cultural ecologies, and hypothetical, debatable configurations. Based on that, miraculous pipe-dreams can occur, which even though they last for five minutes can then be infinitely expanded in the imagination. Definitively, the pressing illusion that the island evolves into an archipelago. Flavia Introzzi Cultural manager and curator, member of hablarenarte
Krzysztof Gutfranski (1982, Polonia) Curator and artist/researcher who lives and works between Toruń (Poland) and Bello Horizonte (Brazil). His contextual research practice incorporates and combines problems of social commitment, policies in the area of nutrition, urban metabolism and various aspects of systemic transformations in economies in development. He has worked in the curatorial department of institutions such as CoCA in Toruń, the Zachęta National Art Gallery and CCA (Centre for Contemporary Art) in Warsaw, and as researcher/editor for Polish and Brazilian organizations. His commissioned projects include Game of States in Pictogram / BLA, Warsaw (2013), and in the Palais de Tokio, Paris (2015); the main exhibition, Pyroerotomachy, in the 8th Biennial of Photography held by the Arsenał Gallery, Poznań (2013); and the public program for Estudio+Cocina, an experience and learning space for CoCA, Toruń (2011-2009). From 2011 to 2015 he was editor-in-chief of the Alternative Festival for the Wyspa Art Institute in Gdańsk and currently of the magazine Obieg for CCA; and participated in several research trips and artistic residences for Río de Janeiro (CIMAM), Bello Horizonte (JA.CA – Art and Technology Centre), New Delhi (Khoj), Antofagasta (Contemporary Art Week, SACO) and Tbilisi (CCA). Since 2011 he has been in various forms of artistic research-inaction focused on economies in development. Recently he attended a curatorial residency program directed by Residency Unlimited, New York. www.gutfranski.com
Welcome to the desert of the real! Do places that are completely separated from their surroundings exist? It’s difficult to clearly determine. Available descriptions either focus on completely isolated places or places that gradually absorb everything around them, be it a prison, an island, a desert, a garden city or a heterotopia. What these descriptions lack, though, is a precise definition of this relation. Discussion about blurring boundaries and nation states looks much the same. Progressive theories suggest that everything that made up the difference between a place and its surroundings – like the specific character of local work – might be almost entirely a thing of the past. According to this vision, we live, always mobile, active and connected 24/7, ready for any change that the current of global capital may bring. But this vision is only affordable for some; somewhere nearby both life and the understanding of a place and its surroundings may look quite different. William Gibson wrote: “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” The geography of today consists of avant-garde global cities on one hand and a huge peripheral area on the other. Disproportion between these two makes it possible to find places that are connected to the global markets, but still radically influenced by their own surroundings. One of these places, one that emerges after a short period of prosperity, is Antofagasta in northern Chile – a mirage of its geological past. In Quechua it’s a place of hidden copper. Scholars describe Antofagasta as “the most capitalist” city in Chile. It’s not difficult to guess it has a lot to do with the mining industry. It’s home to the oldest mine in South America, and is presently one of the wealthiest and fastest growing regions in the country, thanks to Atacama’s rich mineral ores: copper, lithium, molybdenum, and to an earlier saltpetre fever. It’s a city of success, highest incomes, great expectations, an El Dorado of eternal resource hunger, as well as a place of rivalry and inequality of epic proportions. The spirit of the mine – of discovery, transportation, of hiding again – and the feeling of a medieval factory are both present here, making it so that nothing is free and there is a price for everything. Life in Antofagasta is the definition of desert turbo-capitalism. From Antofagasta’s perspective the desert exists in at least a couple of aspects. As a geographical fact – the city borders the driest place on Earth, full of minerals. Atacama is an all-encompassing hyperstructure, which completely takes over imagination with its tactility. Atacama is the zero level of (re) privatisation, a recursive reference point for countless astronomers of the inside – for hermits who challenge themselves; for greedy conquistadors; for scientists, risking their lives; for Chilean saltpetre lords; for Pinochet’s prisoners and today’s tourists. The desert, as seen from Antofagasta, is the biblical wild; 122
this narration, consistent with so called chilenization of Atacama, describes the desert as uninhabited and its ores as waiting for the right time to be exploited. It’s the work, invested directly in taming nature, that validates mining profits. The moment Atacama was industrialised is also the time when negative emotions (certainly not mandated by its unwelcoming character) begun to be projected on it. As Jean Baudrillard wrote – welcome to the desert of the real! Ona way ticket What – besides mineral ore – is most important for Antofagasta’s dominant surroundings? It’s hard not to notice that long before the city existed, the desert was a place of migration, of dynamic flow of people, ideas, raw material and capital. It was the business acumen of the Inca that first lead to the exploitation of Atacama’s resources. From the 19th century onwards the local industry has been shaped by cycles of mineral extraction, particularly saltpetre and copper. The exclusive control over saltpetre mining was one of the main reasons for the War of the Pacific (1879–1883) in which Chile annexed Atacama from Bolivia and Peru. Its nitrate quickly conquered the world market of fertilizers. Conflict with Chile’s neighbours lasted until 1929, but the real trouble was brewing inside its borders. A struggle between proponents of nationalization versus those who favored privatization lead to civil turmoil in the 1960s and 1970s that culminated in the coup de etat of 1973. A military dictatorship that coupled cronyism with genocide resulted in the mining sector being gradually re-privatized by big companies in the 1990s. The race for resources in Atacama, from guano to nitrates, from copper to lithium, resulted in environmental contamination and in the dispossession of indigenous Aymara and Atacamenios people. The Aymara and Atacamenios, as well as exotic guests like Ignacy Domeyko (a Pole and the “father of Chilean geology”), were up to now the only immigrants to the city. But thanks to the economic boom, in recent years Antofagasta has become home to many “strangers”, immigrants from Dominican Republic, Paraguay and Colombia. Social inequality and negative attitudes towards black immigrants confirm that, despite Pinochet’s fall and changes in political orientation, neoliberal doctrine in Chile remains strong. Chile was first (and most radical) in implementing it; a testing ground, that paved the way for Thatcher’s reforms in the UK, Reagan’s in USA and for Polish “shock therapy”. This country is the avantgarde of capitalism, and Antofagasta itself, with its desert turbo-capitalism, makes a perfect space to commemorate the many demeaned victims of capitalism and to make them visible – from saltpetre miners wandering through the desert and Chacabuco’s prisoners to Colombian immigrants slaving away in sweatshops. Monument to the Victims of Capitalism is a speculation that invites reflection 123
on the scale of sacrifice which the system requires of us. From the desert to the ocean, the project of the memorial in Antofagasta will show a human standing above the compelling force of money. Krzysztof Gutfranski Curator and Researcher
AT THE SECONDARY SCHOOL
EDUCATIVE DIALOGUES AND APPROACHES The SACO5 cycle of conferences and discussions between artists and municipal educational institutes in the region of Antofagasta arises from the need and the actions that the Group SE VENDE has had over time, finding that artistic education is a fundamental need in the development of visual arts at a local level in Antofagasta, with a focus and contribution to the area on a national level. So, since the creation of SACO, the project has included artistic education programs and actions focused at different times on children and young people, artists in formation, students in municipal establishments and teachers from the area, evidencing both the territorial and professional need for the development of visual creation and the formation of a new scene, thereby expanding the working tools, qualitatively professionalising and enriching the work in the classroom. The current project of mediation and linkage with municipal schools of the region is therefore the result of a long-term effort, started in 2012, being in particular the natural demand and commitment to the schools that participated in SACO4, a version completely dedicated to artistic education in Latin America, with guest artists-teachers in charge of workshops. The need to include and carry out an educative program in SACO comes also from the conception that the central topics, in this case migration, are fundamental sources for approaching critical thought and the vision that exists behind the works created based on the personal stories of the guests at the different versions. In each of the six sessions of conferences held this year in municipal educational institutions from the region of Antofagasta, a close link was conditioned between art and education, with emphasis on cultural mediation as a tool of access in the artistic area. So all the six artists participating in this fifth version of SACO held conferences in different schools with prior coordination, to invite students to attend and dialogue in the discussions about art languages and mainly about the contents that referred to emigration, with its constant quotations or critiques from art. All this in Tocopilla, Mejillones and Antofagasta, along with important artists from the international scene. Paula Quintela: What is the relationship between a teapot and a pillow? 19 August 2016 The first session of the conference cycle was held in the Superior Institute of Commerce of Antofagasta, before a hundred high school students ages 14 to 16 who were attentively discovering the exhibition of Paula Quintela, an authorial 129
work marked by a family history reconstructed in the course of the various moves that the artist described in the context of her presentation. Bugs, insects, old objects and a talking mermaid caused anxiousness among the students, who between the charm and their interest found out about the dossier and the work In transit, mounted on the Historical Pier. After 45 minutes of photographic illustrations, the space was opened for exchanging ideas. The students from this classical Antofagasta school asked about when and how they could express their thoughts in an artistic manner. Quintela explained the importance of developing critical and creative capabilities, pointing out that motivations and feelings were absolutely valid in their lives. Angel Delgado: Art in extreme conditions 19 August 2016 Taking rebelliousness to the classroom doesnâ€™t occur often; however with Angel Delgado there was an exception. In this context, the Cuban exhibitor told the first and second year high school students from the Juan JosĂŠ Latorre Benavente Educational Complex of Mejillones about the political situation in his country of origin and the history that would lead him to adopt a meaningful, adaptable and spontaneous work method. Subsequently, Delgado provided an introductory framework about the multiplicity of artistic proposals existing on the international scene, emphasizing the power of the message and the content of contemporary art. As has occurred before, at the time of closing, the students who were completely immersed in the discourse presented, highlighted the relationship between the private life and the central aspects of the artistâ€™s career. Also seen in the conference were the influences of the social world and the current political response to art. On that point it was affirmed, due to its reflexive sense, that art cannot exclude the participation of immigrates, minority cultures, and people with other abilities.
Teresa Solar: Tour of the landscape â€“ between the image and the imaginary 22 August 2016 The landscape seems to be shown and outdone in the record of details and different drawings of El Cairo, Egypt, when Teresa Solar decided to travel to that city somewhat hostile for visitors and immerse herself in an energetic landscape among ledges, rooftops, mirages and views that are part of the video art Al Haggara, which in the form of a documentary traces the days she travelled in El Cairo along with her family and local customs. In the Domingo Latrille Lastaunou High School of Tocopilla, emigrant children accompanied the artist along with the curator Flavia Introzzi (Argentina / Spain), who also spoke about the experience and phenomenon of emigration and the intimate memories built by words of connection. At one point the students asked the artist about the need to return to the land of her mother and ancestors, and why she had gone back to reconfigure that history. The artist responded that in order to configure the present she had to be clear about the past, so her work addressed emigration from the family foundations thereby constructing a personal story derived from social experiences recognizable to everyone.
The conference was an opportunity for conversation and linking; for reflecting on a topic that passed through languages and situations common to the emigrant experience of a large number of the students present. Alicja Rogalska: Public Art and Monuments Agency 23 August 2016 In the Domingo Herrera High School of Antofagasta, Alicja Rogalska, the Polish artist residing in London, along with Dagmara Wyskiel, director of SACO, presented the conference Public Art & Monuments Agency, where Rogalska asked around 90 students, emigrants and Chileans, the question, do you know what a performance is? After dialoguing with the students in that regard, Rogalska went over her works, explaining the importance of the process, showing for example, a register in which the public was asked to deposit tears in a test tube in a museum in Europe, or to record the singing of Polish farmers in a touching symphony, perceptible even in the differentiation of language. This way, the artist introduced a sensitive and at the same time witty soundtrack. After reviewing the stories contained in the works, the artist dialogued, always with translation help from Dagmara Wyskiel, SACO director, regarding the 132
importance of the process, of making what happens visible in order to understand both the work and its meaning. Bogdan Achimescu: Survival with art 22 August 2016 In the conference held in La Chimba Humanist Scientific School of Antofagasta, Achimescu showed a series of projects, all crossed by an obsession that was translated in which the artist invited the students to always draw, as a completely imperative exercise in the process of creation and self-recognition. The students got to know the artistâ€™s creative development and the particular vision of being a migrant. Exemplifying through analysis and the contents of the works exhibited in libraries, churches or on city corners, Achimescu invited the educational community to formulate new ways of showing the results of work, leaving the typical spaces in order to reach different expositive mechanisms. Later, almost at the close of the conference, when it was time for questions, a 17year old, located in the upper part of the auditorium, asked for advice in gaining
inspiration, saying that at times she doubted it, given that sometimes she didn’t find the key that would open the door to “the perfect work”. Right away the question worried the attending public. After Wyskiel translated the question for Achimescu, he confessed that part of the inspiration and the results of the drawing, for example, pertained to an ideal, but that this came more from constant, meticulous work, from practice and from the commitment to the personal path that the majority of the time was never able to be fully understood. Johannes Pfeiffer: Land art and environmental installations 22 August 2016 Unexpectedly, the SACO5 conference team was intercepted by a group of students who during their recess started to form a circle to the rhythm of hip hop. With phrasing, rhymes and jokes, the young people described the boredom caused by the daily routine, their rejection of educational authorities, and the lack of spaces for creation and self-awareness. In this lively manner, La Portada High School of Antofagasta received Johannes Pfeiffer, who started a translated
conversation with multiple supports from third-year high school students from the establishment. While some historical aspects of the second half of the XX century were reviewed and the link between art and the natural and urban landscape, a collective question was triggered that was key in the discussion that came later: how does art affect history? With the intention of introducing and encouraging artistic education in the classroom and in its learning environment, the conference contributed to the integrating activity, given that Johannes, being a powerful yet very generous, simple and open artist, moved the students, telling them that art has helped him express his feelings and qualities, and that in general, without it, there would be no record of many historical events at a worldwide level, and we would not be able to understand certain aspects of reality. Various teachers also attended the artistâ€™s exhibition, grateful for the space that was transformed into an attractive transmission of knowledge. With this, it is expected that certain exercises can be adapted to the concrete context of the school, connecting with the core topics being experienced today, such as migration, integration and diversity - issues that are fundamental to the development of the students and of the entire educational community. Gonzalo Medina Francisco Vergara Journalists
IN THE FRAMEWORK OF SACO5
OVERFLOWING THE FRAME The zone In the framework of extended in SACO5 from late July, when Rodolfo Andaur came to ISLA with Image, images and diatribes – two intense knowledge transfer sessions, until early November, shared by eleven local artists with Oscar Concha, seduced to move from Concepción to Ayquina to investigate the territory of the high plateau. Inaugurated on the 31st of March this year, in this version the Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Arte fulfilled a key and transversal role as centre of operations, a place for residencies and an educational space. At General Lagos 0874 in Antofagasta, In the framework of SACO5 included: a collaborator video workshop by Carlos Silva; a review of portfolios with Angie Saiz; colloquium with Rodolfo Andaur; MAVI – SACO collaboration agreements; the first stage of each of the three research workshops Deserts Intervened with Bogdan Achimescu, Guisela Munita and Oscar Concha; a discussion on the processes of production of a work by Gonzalo Contreras; technical, conceptual and emotional preparations for an intensive residency in The Driest Place in the World by Teresa Solar and Bogdan Achimescu; and an encounter of the local scene with the work interwoven with the lives of emigrants, by Melanie Garland. Outside of what was included in the official program, no less important were meetings, planning, schematics, diagrams and notes, social encounters, discussions, and interviews, all crossed with lunches, dinners, barbecues, teas, coffees and drinks, where some ideas were born while others were already materialising. Having your own space is impossible to measure – it would seem like an obvious reflection, but in experiencing it, it becomes a revelation. In ISLA we designed the alliance between FAXXI and SACO that we hope will enable connecting emergent creators from the north with collectors and the art market, something that doesn’t exist in the regions. What we seek to do together is to generate networks, bonds, and connections, strengthen selfmanagement, promote little-known artists, make their works visible and give new breath to the national panorama. From ISLA we left with Cristian Ochoa on a bus up the hill to the edge of what was accessible for self-construction, and shared Migratory mourning with the Colombian community, a photographic exhibition located on a dirt field, composed of images made by young immigrants during a few weeks of a workshop and posted on the walls of the camp. On Sunday afternoon, the 7th of August, it became an authentic multicultural encounter, with Peruvian, Bolivian and Colombian food and dances. Two days before, with Angie Saiz, we took over the pier for the first time. Video art on the sea, on a pleasant winter evening with no wind, like those you only find in northern Chile, plus the visual and auditory distance from the noise of the city that 139
was expanded by moving out on the patrimonial strip of wood leaving solid ground behind. All this converted Astrolab into a work in itself, a multi-sensorial experience for all those who were in it. Meanwhile, based on the distance from the coastal highway, audio visual works by eight artists seemed like some exotic beauties, completely hermetic, that nonetheless attracted the nocturnal passers-by. The tetrapods protect the coastline from dangerous waves that countless times have been destructive for the coastal infrastructure. Recognisable volumes of cement safeguard Chileansâ€™ tranquillity. The polished shapes themselves with used toys looked loud-coloured, playful, and attractive. The children climbed up on them, couples took selfies, and local journalists made notes on the unusual exhibition. Thanks to the MAVI â€“ SACO alliance, three examples of the work of Gonzalo Contreras (MAVI / Minera Escondida Youth Art Winner 2014), were placed in the Chilean Post Office Building and the Regional Library in Antofagasta. Without a doubt it was the work that was seen the most in SACO5 and could be the one that contains a more bitter reflection. Thousands of containers of wastes from the first world arrive in the Iquique duty free zone each year. Behind the chromatic and sculptural attractiveness of the work of the artist from Iquique, there underlies the latent question, what are really the most dangerous waves for these coasts? The day of the inauguration of SACO5 and the launching of the XI MAVI / Minera Escondida Contemporary Art Youth Award, thirty of us artists, curators, journalists, production team and guests travelled to Quillagua, to perform, as always, the symbolic closure of the intensive production and linking residency. This time, after spending two days in the territory, 29 participants returned to Antofagasta. Bogdan Achimescu remained trapped by The Driest Place in the World. He decided to start his solitary residency immediately. Three days later the eremite Teresa Solar joined this experience. From there, four days walking together, seeming like an errant mirage at times when the sun stops any movement. With the cameraman and the producer, we went about our duties silently and as little invasively as possible, as if were a spiritual retreat instead of an artistic residency Some weeks later we again travelled to Quillagua, this time with Guisela Munita and a group of participants from the workshop Deserts Intervened. The methodology of four days of work in ISLA and three in situ was also carried out (the methodology) with Bogdan Achimescu in Caleta Paposo and with Oscar Concha in Ayquina. This program of a School without school, an educational space of the institute, pointed at knowledge of the territory itself through theoretical and practical research, concluded with a production exercise in situ. The deserts of the coast, the pampa and the high plateau were co-authors of ephemeral interventions, surprisingly correct in some cases and in others converted into stern teachers of humility faced with this territory, and with nature. We returned to El Bosque camp, where the hill curves upward, offering a privileged 140
view toward “the Dubai of Latin America”. This time, Cristian Ochoa (Migratory mourning) participated as mediator in the first approach between Melanie Garland and the immigrants. From Calais, the Syrian refugee camp in France better known as the jungle, and Berlin, the Chilean artist living in Germany brought her work experience to Antofagasta. Letters from Latin immigrants from Europe with testimonies of experiences, histories and feelings, were provided and read by their peers in the occupied site. In several cases, a few written works by someone unknown caused feelings of closeness and moved people by how similar it was to what they experienced. Some people invited by Melanie wrote their letters for others like them, in other parts of the world. This plot of actions does not have a target. It constructs a heterogeneous weave that is sometimes very dense and stretched, other times with the threads barely touching. The mesh in the local arch is composed of self-taught photographers, immigrants, journalists in search of new sources, artists by conviction and insistence, and others to get away from something, innate producers, guards, natives and mestizos from remote pueblos in the Atacama Desert, public officials, social assistants, paramedics, designers, and the globe’s casual and curious public. Playing as visitors were Chileans from Arica, Iquique, Santiago, Valparaíso, Concepción and Berlin, an art fair and museum from the capital, representatives from Spain and Poland. A friendly, intense and enriching encounter, for both parties. Dagmara Wyskiel
IMAGE, IMAGES AND DIATRIBES In practicing curatorship, every so often it is necessary to tie up some activities that reactivate its critical exercise. Nevertheless, faced with the scene exhibited by contemporary art and the scarce analysis of the curatorial practice, it would be complicated to create accurate reflections regarding the trends we can gather from the current artistic field. On the other hand, it is possible to clarify that both curators and visual artists generate a constant practice that should be questioned in order to decipher different processes and actions, whether they be within institutionalised structures or in spaces with a more alternative rigor and appearance. With these precepts and faced with the panorama that appears on some art scenes all over Chile, it is essential to dialogue regarding the judgements that visual artists have with images. In this case we are referring to images that have been catalogued by the history of art, but that have not been exposed only in order to create a reasonable reflection about what we observe. Images such as those created by Candido Portinari, LeĂłn Ferrari, Cildo Meireles or Jeff Wall, proposed a space in Antofagasta for analysis and discussion under the context of Image, images and diatribes, which invited visual artists, architects, designers, and art professors, among others, to share the dialogues with emblematic works. This space for reflection captivated the attendees since they could simply reflect on the hundreds of images that they hadnâ€™t been able to see or re-study from their constant practices. At the same time, this seminar proposed a constant review of what happens in the artistic and curatorial practice in different exhibition spaces, mainly in Latin America. Also, under the context of SACO5 and the constant work to design a platform within the region for collective education regarding contemporary art, it is essential that these spaces also open up processes of critical thinking and debate about what we perceive regarding the creation of images and works.
Certainly, for this group that has participated enthusiastically in Image, images and diatribes, we have experienced our opinions together in an interesting space for meticulous study that not only leads to understanding the work of the artists but also their territories and conflicts with the image they have created. Rodolfo Andaur Curator
ASTROLAB_LINE AND PROGRESSION Antofagasta. From the pier, the line of the horizon seems closer. From land, often those lines that separate here from there, now from later, the landscape of abstraction and the resonances of what is created, are superimposed on the paths that collective dialogues can entwine. The video show Astrolab reflects the phenomenon of reflecting on that line that more than being romantic and encouraging about the future, is a constant question, a personal questioning regarding the place, belonging, exploring, and the distances that still separate us despite globalisation. And if that clichĂŠ about travel and the journey had once again become current, not for the travel and the journey but for the from and the to where? The question is raised for those who themselves at the same time keep one foot in the now and the other in the before or after, in some way. This duality, stable in its constancy and undefined in its objectives many times functions in an ontological manner, as if asking about being and going were no longer the motive but rather the initiation experience perhaps of wandering lost, or of one who tries at least to become a little more lost. The anxious need for control over what is to come and even of the past in the evasive amnesia of the everyday, distances us from the practices of non-
dominated moves; the points of reference, the image of the goal, the mark on the route and today more than ever, the records of all that, are far from the creation of ungrounded milestones, those that do not need more than their own experience to be installed as a motive, since perhaps, as Anton Alberts would say, “culture starts where what is useful ends”, if it is what the state of everything requires as necessary grounds. In this context the need for location functions as an ever present antagonist force, at any scale and under any circumstance, after unconscious ruminant thoughts that also require where, and also hand in hand, why we are or we go. In the past, the astrolabe (from the Greek ἀστρολάβιον, astrolab) determined the position of the stars in the firmament, a kind of star searcher used by navigators, astronomers and scientists, the main instrument of navigation until the invention of the sextant in 1750. A few centuries later, we are not far from that need for searching, looking toward other places outside the map and digital GPS, of going beyond the possibilities of the wandering sidestepping and rotating 90° toward the sky, understanding that the extension of what we assume that moving means starts and finally ends with a non-quantifiable experience where going can be transformed into a state of psychic mutation and restlessness, in a new view. Astrolab brings together a group of artists who work on the production of audio visual pieces regarding the search for identity, the trip, the exportation of what is personal, based on errant and dislocating migratory experiences. Creation based on operations of transit, the return and the need for change and exploration, of one’s own as well as the “other world”, results of the natural human condition in an increasingly dialectical context. The works expressed are inscribed in foreign lands of unpredictable and unlimited migratory experiences. In The reflection in my eye, Francisco Huichaqueo records his experience in a Paiwanes ancestral marriage ceremony in the indigenous community of Wan An (city of Fangliao, Taiwan); and in Horizon, Enrique Ramírez narrates the possibility of finding another place to cross over and be able to see a migratory reflection from the other side based on a symbolic gesture of throwing a house into the sea. Although they seem dissimilar, both works provide an open vision of the imagination that is sustained based on otherness, understanding what is far away as a space capable of producing a sensitive encounter, link and 145
displacement, beyond the crossing that is made. The pieces Call, by Loreto González , Nothing, where I am included as an artist, in addition to the curatorial work, and Grow eyelashes, by María José Rojas , realize more internal processes of searching; the first in the suggestion of exploitation of resources empowered by foreigners as an excuse for the question of listening to oneself; the second, on the time and compilation of sentiments after a travel experience converts events into metaphors; and the third subjectivises the notions of deja vú, of lossabandonment versus search-encounter, and those interstices that end in nothing. From another place, in Exercises to distract the view, Andrés Duran works on manipulating the urban scenario of normal traffic, exacerbating its characteristics and leaving a constant doubt between real and fictitious, linking itself with how Dagmara Wyskiel, in Mixed Game installs a cross with that question, a work that is also articulated as a platform for extended reflections on resources that are diluted, aesthetic fantasies and interpolating landscapes in the personification of dominion turned object at the same time. Finally, Carlos Silva, going outside the format in projection that the set of videos presents, intervenes in the pier itself with the poetic and contemplative image of a possible current National Geographic, underlining the view on the ways of occupying animal settlements in the middle of urban contexts as life reflections of human-animal collectivism.
The experience of the first of the showings – the exhibition outdoors on the Historical Pier of Antofagasta, fed that latent interest of encounter and dialogue between artistic production and a different other; expanding and weaving its vision beyond the medium of the visual arts. From their multiple field of action and interest, the spectators who gathered to see the set of works feed the reflection on the themes set out, a public that thanks to their diversity of activities provides a view and reading open to other ideas, nourishing the start of the journey that this curatorship realises. After participating in In the framework of SACO5, Astrolab is being exhibited in the front of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC) in Santiago, in the Punto de Cultura Federico Ramírez of the Municipality of Concepción and in the Museo de Arte Moderno (MAM) of Chiloé, in Castro, during 2016. The project has been self-financed and carried out thanks to support from the Group SE VENDE, ISLA (Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Arte), the Historical Pier of Antofagasta, Cine en tu Cancha, Anilla Cultural, MAC, Punto de Cultura Federico Ramírez of the Municipality of Concepción and MAM; and thanks to Carolina Lara, Dagmara Wyskiel, Christian Núñez, Alessandra Burotto, Coca González, Pamela Canales, Francisco Vergara, Carmé Berenguer and the guest artists.
Angie Saiz Curator and visual artist
MIGRATORY MOURNING: INTERCULTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP A look at migration, based on the mourning that originates at the parting, and each individual’s need for vindication, is the proposal that brought together over twenty young people age 15 to 29, coming from Peru Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. All of them are residents of one of the camps in Los Arenales sector of the city of Antofagasta, with common experiences regarding their migratory history and with the urgency of empowerment of the territory they inhabit. Delving into their stories enabled me to reconstruct my own as an internal migrant. A large number of the fathers left for Chile alone, working for several years until they were able to establish themselves and then move their families. The only way was by illegally occupying lands, due to the excessively high costs in the city, denominated “the Dubai of Latin America”. So they settled in initially uninhabitable territories, sectors with rubble and garbage, giving them life by establishing a community. The workshop consisted of eight classes in which the students got to know and experimented with various photographic techniques, among them steinopeics, using
coffee cans to do takes of their territory. They also worked with digital photography, using cell phones to record their environment and most intimate personal circle. Finally, they looked into their family albums, in search of personal files, images of relatives, friends and experiences that they left behind in their lands of origin. The joint reflective and creative processes resulted in a photographic intervention in the public space of the field of the Chilenos Villa El Sol camp. A trip inside the lives of the young participants. This exhibition, in a scenario so every day and natural for its protagonists, could be appreciated by the neighbours from the sector who nostalgically enjoyed not only the photographs but also the drawings, phrases and dedications for their distant families. Photography became an instrument of realisation for mourning that was invisible and made invisible. A way of taking charge, through art, of a process typical of the human condition, which enables us to create intercultural spaces, incorporating the cultural richness of those who now inhabit this arid landscape.
Cristian Ochoa Photographer and manager of the workshop Migratory mourning
TETRAPODS AND THE MAVI / YOUTH ART AWARD In this nutritive alliance between MAVI and SACO, we have been able to bring Tetrapods by Gonzalo Contreras. A sculptor of impeccable skill, winner of the MAVI / Youth Art Award in 2014, he exhibits a work owing to pop culture that confronts us with apparatus derived from current use, with a slight wink to our throwaway society. It surprises. Placed in Antofagasta, in central places such as the Library and the Post Office, not very accustomed to housing contemporary art, the Tetrapods produced from resins and discarded toys, attract the attention of passers-by, inviting them to come closer, I believe with certain caution, which is normal when pieces like this are involved. Countless toys that were disposed of are mixed together in a relation where there are no hierarchies or apparent order, rather they simply act as witnesses of abandonment, contained by correct geometric structures in contradiction to the apparent chaos inside. Talking with Gonzalo Contreras about the selection of the material to make the tetrapods, he told me that in is trade as a sculptor he tends to look around him to choose the subject matter of his works, and in finding the noble stones so far away from where he needed them, he took what he had close in his native city of Arica. So he found bales and bales of discarded toys that finally formed the centre of the operation defined around the throwaway culture. The perfect use of the stone that has been his trademark is combined in his first works in order to unsettle the spectator with an imagery distant from the standard noble materials. In his Tetrapods he confronts us this time based on materials and techniques that do refer to the popular world, but in a condition that distorts them. Enormous structures that we tend to see in northern cities fabricated in cement, are lightened in order to invite us to look at a content that we observe with curiosity and some suspicion. Strange and familiar at the same time, the exact Tetrapods question and cause a strange discomfort from inside the society of the ephemeral. The same situation occurs with SACO5, where the works that take over the cityâ€™s Historical Pier question the spectators, causing them to make a more in-depth observation. And it is here where the will of MAVI and SACO are combined, in the perseverance to provide even the unknowing public with multiple possibilities for accessing a different perception through contemporary art. MarĂa Irene Alcalde MAVI Collection Curator
TAKE THE WORK TO THE STREET It is an honour to be able to be part of the SACO5 project and I am very grateful for the invitation. They have been doing a great job in the region of Antofagasta, each year growing and carrying out the most interesting and very high level artists’ proposals. I am happy to be able to participate in the SACO5 project. I must thank MAVI for betting on me and for its collaboration in doing what is necessary for the works to be in Antofagasta. Within what is happening in projects or events related to contemporary art, SACO is the most important event and with the greatest significance in the northern part of the country, and as a sculptor, native and resident of northern Chile, it is a great pleasure for me to be able to attend and be part of the project. Taking the work to the street has always turned out to be a very interesting exercise. The SACO organization chose three spaces in the city centre, the Governor’s Office, the Post Office and the Library, where the city’s inhabitants often go. I could say that the space with the biggest age range and my preferred place is the Library, which is more than a space of passing. The time and the work invite spectators to go beyond the size and the textures of the 152
sculpture, delve into the work, and interpret the reason for the work. The Post Office and the Governor’s Office are spaces of high traffic and it is interesting to see how the works break the daily routine of Antofagasta spectators. The discussion has been great; I love to be able to tell and share more intimately how the ideas arise and the works are developed. Sculpture is very manual work and takes a lot of time. It’s pleasant to be able to tell the whole process, the time and the puzzles to solve in order to be able to get the sculptures to look just like they are as a result. Gonzalo Contreras Sculptor Gonzalo Contreras (Arica, 1979) He studied design in the Escuela de Arte Pablo Picasso in A Coruña, Galicia, and two years later in the Escuela de Arte y Diseño Llotja in Barcelona. Upon completion, he continued with sculpture in the same school. In his beginnings as a sculptor he decided to work with iron, specialising in artistic forging. Advancing on this path, he discovered a new material that until now has kept him captivated: stone. He started his specialisation in sculpturing in stone in the Escuela de Arte Pau Gargallo de Badalona (Barcelona) and perfected the technique of stone carving in the workshop of the great master Mariano Andrés Vilella. He has been installed with a workshop in his native city of Arica since 2014.
FAXXI - SACO 2017 LINKING NETWORKS TO MAKE EMERGING ARTISTS VISIBLE
SACO is a great contribution to the local scene of the region and the country. It carries out a work of ties with the community and contextual networks, looking to decentralise and internationalise artistic practices. FAXXI, on its part, is a platform of direct encounter between artists and the public, whose objective is to make emerging artists visible on the national scene. Based on the alliance between the two organizations, the FAXXI â€“ SACO 2017 contest was created, aimed at visual artists from northern Chile. Our common motivation is to generate opportunities for local emerging artists who want to develop themselves professionally, who seek platforms for exhibition and experiences of links with other contexts. With northern Chile being a territory lacking in educational institutions in the area of the visual arts, it is essential to consider exchanges, residences and transfers as an engine of research for creation. The prize for the winner is to participate free of charge in the sixth version of FAXXI,
to be held from the 6th to the 9th of April 2017 in the Bicentennial Park located in Santiago. The application conditions can be found at www.proyectosaco.cl and the cut-off for the call was the 20th of October of this year. The application period was launched at the inauguration of SACO5 with a large turnout of general and specialised audience. It was very pleasant for us to have witnessed the presence of young people and educational establishments participating in the event, since that demonstrates that the work done by countless agents has real consequences in social development. We hope that this contest will be just its first version and the start of a solid alliance with SACO. Isabel Parot FAXXI Director
THE LINE, THE ROCK AND THE BONE RESIDENCY OF BOGDAN ACHIMESCU AND TERESA SOLAR IN QUILLAGUA
We travelled, like every year, to Quillagua, to the no place in the Nothing. In 2012 there were many factors other than climatic, anthropological, political or geological that determined the decision of the Group SE VENDE to choose the oasis as the centre of operation and of residencies in The Driest Place in the World. Since then there have been more than fifty visits and residencies of various areas of creation and research. â€œQuillagua is a laboratory, it concentrates and does not distract. It is there where many of the relevant contemporary stresses are present: the loss of water, identity, abandonment, internal divisions and the destruction of patrimony, in an impactful and extreme context. It would seem impossible to conjugate so many global problems in a small oasis in the desert. At the same time, Quillagua is sufficiently far away from our urban and semi-modern reality. In order to investigate it you have to look at it from outside, because somehow it belongs to another world. It also tells us about ourselves. A residence in the
oasis necessarily becomes an introspection, where you are face to face with yourself and with your questionings, regardless of where they come from.â€?1 In 2016, we accompanied two artists invited to SACO5: Teresa Solar, from Madrid, and Bogdan Achimescu, from Krakow in the residency in the Atacama Desert. They set out from ISLA willing, with expectations, energy and memory cards with high storage capacity. The infinite opening of the pampa to the other side of the Coastal Mountain Range activated the need to tour the desert, understanding the re-running as a mental attitude faced with the void. Hours in vehicle between Antofagasta, Tranque Sloman, Chacabuco, MarĂa Elena, Chuquicamata and Taltal restricted the experience to what was seen through the window. Once at The Driest Place in the World, walking was the strategy to understand through the exercise of the body in motion, for hours and under the omnipresent sun, turning out to be an introduction of the physical I in an extremely inhospitable and at the same time attractive space, a personal challenge both physical and mental.
Paragraph cited from the text Residence in the Driest Place in the World, SACO4 book. Between the shape and the mould. pp. 131 and 132. Antofagasta, 2015.
Teresa, in her travel diary of the residency in Quillagua entitled Atacama as the Forbidden City of Peking, speaks about the repetitive patterns and discontinuous lines of thought. They appear in compositions of image and words, mining cars, looking at the desert from a line, Chuquicamata that falls on the town of Chuquicamata, stones that look like bones and stones that look like stones. Cemeteries emerge abandoned on the pampa. Tombs viewed from the window. From the line of the highway, line of the tracks of wheels, line of the trail, and line of the water pipelineâ€Ś Desert traced by demarcations, by which the body circulates. Teresaâ€™s body. Bogdan let himself be carried among the hills by paths the origins of which have been erased for some time by the wind and the successive layers of industrial history in the desert. Routes of burro tracks appear all of a sudden or become invisible among the rocks. Abandoning the path or losing it on purpose, in order to look for it again, doubting whether it is this or the other, that was a literal and symbolic part of this exercise carried out in absolute solitude. Achimescu returned to the oasis with a stone of a very particular form, semi-square, it seemed like a tool from archaic times used for purposes that are unknown today. With a round hole in the middle, it winks at a fountain that canâ€™t hold anything, or at the craters of the Meteorites Valley, useless even for sustaining a legend, formed by the water that was pulled out of them millions of years ago. Geoglyph, line, path, rock, bone,
tomb, start with a clean slate. Auto, highway, industry, Chuquicamata, start with a clean slate. Layers of cycles, like the guano in the rocks of the coast, construct formations that are hitched together like nothing, as if destruction was the only thing inevitable. At least in the desert. Dagmara Wyskiel
Bogdan Achimescu had the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland for carrying out this residency. The participation of Teresa Solar in this project was possible thanks to the Spanish State Society Program for Cultural Action (AC/E), for the Internationalisation of Spanish Culture (PICE), in its Mobility modality, which facilities public or private foreign cultural institutions and entities of reference to have the presence and collaborations of artists, professionals or creators who are Spaniards or residents of Spain in their international activities and programs. www.accioncultural.es
Deserts Intervened was the next artistic education module of the Group SE VENDE. Since the beginnings (2004), artistic education is our essential pillar of operation, holding a countless number of workshops, conferences, and discussions, bringing professionals and artists from many places to the region. Each exhibition project has been accompanied by a program of mediation and education, designed especially for each occasion. We support self-taught artists, professors, guides, young people, and broadly defined audiences in their development and we have a high level of fidelity and demand from our public, with interest that is growing year to year. In 2016, we have carried out the project entitled Between the shape and the mould / Cycle of updating and creative stimulation workshops for teachers, held from April to July, dedicated to the continuing education of professors from the region, with six national monitors, during thirteen weekends. With this workshop we officially inaugurated ISLA, Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Arte, the Group’s headquarters, centre of residencies, and above all, a place designed for the SE VENDE line of education. In order to give continuity to the institute’s activities, we proposed holding a cycle of three intensive laboratories, now intended for local creators. Deserts Intervened strengthened and merged two areas of operation of the Group: educational (ISLA) and work with the territory. The Driest Place in the World, our centre of residencies in Quillagua, has been visited by more than thirty artists, curators, researchers and journalists from Chile and abroad during the last four years. We have generated a point of international interest on the map of the Atacama Desert. Our guests have worked with the place, the context and the community of the oasis. Knowing how to value the richness we have as a region, we want to not only share it with those from outside, but also convert it into a source of inspiration for local emerging artists. With this project we decided to open up the possibility for creators and people interested in being educated in the visual arts, in working with the local landscape, expanding our focus of interest to two new communes: Taltal and Calama. The project consisted of three intensive laboratory modules, each of which lasted one week, dedicated to the research of three localities on the coast, pampa and high plateau, given by the artists: Bogdan Achimescu from Krakow (in Caleta Paposo), Guisela Munita from Valparaíso (Quillagua) and Oscar Concha from Concepción (Ayquina). For each workshop lasting seven consecutive days, an application period was started with eleven openings. The first part of each module, with duration of four days, was held in ISLA and was dedicated to research on the specific place in the desert to be intervened, going into depth on its context, history, landscape and population. The students developed sketches and mock-ups, formulated ideas, prepared material for realising the intervention in situ, individually or in groups. Each monitor invited gave an initial speech, taking the participants to their works realised in exterior spaces and to research processes applied in specific cases of production. 160
In the second part of each laboratory, the participants along with the monitor and production team moved for three days to Paposo (in September), to Quillagua (in October) and to Ayquina (in November), to carry out the interventions predesigned in Antofagasta and to face them with the reality of the different deserts of the region, dialogue and exchange knowledge with their inhabitants, or simply derive, listen and look. The reflections shared here from those who were in charge of Deserts intervened, demonstrate the intensity of the processes experienced, the diversity of strategies of approach and the complexities of the places chosen, as sources of inspiration and intervention. Participants in Deserts Intervened: Pamela Canales, Angélica Araya, Patricia Díaz, Jordán Plaza, Antonieta Clunes, Francisco Vergara, Felipe Tello, Carolina Opazo, Gabriel Navia, Magaly Visedo, Francisca Jara, Melanie Garland, Romina González, Ariel Aracena, Juan Troncoso, Aníbal Naranjo, Diana Zamorano, Carmen Olivares, Jose Luis Carrera and Sonia Cuevas.
A shore impossible to measure There is a problem with measuring the length of sea shores, and this problem has both a name and a serious scientific pedigree. It’s called „the coastline paradox” and it means this: the more carefully you measure the length of a sea shore, the longer it gets, because you keep discovering new circumvolutions of sand and fractals of stones. Chile might well be one of the most extreme examples of this paradox. According to the World Factbook, it has 6,435 kilometers of coastline. Meanwhile, the World Resources Institute has calculated a length of 78,563 kilometers. Both these measurements are correct, they just depend on a different “sampling rate”. I think of this as Dagmara Wyskiel tells me that the North of Chile has a stretch of hundreds and hundreds of kilometers without an art school. Yet, as we get closer to Paposo and gain a new perspective on its black, rocky inlets trapping the waves, this distance seems even longer, as well as more convoluted. We are here to conduct a workshop innitiated by ISLA, and everything happens just as it should: long planning and honest preparation turning into something that takes everybody by surprise. It couldn’t be otherwise, because Paposo is so very different: an environment that is a catalyst for thought with its spectacular landscape, shrouded daily by the comings and goings of the camanchaca a theatrically looking fog. And,
perhaps even more so, with its surprising business plans: extracting algae for the cosmetic industry in a place where you don’t expect a beauty parlor, fishing locos by hand in the era of industrial dredging, relaying electricity near an old cemetery. In this place and on this stretch of shore, the artists do what all artists to: they respond to reality in a completely divergent way. Perhaps inspired by the economic models mentioned above, Jordán Plaza prepared a market stand, selling t-shirts that he emblazoned with some of the icons of consumerist Panotheons: Nike, Adidas and Puma. Trouble is: these images are stenciled in dust. As soon as a Paposo kid takes one in her hands, the logo disintegrates in the wind. Nevertheless, the “customer” recognizes a good deal for what it’s worth: the t-shirt is distributed for free, so a good rinse or perhaps just a shake will return it to all its No Logo glory. Nearby, another commercial enterprise: the very well prepared Beauty Salon of Angelica Araya. Her proposal to the Paposo people is something they know all too well: the long, hairy looking sea weed that old men extract from the sea and send for processing consumption into the distant, cosmopolitan reality of beauty products. Araya uses a makeshift lab to turn this raw material into acceptable substances, suitably bottled. Dressed appropriately in a white gown, she then engages the village inhabitants with a full-fledged ritual, worthy of a spa and complete with the typical beautician talk about care, hydration and so on. Looking at her, we quickly forget the out-of-place character of this action. After all, it does happen on a semi-deserted, dusty and windy plaza of a fisherman’s village. It’s precisely the playful shortening of this distance, between local and global, that makes this work remarkable. In the meantime, other artists position themselves vis-a-vis history. Francisco Vergara buries himself into the gravel on the beach and becomes an icon, with only his face visible, reminiscent of roadside memorials or perhaps a pioneer of a new mummification technique. A work that combines humor with gravitas just as Antonieta Clunes’ red threaded balloons, a probe sent into the camanchaca to mark a border long gone (the old demarcation line between Chile and Bolivia ran through Paposo until 1879). Borders, arranged 165
in an abstract view of a spider’s net and then set on fire seem to be the theme of Patricia Díaz Romero’s introspective and deceivingly humble work as well. I also chose to prepare an interventions: a performative lecture with a projection of the walls of one of Paposo’s oldest houses, once inhabited by a fugitive Russian aristocrat. In the evening our group sits on the beach by a small fire and – just as we prepare to talk about the workshop, we are offered a chance to regress into rituals of a hypothetic or hypnotic past. Pamela Canales has prepared a set of musical instruments, somehow managing to use the soft material of the huire seaweed to emit gentle percussion sounds. It’s a communal moment that drifts seamlessly from ancient beach party into a contemporary art school situation. As we start a discussion and an open critique, I find myself trying and somehow managing to speak Castilian, correcting myself in English and discussing with Dagmara Wyskiel in Polish. Mauricio Quezada – the lecturer that briefed us on the historical and geographical implications that shape Paposo as a habitat, mentioned that the tribesmen once inhabiting these areas were all multilingual, such was the intensity of commercial and human exchange with other, often distant territories. Suddenly, I feel like a circle closes and another one opens. There is an international art school somewhere between Taltal and Paposo, under the stars, on a shore with a length still unknown. Bogdan Achimescu Visual artist
QUILLAGUA LABORATORY The educational experience of working with a group of heterogeneous people where prevailing above all is the will to learn and incorporate what the professor wants and or entrusts given his or her experience and trajectory (which in my case as a visual artist and teacher are the result of sustained and serious work over time, with certain aesthetic as well as thematic convictions), is something I understand as a mode of making and teaching art, but above all I point out a way of looking. I also understand the creative processes established as an individual and collective process at times, where it is always necessary to ask our own questions and with that go for our own responses, understanding them as personal proposals in a specific context. In this seven-day process for purposes of the laboratory that occurred in ISLA, of the Group SE VENDE, I had the challenge of providing and applying tools with a group of eight people linked to artistic practices in their different possibilities, with this group being heterogeneous in terms of their experiences and education. For the same reason, it posed a complex problem for me with regard to education, and if we add to that the place where we would realise our experience, Quillagua (280 kilometres northeast of Antofagasta), the driest inhabited pace in the world, the whole of this experience is what I will attempt to share. This laboratory started with a four-day stage, where concepts and definitions were provided; we carried out an exercise regarding the territory of Antofagasta, a “situationist dérive”; we reviewed some works and discussed possible approaches
to the experience in Quillagua; and above all, certain links were established in a natural way that later could be ideally transformed into networks of support that are actually part of the pretensions that this type of practices seek. Once the four days had passed, where my objective was to have defined a posture or way for each one to face Quillagua, the site of the application, the expectations were left in second place, instead driving the factor that the place that we could encounter would propose for us, which having the category of “the driest place in the world” certainly could have been sufficient to let our imagination run. The wager on my part was to “derive” in Quillagua. In this format, clearly the possible interventions were based only on the level of intention, of desire, and above all with difficulties due to the anxiousness about “what to do”. For some reason, I have observed in my years of teaching that students have always quickly resolved certain visual objects, but leave aside the context, the scale and sometimes the people, the inhabitants of Quillagua in this case, which regrettably is sometimes addressed superficially, therefore this latter was the most complex phase to resolve with an ethic in accordance with the instance. This latter sounds very good but it is also true that there are artistic practices that on paper and in the actual intervention are left short in terms of the other, surpassed by the ego and vanity so typical of the creative world. In our visit, the students were seen faced with their own conflicts in terms of the readings of their others. It seems to me that this point in education is very relevant, because the product, the object is prioritised and with that, its aesthetic, its themes, and the space and the community in which you are working are left invisible. Many times, too much is taken for granted in terms of the reception, the function, the need for… Finally, in the last three days in Quillagua, the students of the workshop could set out their proposals, which then, in some cases, we discussed and evaluated in terms of the experiences developed. Among them, the works by Sonia Cuevas, from Antofagasta, who experienced the struggle between what is expected and what is encountered, between that imagined image and the concrete image that the place provides. In her process she recovered, precisely allowing herself to incorporate, 170
doubt, change and specify, above all thinking that this type of trial and error practices are what defines a way of making it her own. In the case of Patricia DĂaz, also from Antofagasta, her performance, which was closer to ludic, seemed to me to be part of her seeking to represent more darkness and get away from ingenuity, and for that, as we evaluated in the workshop, we thought it would be interesting for her to research and study more the performance or audio visual practices in order to be able to reach those corners that only she knows and thereby amplify her silences. The artist also carried out another action in co-authorship with Francisco Vergara. In the case of Magaly Visedo (Antofagasta), something very interesting happened because she valued two concepts that are very much allied, which are intuition and pretension to scale, since she knew how to put a certain visual device in a correct scale, in a simple relation with the community, and with that she adjusted it in a proportion that could be handled by a person who is in a process of approaching the arts, therefore that way, the deception and frustration are not part of her work logic. In the case of Carolina Opazo and Francisca Jara, from Valdivia, their participation was fundamental, since in a seven-day workshop that contributed to diversity and as young artists, completing the debates and above all enriching the processes from a generation different from mine, which is always welcome.
Finally, and after a rest, I can conclude that the experience was very interesting and enriching for wide-ranging factors, but especially for such an extreme scenario and its inhabitants. Antofagasta summarises well what Chile is today, with all its contradictions; and Quillagua would say even the state of the planet that we inhabit. Guisela Munita Visual artist
AYQUINA WORKSHOP AND THE RITUAL The workshop process carried out in Antofagasta-Ayquina started in ISLA, the space for the residency and centre of operations for the last activity of the Contemporary Art Week, SACO 2016. In ISLA, we started to project a work that was nourished by the collective experience, the dialogue and exchange among the 12 participants, who came from different educational backgrounds and occupations, but with the common interest of deepening their experiences in visual arts. At first, the workshop contemplated the review of experiences relative to individual and collective projects, carried out mainly in Concepción, the place where I reside. Despite the geographic differences between Antofagasta and Concepción, as cities from the north and south, both share their distance from the political centre of Chile and also the concern with generating an activation of reflection and the production of contemporary visual arts based on their own dynamics. The participants arrived with ideas, with proposals that were reviewed and discussed by everyone in a horizontal manner, generating a dialogue that pointed toward making their development more feasible. The time for work and planning was brief, short, obligating being concrete and projecting based on an ideal, since very few had been in the town of Ayquina before (74 kilometres east of Calama). It was impossible not to consider the date involved for carrying out the projects, since the 1st and 2nd of November are symbolic and significant days for the people of the high Andean plateau. During those days Ayquina is transformed, its old inhabitants, families and visitors return to celebrate All Souls’ Day, resulting in a festival that enlivens this solitary pueblo for a couple days. “The unexpected always happens in the processes that are carried out in the community. You have to try to not come as tourists, having respect for the community where you work; that can be resolved collectively. In the field of artistic education, I think it is very necessary to know what you are researching, because there is also the option of asking, debating or with everyone assembling. Even though individual works are involved, collective support is needed, consolidating a fabric of reflection that in the end shows a dynamic and enriching creation process”1. 1
As indicated to Francisco Vergara in an interview held during the residency in Ayquina.
Magaly Visedo, AngĂŠlica Araya: The religious festival was the fundamental focus of this collective project. The participants approached two families from the town of Ayquina and proposed making a photographic record of the ritual of the Faithful Departed. Also, very subtly, they projected images of the deceased which were imitated within the altars made in honour of all the deceased. Francisco Vergara, Gabriela GonzĂĄlez, Patricia DĂaz: A collective proposal with a very well-conceived script, for which a location inside the Salado River gorge was used, where water emanates almost magically from the face of the rock, an underground river that appears and gives greenness to the imposing and arid landscape. The group gathered dry branches that were installed like a winged carpet around a rock located in the centre of the cascade. Nature and artifice covered and dressed the figure of Patricia, who moved through this scenario silently, ending when the waters bathed her body. Melanie Garland: A small detour from the principal torrent of the Salado River was used to carry out the intervention. Black thread was interlaced from side to side, like a wound in the landscape that symbolically wanted to be sutured. Diana Zamorano: Since she was very young she remembers the different troupes that circulated in front of her house for the different festivals in Antofagasta. It 176
caught her attention that as part of the colour of the attire and costumes, there was a group that closed each troupe, who were dressed very plainly. They were “the pilgrims”, who aspired to be the official group that with much devotion danced without stopping, charged with popular fervour. Diana performed an action, using some locations in the town to carry out that wish and do her own dance. Juan Troncoso: A wayside shrine is a pile of stones placed in the shape of a cone, one on top of the other, on the difficult slopes of roads. It is about offerings made by the indigenous peoples of the South American Andes to the Pachamana and/or deities of the place. This exercise from the world of indigenous rituals is transferred to the field of art, realised through a performance action on the banks of the Salado River, where fire was also used as a purifying element. Felipe Tello, Ariel Aracena: A sheet from Felipe’s grandfather’s deathbed, charged with that significant moment, was used for the action realized in two moments. The first was held in the outside terrace Santuario de Nuestra Señora Guadalupe de Ayquina church, with the participation of young people who were asked to write and draw on the blanket, using mud from the place as pigment that served to gratify their personal experience in relation to All Souls’ Day. The next day, Felipe and Ariel submerged and washed the sheet in the torrent of the Salado River, carrying away the messages written.
AnĂbal Naranjo: Used the bed of the Salado River as support. On one edge of it he raised five small structures with stones gathered in Ayquina, which were installed on a circle drawn by means of tracks from walking. Around the circle, remains of salt that is normally left by the Salado River makes their presence more visible. Gabriel Navia: Constructed a kaleidoscope, which was used as a recipient for visualising fragments of natural items gathered in the sector, that he placed as a lens in front of his camera. Under that optic principle he geometrically and symmetrically multiplied the landscape. Oscar Concha Visual artist
CONNECTING HISTORIES: BERLIN (GERMANY), CALAIS (FRANCE), ANTOFAGASTA (CHILE) SYRIAN AND COLOMBIAN COMMUNITIES, FORCED MIGRATIONS AND VOLUNTARY MIGRATIONS Look child, many a mickle makes a muckle... (Mrs. Sandra Mina Hernรกndez, fragment of a recording, El Bosque camp, Antofagasta, October 2016) I am a migrant with Italian and Irish ancestors, born and raised in Chile, of Chilean parents and grandparents, and foreign great grandparents. I have been an immigrant in Germany since three years ago, in the city of Berlin. My artistic work is based on my own experiences and what I have lived as a migrant, and its relation with the contemporary migration flows. Connecting histories is an art project / action about sharing experiences and feelings among migrants in a same community in a foreign country. Gathering, filing and documenting the migratory process in Europe and South America.
Through anonymous letters the participants exchange survival situations, emotional strategies for adapting to the circumstances of a new territory, their conquest and the appropriation of a new culture. Connecting histories in engrossed in the capacity of migrant people to construct and reconstruct a new life. This project has been carried out among Syrian, Iranian and Colombian communities between Germany, France and Chile. EXPERIENCE N4: BERLIN - ANTOFAGASTA In deciding to do the project Connecting histories in Chilean territory, I started inquiring about the biggest community of migrants in the city of Antofagasta, and it is the Colombian community. When I started to collect letters in Berlin, I never thought it was going to be so difficult to collect them, since I already knew the Colombian community. There was not much interest in writing a letter to a compatriot and in many cases the project did not interest them at all, with many of them being uprooted from their culture. In perceiving this, I started to realize the big difference between forced migration and voluntary migration. In previous numbers of Connecting histories, there was a much bigger need to write and communicate, since in that case the Syrian and Iranian communities needed a tangible and visible space for expression and emotional exchange with their peers. 182
I was able to collect ten letters from Colombian young people and adults who have lived from three to ten years in the city of Berlin. They mainly have a good quality of life and are well integrated into the German community. Many of them have not returned to Colombia, forgetting and transforming an origin that is no longer so impending. EXPERIENCE N5: ANTOFAGASTA - BERLIN / EL BOSQUE CAMP Upon entering Antofagasta, I perceived the air with a white glaze, with light grey layers and the brown colour of the northern sand. A city between the pampa and the sea, with a constant flow of migrant people between nitrate and mining operations. When I arrived at the camp with its light earth colours, they penetrated me and I was immediately transported to the camp in Calais (France, the biggest illegal refugee camp in Europe). The atmosphere among its inhabitants was different. There I reacted to the real difference between forced and voluntary migration, since there wasnâ€™t the weight of the war, like in the case of the Syrian and Iranian communities, but the weight of being an immigrant of colour in a country mostly mono-colour, was clearly perceived.
As opposed to prior visits, where I spent at least two months with the community, I was only going to be here for two days, so it was a big challenge to be able to deliver and receive the letters, since the community did not know me and it was probably going to be difficult to gain their trust. Thanks to the help of Cristian Ochoa (Chilean photographer, who currently works with the Colombian community), we started on the way to deliver the letters, knocking on doors and explaining the project to see if they were interested in participating. After a short time we were able to strike up conversations with five people, talking about their trip or their reason for migrating. One of them is Mrs. Sandra Mina HernĂĄndez and her daughter Helen who is 14 years old, who kindly invited me into their home and have some of a Colombian drink. In starting the conversation I realized how everything was connecting and tying together, where the language played an essential role in the emotional connection between the three of us. In my previous experiences, our engine of communication was drawing, the physical contact, laughs and expressions, that enabled us to develop a much deeper relationship, since we didnâ€™t have a common language. In deciding to emigrate and explore a new country with new work opportunities and more national security, a migrant is being transformed, adapting and integrating, 185
and in some cases imitating the new culture. That is not the case with Ms. Sandra and many Colombians, who are showing and explaining their customs, their food and ways of thinking to the Chilean community. Not forgetting who they are and the decision to rebuild a new life are essential impulses in this community. In the process of the journey, the migrant becomes a subject of transit, where he has to design, create and learn different strategies of survival and adaptation, with the experience being the essential focus of the trip to a new territory. Connecting histories intends very humbly, through written letters, sound recordings and in some cases photographs, to file and document this anthropological process of the experience. Gathering different strategies, anecdotes and personal stories of a migrant in transit and how he or she is being integrated into the current worldwide migration dynamic. Melanie Garland Visual artist
GROUP SE VENDE
GROUP SE VENDE: A RECOLLECTION The Group SE VENDE, Mobile Contemporary Art Platform, is a work group that arose in 2004 in Antofagasta, developing projects in three lines of action: education, linkage and territory. With a type of management in network focused on the dissemination and reflection on new artistic practices, it has driven various activities both in the city and in nearby towns and the desert, marking the development of contemporary art in Antofagasta. Under the responsibility of Christian Núñez, cultural producer and manager, and Dagmara Wyskiel, visual artist with a Doctorate in Visual Arts from the Fine Arts University of Krakow, Poland, SE VENDE is constantly looking for new platforms to promote, professionalize and make the local core more dynamic. Through exhibitions, conferences, workshops, residencies, editorial projects, and transdisciplinary activities, in addition to the coming and going of various artists, curators and cultural producers through the area, spaces have been opened for dialogue and reflection that have at the same time been opportunities for joint efforts and collaboration. This way, it has contributed to raising the indices of the local scene, making northern Chile visible on a map of Latin American art, and even inserting the Atacama Desert as a focus of interest. Outstanding regional artists have worked as collaborators with the group, recently with a new generation participating, including artists such as Pamela Canales, Francisco Vergara, Angélica Araya, Luciano Paiva, Juan Troncoso, Camila Díaz, Cristián Ochoa and Sebastián Rojas, among others. A diversity of actions have also been situated in contexts as distinct as Santiago, Concepción, Coliumo, Chiloé, Valparaíso, Villa Alegre, Iquique and Punta Arenas, as well as in cities in Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, the United States, Poland and Uruguay; and, if we add the participation in collective exhibitions, SE VENDE has also been in Beijing (China), Jakarta (Indonesia) and Krasnoyarsk (Russia). SACO An activity that is the central focus of the operations of SE VENDE is the Contemporary Art Week of Antofagasta, SACO. The encounter, created in 2012, has stirred key local situations, growing over time, becoming professionalised in the diffusion and driving of new practices, adding the orchestrated support from the public and private sectors, and covering areas that range from contemporary art to driving autonomous activities, international connections and the area of artistic education. Each year, SACO has also involved recognition or residency work in Quillagua, an Aymara town located about 280 kilometres northeast of Antofagasta, on the banks of the Loa River. The program The Driest Place in the World, has raised a laboratory of ideas and creativity there where a small community has been affected by the 191
pollution from mining and sale of the water, by emigration and abandonment by state policies. Each version of the event in Antofagasta, has had different focuses: the first was an exhibition regarding contingent topics, Art + Politics + Environment, with artists from Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Egypt, presented by the Argentine curator settled in the U.S., Marisa Caichiolo and the museographer Jaime Delfín from Ensenada (Mexico), in the Centro Cultural Estación Antofagasta; the following, SACO2, in 2013, was installed in the Huanchaca Cultural Park, and brought together spaces and independent projects from Concepción, Pedro Aguirre Cerda and Córdoba (Argentina), also having, respectively, the participation of the group MÓVIL (Óscar Concha and Leslie Fernández), Galería Metropolitana (Ana María Saavedra and Luis Alarcón) and Curatoría Forense (Ilze Petroni and Jorge Sepúlveda). In 2014, SACO3 took on a problematic topic for the region: the relations between Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Under the title My neighbour. The other, it involved visits by relevant artists, curators and researchers (anthropologists and historians) from the three countries and a series of interventions in the ruins of the former silver refinery, now a National Historic Monument. “Three teams” participated, commanded by the curators Gustavo Buntinx (Peru), Lucía Querejazu (Bolivia) and Rodolfo Andaur (Chile), who respectively invited the researchers Harold Hernández, Juan Fabbri and Damir Galaz-Mandakovic; as well as the artists César Cornejo and Elliot Túpac Urcuhuaranga, Andrés Bedoya and Jaime Achocalla, Claudio Correa and Catalina González. In 2015 and again in the Huanchaca Cultural Park, SACO4 was an opportunity for creation where artists-teachers from Ecuador, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Chile shared mutual teaching and learning experiences, along with 84 third and fourth year high school students selected from municipal schools from the regions of Arica and Parinacota, Antofagasta, Tarapacá and Atacama. The context continues to be an urgency: the lack of university art schools in the entire northern part of Chile, and the generalised crisis of artistic education in the country. The artists-teachers invited to SACO4 were: Roberto Huarcaya from the Centro de la Imagen in Lima, Peru; Alejandro Turell from the Tecnicatura en Artes - Artes Plásticas y Visuales of the Instituto Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Universidad de la República, Rocha, Uruguay; Saidel Brito of the ITAE, Instituto Superior Tecnológico de Artes de Ecuador, Guayaquil; Fernanda Mejía from the Taller Multinacional in Mexico City; Marcos Benítez from the Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay; Luis Gómez from the ISA, Universidad de Las Artes, La Habana, Cuba; and Tomás Rivas from the Taller Bloc, Santiago, Chile. SACO5 was a wager on another topic of relevance for the contemporary world and that especially traverses a city like Antofagasta – immigration, occupying a new 192
heritage site, this time the Melbourne Clark Historical Pier. The round of interventions, One way ticket, brought together six international artists who in turn are immigrants: Angel Delgado (Cuba / United States), Bogdan Achimescu (Romania / Poland), Paula Quintela (Chile / Australia), Johannes Pfeiffer (Germany / Italy), Alicja Rogalska (Poland / England), and Teresa Solar (Spain of an Egyptian mother). Also participating as curators were: Flavia Introzzi (Argentina / Spain), Krzysztof Gutfranski (Poland / Brazil) and Marisa Caichiolo (Argentina / U.S.). An editorial work in parallel has already engendered a true collection, that started with the catalogue of the exhibition SACO1, Art + Politics + Environment, continuing with the publications that condense the experience of each version of SACO. These books are available in specialised bookstores in the country and circulate in Chile as well as internationally thanks to separate editions in English. This is added to by a wide spectrum of mediation brochures and fliers, intended to provide the local public with the experiences of works and tours in situ, as well as a documentary video of each version available through the Web. THE BEGINNINGS Since its first actions in 2004, the Group SE VENDE has caused public and “traditional” artists to face the perplexity of objetual, conceptual, experimental or ephemeral practices. The first collective interventions were located in buildings that are meaningful for the city, in architectural heritage sites or in the streets. The holding of open forums for reflecting on art topics that are crucial at a local level has been inseparable, as well as the participation of special guests, authors and academicians from cities such as Santiago and Valparaíso. The first project, Se Vende 1, was installed in a large house on Argentina Avenue that was then for sale. In parallel to the showing, a contemporary art forum was held. For the first time there was reflection in the city on certain crucial topics, confirming especially the need to start talking about them. Along the same line, in 2006 Se Vende 2 continued occupying a building in the very centre of Antofagasta. Special guests from Santiago also came to this second event. The third version in 2009 occupied the public space and emblematic sites of the city, such as the Municipal Spa, the Antofagasta Regional Museum and the Longshoremen’s Union. Juan Castillo (former member of the group CADA), a key artist in the recent history of Chilean art who was born in the area and is internationally recognised, also participated, who continued the itinerant project Minimal Baroque here, with a truck that toured the streets presenting videos of Antofagasta residents who told about their dreams. At that time, a poster with the words “SE VENDE” (For Sale) was a collective intervention that burst in with irony in various parts of the city, causing a very special situation in the Plaza Colón, where the advertisement was repeated 193
400 times across the ground. The act was considered by the local press as an anonymous protest against the underground parking project that was dividing public opinion. Another Country I and II, two exhibitions that in 2005 and 2007, respectively, brought together local artists in the Extension Centre of the Universidad Católica, in Santiago, and in the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, MAC, of Valdivia, were a platform for building networks and experimentation outside the regional margins, situating art from the Greater Northern region in different areas of the national territory, through the idea of “another country”. After these experiences, the Group was able to bring together a format for linkage and associativity that was gaining renown. In 2009, Dagmara Wyskiel and Christian Núñez participated, respectively, as editor and field producer of the Triennial of Chile, an event with which the country started the commemoration of the Bicentennial, with the Paraguayan Ticio Escobar as general curator. One of the objectives of the contemporary art encounter was precisely to strengthen regional scenes and make them more dynamic, extending to Valparaíso, Concepción and Valdivia. Thanks to the group, Antofagasta was perhaps the only area where the effect of these actions transcended the temporary nature of an event for which subsequent versions were never held. For the encounter, the exhibition Another North – North Axis was the result of a clinic held by the Argentine curator Marcos Figueroa, considered by the Group as a third version of Another Country. It was not named the same only because the Triennial board asked that it not be. The showing brought together in the MAC of Salta and the Antofagasta Council of Culture and the Arts independent artists from northern Argentina and Chile and three groups: LA PUNTA (Tucumán), LA GUARDA (Salta) and SE VENDE (Antofagasta). From an accustomed north – south vertical axis due to our centralism, a horizontality was drawn that traversed the Andes mountain range, resulting in the creation of La RED, a platform of groups that since then work together with projects that cross borders. EXPANDING NETWORKS The year 2012 was particularly intense for the Group SE VENDE, in taking on lines of work previously developed as well as new formats, spaces and strategies. The project Visual Arts Agenda for the Multiuse Room of the Antofagasta Living library was the focus of the majority of activities that year, including conferences, workshops, discussions and exhibitions, with national and international guests. The book SE VENDE 4 (SV4) was an editorial project that constituted a record of this set of actions. The Educational capsules were workshops for emerging initiatives that resulted in six individual exhibitions, a participation in a collective showing, a debate and an 194
intervention in the public space. This involved an alternative program of professionalization of emerging artists who do not have access to traditional education. Among the actions intended to generate networks, contact with the public and education in contemporary art, an exhibition was held with artists from La RED and Rebel bodies: the performance in Concepción, where Natascha de Cortillas, Guillermo Moscoso, Luis Almendra and Alperoa participated under the curatorship of Carolina Lara. This was in addition to the conference by the theorist and curator Justo Pastor Mellado on the work Great South by Fernando Prats, part of the retribution in Chile for the financing provided by the Cultural Affairs Administration of the Chancellery (DIRAC) for the artist’s participation in the 54th Biennial of Venice in 2011, in which the renowned Chilean artist living in Spain also participated. In July of that year, Fernando Prats’ residency in Quillagua was inaugural and very significant, in addition to being one of the best educational decisions with two student assistants, Francisco Vergara and Pamela Canales. Prats’ residency constituted a before and after in the work of SE VENDE with the territory. As part of this same project, the artist then had an individual exhibition of work in progress in the Antofagasta Living Library. The results were exhibited in 2016 in Barcelona. In 2012, actions were also taken related to artistic education, which involved the Liceo Experimental Artístico (LEA) (Experimental Artistic Public School) of Antofagasta and the Colegio Artístico Salvador (Salvador Artistic School) of La Florida. During the exhibition Polonus Populus, by Dagmara Wyskiel in the MAC Parque Forestal, the workshop Simple exercises to avoid pixilation of the memory was held with students from Santiago. With the publication Artistic Teaching in Chile, two visions and the exhibition of works by young people with nonconventional supports, both in the LEA and in the Artistic College of La Florida, the encounter between the two educational establishments concluded, organised that year thanks to the National Fund for Artistic Education. Teachers and students from secondary education in visual arts, theatre and music participated. 2014 – 2016 From 2014 to 2016, a significant artistic project gained renown at a national level: Mixed Game, an intervention in extreme landscapes of the country that included a golf ball of monumental size, made of inflatable material, that activated conceptual, symbolic and metaphorical relations that could range from oneiric to metaphysical, from historical to political. Its trip drifted through the Valley of the Meteorites of Quillagua, past the ALMA astronomical observatory, through Patagonia and Valparaiso, arriving in smaller size to England and as an exhibition in Poland, there constituting Dagmara Wyskiel’s doctoral project. The journey was closed out with a tour of four video-installations in the Museum of Contemporary 195
Art in Quinta Normal (May - July 2016), and the participation with a video in the Art Museum of the Universidad de Guadalajara, MUSA (June - September), as part of the itinerancy of Art + Politics + Environment, that started in 2012 in Mexico and that has continued through spaces in the United States and Chile, thanks to the curatorship of Marisa Caichiolo. In 2016, La RED, generated in the context of the only version of the Triennial of Chile in 2009 is still alive and is strengthening with other initiatives that are currently being worked on in the north – north connection. Andean Contemporary Art: Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, today has been situated in the Museo Regional de Pintura José Antonio Terry, in Tilcara, Jujuy since the 15th of October. The exhibition, arranged by the curator Roxana Ramos de Salta and driven by the Secretary of Cultural Patrimony of the Ministry of Culture of the Nation, was the result of a creative residency that was held from the 9th to the 15th of that month, in which 14 artists from Jujuy, Salta, Chile and Bolivia shared and exchanged experiences along with the community of Tilcara, including interventions in the landscape and public space where Wyskiel and Núñez also participated. In Antofagasta, with the ISLA, Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Arte, a worthy space is raised for the confluence of all these initiatives and the activation of new processes that have intensified the work with the context, the formation of networks, and above all, the education of artists and the field of artistic education. In less than a year of work, since the space opened in March 2016, artists from various regions of Chile as well as from other countries of the Americas and Europe have passed through there; art professors, emerging creators, national and international curators, expanding the borders of the city and of art itself toward significant actions with other places and communities across the desert. www.proyectosaco.cl www.colectivosevende.cl
A PROYECT BY
This initiative is financed by the Regional Government of Antofagasta with resources from the National Fund for Regional Development, (F.N.D.R. in Spanish), 2% Culture, Year 2016 approved by the Antofagasta Regional Council. Project covered by the Cultural Donations Law. 199
SACO is a school, a paradox, a utopia and the reality, at the same time. Just as hybrid and difficult to summarise, but at the same time concrete and palpable as the big local and global issues it targets. In 2016, we invited to the 5th Contemporary Art Week those who moved not to return: migrant artists participated with works that arose from their personal experiences. “Migrations constitute one of the most significant and transversal hallmarks of our times and influence all social sectors, continents and professions. To emigrate is to assume an everlasting schizophrenia of identity. Even if you go back one day, you will never again feel completely here. A little of there impregnated your skin and your mind. The visit to the place of origin becomes a trip into the past, where you look for the same people and go back to the same places as always, sometimes uselessly. It’s hard for you to understand the changes. Despite that, you feel that you belong to this history and this world.” (From The Historical Pier, threshold between two worlds, mediation brochure, SACO5). More than three months of continuous and diverse work, in order to generate, as Flavia Introzzi said, “cultural ecologies, experimental communities, open and collective processes, ways of life and common worlds”. Ecology as well as culture do not comfortably conjugate with the contemporary desert. But ways of thinking and doing are intensely transmuting, at least in some sectors, into an expansive contagion, establishing the expectation that the confluence of this common worlds in a stable manner is just a question of interior resistance, in each nucleus, and of the growth of a heterogeneous ecosystem that is already generated.