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Roberto Jacoby Selection 1966-2012

Roberto Jacoby, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I lives and works. Almost all of his work was done in collaboration. Since the sixties he participated in the dematerialized art experiences through the use of mass media that emerged in Argentina. He was also part of the group that realized Tucumรกn Arde. In the seventies and eighties he devoted to the research of social conflict. At the same time he wrote the lyrics for the influential pop group Virus. Later on he developed various social networks like the data base Snowball, the micro society Venus Project, Chacra 99, the art monthly Ramona and the monthly meetings Plรกcidos Domingos and Experimental Societies In the last decade he presented Darkroom, a performance for one spectator and several exhibitions. He was invited to the Sao Paulo Biennial in 2010 and held a solo exhibition at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid in 2011.

Media Art Manifesto, mimeographed printing. 4 pages. With Eduardo Costa, Raul Escari. Buenos Aires, 1966.

The manifesto announces a new era where art reception will occur through the media that “suppress reality from the objects�. This new art genre will evidence the modus operandi of the media environment.


Total participation Happening Press kit with report and photographs, articles in newspapers and magazines El Mundo, Gente, El Grillo de Papel, Primera Plana, Confirmado, etc. With Eduardo Costa and Raul Escari. Buenos Aires, 1966.

Also known as Happening for a deceased boar or the Happening that never occurred was materialized through a textual and photographic report of a fictitious happening delivered to the media and all its subsequent repercussions that continue nowadays through art books and different research publications. At first some media personalities were invited to imagine their role in an imaginary happening called Full Participation. Afterward each supposed guest was photographed in different scenarios simulating their acting at the non existing event. Then a dossier with those photos and a collection of anecdotes was delivered to various media. Finally, each media built a different version of the experience, accomplishing the author’s goal: let the artwork be done by the mass media themselves and as a consequence the moment of production will merge with the moment of circulation.

Scale Model of an Artwork Sculpture. Polyurethane, polyester and others. 2 x 1 x 1 m. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Buenos Aires, 1966.

A model, its planes and stenciled text notes show that the artwork is not a physical object, but its mental translation. This monument states that it should be considered as a finished piece that consists in an unfinished one. The idea of the work is more important than its realization. A nonexistent, half-done or impossible artwork can be as significant as one already built or feasible to build. It is the viewer who does the work from some given data.

Scale model of an artwork. National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, 1966.


Illustrated poem Oral language piece. Bench, recorder, tape. 29 minutes. With Eduardo Costa. Radio Municipal. Buenos Aires, 1966.

This piece is a compilation of recorded speech reproduced by a basic tape recorder put over a simple kitchen bench. The characters of this documentary piece are street vendors at work, interns in psychiatric nursing homes and a grandmother at the family table, The recorder operates as an objective external memory for oral language, where fragments are combined into a literary sound piece. Months later during a presentation of this material at the Audiovisual Experimentation Center of the di Tella Institute, the authors issued a text declaring the emergence of a new literary genre.


Context stand out Urban mark. With Eduardo Costa. Antibienal, C贸rdoba, 1966.

In the central streets of the city some fragments were painted with the same light green color: driveways, tiles, mailboxes, walls, windows. Through color, the urban context ends up trimmed and pointed with geometric shapes setting an undefined tour. People visiting the art space nearby could link the signals painted in the streets space and a panel on the wall with the same green color.

Reconstruction in Buenos Aires, 2004.

On Happenings Happening. Art Magazines, paint, fish, milk, bucket, truck, etc. With Eduardo Costa, Oscar Masotta, Oscar Bony, Miguel Angel Tellechea, Leopoldo Maler. Audiovisual Experimental Center, Instituto Torcuato di Tella. Buenos Aires, 1967.

Different happenings were collected from articles in international art magazines; then, four pieces were chosen. These happenings belonged to Carolee Schneemann, Claes Oldenburg and Michael Kirby. The articles were translated into Spanish and turned into regular scripts that were carefully represented in a sequence of the four together, as if it was a single piece.

Automatic Circuit Public Action. Stickers, voicemail. Roberto Jacoby Buenos Aires, 1967. In the manner of dating ads, small posters were stuck in various parts of the city such as terminal stations, restrooms, shopping malls and subways. The cards showed two younger people, a man and a woman, and a phone number in the middle of the two. When someone dialed the number he could hear an answering machine describing the same situation that the subject was experiencing: “You have seen stickers with images of a man and a woman and a phone number, and you have called thus closing a communication circuit that began when you saw the stickers and ends now. But this circuit does not report anything… it just talks about itself indifferent to everything that you may say.” This message will last for 30 seconds and you may hang up now or wait until it finishes.

See original project

Reconstruction 2004.

Mao and Per贸n one and the same heart Public Action. Be-in Demonstration, Central Park, New York, 1967. Roberto Jacoby.

In a massive hippie event, two conflicting pictures of Third World leaders, Mao Zedong and Juan Domingo Peron, caught the eye of the international media.

Parameters. Tribute to John Cage Media Conference. 45 minutes. With Julian Cairol. Audiovisual Experiment Station, Instituto di Tella. Buenos Aires, 1967.

Jacoby lectures while the audience sits in a theater room. But the speaker is not in this room just appearing trough multiple black and white television sets. The speech, a tribute to Cage, refers to the qualities of the medium and its receptors as well as to its contents. Changes in the parameters of television are constant: shine, rain, snow, contrast, bars, and darkness. By these means the situation calls attention to the unexpected possibilities of perception and action that the device holds for an active user.


Message at Di Tella Installation. Blackboard, teletype, photography. Experiences 68, Visual Arts Center, Instituto Di Tella. Buenos Aires, 1968.

The installation consists of three texts in three different media: the artist's manifesto written on a chalkboard, a poster held by an African American activist shown in a photography and the information sent by an international news agency through a teletypewriter (remember that was May 1968). The work points out that ideological content can be used in the same way that the materials of the painter. Contents are materials. Ideas have material force. The manifesto says among other things that “all phenomena of social life have become aesthetic matters” and that “the future is linked not to the creation of works, but the definition of new concepts of life”.

Experiencias 68: participating artists throw their works to Florida Street protesting against the closure of Roberto Plate s work.

Flyer distributed during the Experiences 68 exhibition.


Tucumán burns Collective action. Research, campaign and exhibition. With Pablo Suárez, León Ferrari, Juan Pablo Renzi, Graciela Carnevale, Nicolás Rosa and many others. Confederation of Labor Unions of Argentina. Confederación General del Trabajo de los Argentinos. Tucumán, Buenos Aires y Rosario, 1968.

A colective made up by dozens of artists traveled to the Tucumán province, where the sugar industry was being destroyed due to the economic policies of the Dictatorship of General Onganía leading to a social disaster. They aimed to investigate and document the local situation through Interviews and personal contacts with peasants, workers, teachers as well as unions and activists. The information feeded a communication strategy designed in three phases: a teasers campaign, two large exhibitions hosted by the Unions Federation in the cities of Rosario and Buenos Aires and finally distribution of brochures prepared by social scientists The exhibitions in the Unions headquarters demanded a radical innovation in the ways of showing in order to fit the spaces and political objectives.

Defused sugar mill in the province of Tucumรกn.

Exhibition in the General Labour Confederation of Rosario, 1968.

Exhibition in the General Labour Confederation of Rosario, 1968.

Sobre Magazine Nยบ 1 and 2. The culture of liberation 500 envelopes with booklets, flyers, stickers, cartoons, posters, documents, facsimiles, printed on mimeograph. With Fernando Solanas, Octavio Getino, Antonio Caparros, Oscar Smoje and others. Buenos Aires, 1968-1969.

Three groups of artists and intellectuals activists agreed to produce a publication that covered topics of cinema, arts, theater, history, etc.. from the viewpoint of Third World Liberation movements. The heterogeneous materials were contained in an envelope thus facilitate to be separated for share and use in diverse fashions. The magazine circulated hand to hand through informal channels.

A guerrilla does not die to be hanged on a wall Silkscreen published in the magazine Buenos Aires, 1969.

Among the materials included in the envelope there was an “anti-poster� of Che Guevara that posed the contradiction implied in turning a man that fought and died for a cause into wall paper.

Street fighting, class struggle Elements for analysis (Córdoba 1971-1969) Political and social research. Con Beba Balve, Miguel Murmis, Juan Carlos Marín, Lidia Aufgang, Tomás Bar, Beatriz Balve. Editorial La Rosa Blindada. Buenos Aires, 1973.

In May 1969 a protest movement of trade unions and students marched and occupied the streets in the city of Cordoba, the third most important in Argentina. Two days later after numerous clashes, many dead and wounded, the city is taken by the army. It is the first massive resistance against the military dictatorship of General Onganía. Through mapping, data collection and interviews a collective of artists and social scientists who had participated in Tucumán Arde produced the most comprehensive research about these events, which was published some years after

Chronographic cartography of clashes during Cordobazo.

Virus Rock band. With Federico Moura and others. Buenos Aires, 1981-1989.

Although emerged in 1981, Virus stood out at the time of the Malvinas War, when their second album Recrudece was produced. Their lyrics were critical about the relationship between the local rock and roll scene and the military dictatorship starting with the prohibition of songs in English. The record was presented with an at that time unusual show that included 14 costume changes on stage, make up, performing artists and interaction with the audience. Virus brought lyrics with amusing puns that enclosed an acid criticism and a fresh approach to new styles that made them a cult band.


Art in the body Performance festival. With Coco Bedoya, Lidia Aufgang, Silvia Cazoll and more than other 100 artists. “Dancing Museum”, Palladium. Buenos Aires, 1989.

The Dancing Museum organized art exhibitions and events in clubs. The call issued by Roberto Jacoby was that the participants got 15 seconds on stage and had to get the most applause. An applause-meter and a selected jury —among others critic Pierre Restany—decided the 200 USD prize.


Social, Sports and Cultural Club Eros Neighborhood Dancing Parties. With Sergio Avello. Also participated Beto Botta, Christian Dios, Sergio Lacroix, DJ Trincado, Cumbiatronics and others. Social, Sporting and Cultural Club Eros, Palermo. Buenos Aires, 1989

Several neighborhood clubs had been founded in Buenos Aires by anarchists and socialists in the early decades of the twentieth century but became 50 years later a haven for retirees and soccer fields for children. By then, discos operated as closed, selective circles that rejected social diversity. The dancing parties at Eros Club succeeded in mixing ages, subcultures, classes and music genres. This concept multiplied by the dozens and many old neighborhood clubs turned into nomadic dance floors, moving from club to club and from quarter to quarter throughout the city and the suburbs. This scene persisted until the mid-nineties.

Comics Comics. With SebastiĂĄn GordĂ­n. Buenos Aires, 1990-1991.

For two years, Jacoby and Gordin then a young artist, collaborated in the writing and drawing on hot topics and stories about the art world. Most of them remain unpublished.

Fabulous Nobodies Advertisting agency brand with no products. Graphic ads published in rock or underground magazines. With Mariana “Kiwi” Sainz. Buenos Aires, 1992.

Fabulous Nobodies is a brand that signed one page ads in underground magazines like Revolver, Escupiendo Milagros and El Libertino. Ads had no products to advertize. The latest ad “Maresca se entrega todo destino” was created for Liliana Maresca’s project of the same title. Maresca then Hiv positive published here phone number in order to meet men to whom she told her health situation. In 1994, Fabulous Nobodies issued an edition of T-shirts with the text “I have aids”.

El libertino nยบ 8, Buenos Aires, 1993.

I have AIDS Awareness campaign. With Fabulous Nobodies (Roberto Jacoby and Mariana “Kiwi” Sainz). Various media. Buenos Aires, 1993.

The campaign “I have AIDS” intended that some celebrities wore the Tshirt as a sign of commitment against discrimination faced by HIV positive. Only one, the popular singer Andres Calamaro agreed to wear it in public during a concert he gave for 80,000 spectators in La Plata. However, an edition of 500 shirts were sold and the news was spread by many media

Chacra 99 Tecnobucolic experiment. Parque Leloir, Buenos Aires, 1998-1999.

From the last days of 1998 until April 1999 some 50 musician, poets, dj’s, visual artists, photographers met in a small country house in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. There they where free to use digital imaging and audio equipment as well as the Internet. Apart from the writing, composing, playing, recording it was also an experiment of living togheter. Among the participants: Pablo Pérez, Sergio Pángaro, Leo García, Gabriela Bejerman, Alejandro Ros.


Snowball Social website of artists in Argentina. Since 1998.

The goal of Project Snowball is to strengthen artists autonomy in the field of visual arts. The acceptance of the artists is defined by themselves. At the same time, Snowball aims to revive the network of relationships between artists, eroded by new social, urban, economic, conditions.

Snowball website 3.0

No soy un clown Installation. Belleza y Felicidad, 2001. Buenos Aires

Invited by the artist and gallery director Fernanda Laguna, “No soy un clown” (I’m not a clown) consisted in very six small photos lighted faintly. in a dark room. Photos are self portraits, dressed as a clown during the performances with Omar Chaban and others in Cemento, established rock venue in late nineties.

Moncada Novel. Adriana Hidalgo editorial. 263 pรกginas. With Jorge Di Paola. Buenos Aires, 2003.

A four hands novel written in early 2000 through e-mails that mimics a Hollywood blockbuster. It chronicles the adventures of an Argentinean tourist in Cuba, which gets in love with Moncada, one of the Fidel`s Vestals, super girls that consecrate their virginity (but not other orifices) and their life to protect Chairman Castro. He gets embroiled in bloody attacks, extreme sex and desperate escapes. The plot goes through the harassment of international mafias, global revolution and terrorist intrigue. Bin Laden appears prophetically mentioned. Jorge Di Paola (1940-2007) is a cult author with a brief but influential body of work.

ramona Visual arts monthly. Gustavo Bruzzone, founder. Concept by RJ. Alejandro Ros, design and many other contributors. Buenos Aires, 2000-2010.

The magazine was an arena for artists, shorn of the possibility of expression in traditional media. In order to emphasize the textual character of the magazine all kind of images were excluded and only the Helvetica typeface was accepted. The magazine had neither manager nor selection committee. It’s editorial principle was to accept absolutely all contributions, except for insults or defamation. Its collaborators number in the hundreds, mostly artists, but also writers, critics, historians, philosophers and curators from Argentina, as well as notable international intellectuals. Thus the magazine was representative of the diverse art scene in Argentina at the time. In their 101 numbers ramona covered conversations, interviews, essays, reviews, gossip, artists texts and historical controversies. Today ramona is a common source of research and analysis.

Venus: the currency of desire Microsociety both off and online, with its own currency. Argentina, 2002-2006.

The Venus Project was intended as a community of achievable desires through the exchange and cooperation by applying what was called “technology of friendship�. VP had its own currency, the Venus, which were available in banknotes of 1, 2 and 3 v. The project was based on the notion of Charles Fourier that in a community of a certain size everyone could match his o her desire with some other. Through its webpage, each member could upload information about the products or services they were offering or demanding, profile and news. In the Venus market a large list of merchandises were offered, from tomato jam or English lessons to legal or medical service. Artworks, books, coaching for different activities from gym or dance to parties organization or fighting depression. The project had several physical meeting points and its own headquarters, were fairs, concerts, plays, projections and so on took place. PV was a network of artists, non artists and collectives from poets to judges, from psychoanalysts to pop stars, from architects to curators. PV reached 600 members and in 2006 this society collapsed.


Draft for Tatlin, headquarter for the Venus Project by Gordin.

Project Venus headquarter Tatlin, first floor. By Gordin, Buenos Aires, 2003.

Venus member at Tatlin.

Trip to Tandil during Venus Last Biennale.

ZAT Temporary Autonomous Zone Experimental Societies Area, Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas. UBA Buenos Aires University. Buenos Aires, 2004.

ZAT, the neo situationist concept of Hakim Bey, was turned into real during five hours, each Saturday through 2004. A conversation based practice that debated over self organization, the argentine experiences since 2001, new social forms or the utopic theories. Two books resulted from the proceedings recorded in each session: La imaginaci贸n del detalle y Jornadas Fourier, both published by EUDEBA

Sampler Laboratory, 99 artists at 99ยบ C. With Kiwi Sainz. Bahrein, Buenos Aires, 2005.

A put together of almost hundred young artists from every field in a single night.

Gaston box: Drum & Box

Darkroom Performance for a lonely viewer, installation of variable dimensions and 8-channel video, 56 minutes. 15 Performers, masks and an infrared camera. With Lee Towndrow, Daniel Joglar, Leandro Tartaglia, Marcelo Savignone and others. Malba, Buenos Aires, 2005

At the entrance of the performance space some hosts waited the visitors and trained them to use an infrared video camera before they led them to the darkroom (17 by 8 meters) one at the time. Each visitor was left alone for about five minutes, during wich he or she could see only through the lens of the camera and walk through an absolutely dark space occupied by geometric objects and twelve performers. All of them were wearing identical masks that prevented them to see, thus their movements were slow but strangely coordinated, like they were a different species performing the actions of life, from the most ordinary and seemingly irrelevant to the most dramatic and exciting. The visitor was put in the place of a custodian holding the power of vision but also in the role of the video artist given that they were recording their experience.


Chastity Micropolitical experiment and docu-fiction video, 16 minutes. Authors: Roberto Jacoby and Syd Krochmalny; with Daniel Rosenfeld, Kiwi Sainz, Rosana Schoijett. Buenos Aires, 2006-2007.

In August 2006 the authors (24 and 62 years respectively) signed a contract under which they would share a year of life, study, pleasure and economic resources in a state of chastity, a master-disciple relationship according to the tradition of the Athenian culture. This life together resulted in readings, meetings and the video of the same name, in which this relationship is fictionalized in the manner of platonic dialogues.

Nahuel Perez Biscayart and Harry Havilio.

1968, I buckle you bum 28 pieces printed in Inkjet and silkscreen on cotton linters paper, 90 x 70 cm. Appetite Gallery, Buenos Aires, 2008.

In the fiftieth aniversary of the crucial year of 1968 the press and institutions celebrated the countercultural movements and political rebellions by misappropiating them. As a comment on this operation the author selects 28 documents of its activities on that year by overprinting arbitrarily texts from different authors, periods and genres. Most of these writings are fragments of songs from the author.

Donations Operation. Casts of sculptures. With Fernanda Laguna. Villa Fiorito, Buenos Aires, 2008.

The operation was to make a donation of a set of replicas from the Museum of replicas “Carlos De la Cárcova” (since 1927), which contains casts of works from classical antiquity to the Renaissance to the neighborhood Villa Fiorito. These five pieces were installed as a new Museum of replicas in a cultural center near the stream of the Riachuelo, one of the most polluted areas in the world. The emblematic piece was the foot of Michelangelo’s David, installed on a pedestal outside that turned rapidly in a landmark. At the same time, the Museum of Villa Fiorito made a gift to the De la Cárcova Museum its first piece of art of the twentieth century, the replica “Fig de vigne femelle” of Marcel Duchamp, which now appears in his collection. The agreement was signed during a ceremony on November 28 of 2008 and the Museum of Villa Fiorito Calcos opened in January 2009.


The Elevator Workshop and video. Kiosko Juvenil, Laferrere and Espacio Telef贸nica, Buenos Aires, 2009.

At the Kiosko Juvenil, a venue for teens in risk situation, in the borough of Laferrere, Buenos Aires Province, a short video and photo workshop trains nine boys and girls that will be invited to a contemporary art space to make their own piece. During the workshop it arises that they have never be in an elevator. So it is decided to make stories around the elevator of the art space. Te wholo video is recorded by the students who never did that before.

El ascensor, Espacio Fundaci贸n Telef贸nica, 2009.

The soul never thinks without an image Operation. 29a. Biennial of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2010. With Argentina’s for Dilma International Brigade: P. Bugni, S. Krochmalny, H. D. Joglar, F. Hippolitti, M. Scafati, S. Villanueva, A. Longoni, N. Marchiano, F. Laguna, C. Szalkowicz, A. Ros, L. Aufgang, L. Rubinich, J. Ramírez, J. Fernandez Vega and other.

The 29th. Bienal de Sao Paulo, which was convened under the motto of “art and politics”, coincided with a crucial presidential election campaign in Brazil. The point of the piece was to explore the relationship between art and politics in real time. Two giant images of the candidates seemed to show their souls through their faces, a colorful Dilma and bitter José Serra, his rival on the right. Twenty five Argentinean artists, who traveled specially, philosophers, poets, historians, sociologists and musicians, installed an electoral center in constant activity that turned the exhibition space into recreational and educational workshop for the Biennale public. They printed posters, T-shirts and campaign buttons, songs were improvised and played, organized debates, children’s activities were conducted by a magician, an open microphone as well as paper and colors were available to the public. Sadly enough, the Brazilian electoral law forbade any advertising except for radio and TV. So the curators suspended the work until elections were over.


El deseo nace del derrumbe Show at the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, 2011.

An immaterial and heterogeneous body of work is shown through different types of archive, one of them cabinet of curiosities. By showing the material detritus, mixing fake and real documents, turning hard to view the images, carefully indexing irrelevant papers, the installation refers to the infinite possibilities o impossibility of recover the experience of certain works.

The red thread of history Donation. 400 bills of 5 Euros, marble pedestal, text. 11 Lyon Biennial. France, 2011

It was announced that the 400 bills of 5 Euros, available for the public would be also donated at the end of the Biennale at the Maison d’Izieu, an institution dedicated to preserving the memory of 44 Jewish children, detained and deported by order of the head of the Gestapo local, Klaus Barbie, who after the defeat of the Nazis, works for the victors, is supported by the Catholic Church to travel to Argentina. There’s also a wall text explaining the historical thread linking Lyon with the author.

Auction Market operation. Different sizes black curtains, floor pad, audio loop, poster. In collaboration with Alejandro Ros. An appropriation of a “dead space” located between two “official” galleries so that’s where they set up their own off-official gallery: De’ll Pete Gallery, also outside the map of the Fair of 2011. ArteBA Fair. Buenos Aires, 2011-2012.

At the stand 3 x 1.20 m., without illumination, behind a black curtain, were displayed along arteBA 2011 edition, works by renowned artists such as Carlos Herrera, winner of Petrobras award, Mariela Scafati and Lux Lindner, among others who were currently exhibiting at the fair. Towards the end of 2011 arteBA edition, Sunday May, 22 works were auctioned in the audience. A year later, in the edition arteBA 2012, the gallery illegally entered the commercial circuit transformed into “Auction”, a work entitled as a commercial piece for Castagnino Roldán Gallery. For this reason, the piece has been registered within the genre “commercial conceptualism.” In October 2011, Nahuel Vidal Ortiz of the auction house Roldan invited artists Roberto Jacoby and Alejandro Ros to present the gallery of Pete’ll inside Castagnino Roldan s stand during arteBA in it s 2012 edition.

Play my rock Stone record. Stone, cable, laser print, memory stick. 13 songs. Axel Krygier, Francisco Garamona, Dani Umpi, Pablo Dacal, Gabo Ferro, Mostrance, Patricio Bisso, Sergio Pángaro, Rudie Martínez, Alejandro Ros, Nacho Marchiano. Buenos Aires, 1983-2012 The research for the Reina Sofia show “El deseo nace del derrumbe” found many unpublished lyrics, dating from the 80’s to the early 2000. Ten singers and composers, friends and collaborators in many other projects, were asked to compose songs that were presented at the show. In 2012 an edition of 50 was issued. The record is a post DVD device and a work in itself.


Document’s translation

A Mass-Mediatic Art 1966 Roberto Jacoby, Eduardo Costa, and Raul Escari In a civilization dominated by the mass media, the public has no direct contact with cultural events, only with information about them in the media. The mass media’s audiences do not view an art exhibition, nor do they witness a happening or attend a soccer game; instead, they receive reports of these spectacles in news broadcasts. Thus, real artistic events lose their importance because they reach only a very few people due to a lack of dissemination. “To distribute two thousand copies of a work, in a big modern city, is the same as shooting into the air and waiting for the pigeons to fall from the sky,” Nam-June-Paik once said. The truth is that the consumers of information do not care if an exhibition is carried out or not; the only thing that matters is the image of the artistic event re-built by the mass media. Today’s art (especially Pop Art) occasionally brings into play elements and techniques taken from the media, isolating them from their natural context ([Roy] Lichtenstein or D’Arcangelo’s route charts, for instance.) Unlike Pop Art, we intend to concoct a work “inside” those media. We intend to give the press a written report, illustrated with photographs, about a happening that has never occurred. This false report will include the names of the participants and an indication of the time and place where the would-be happening was carried out, along with a description of the alleged spectacle and photographs of the alleged participants taken in different circumstances. Thus, from the mode of transmitting the information—from the mode of “carrying out” the nonexistent event—and from the divergences between the different versions presented by the various broadcasters—, the meaning of the work will emerge: it is a work whose existence begins the moment the viewer’s conscience realizes that it has already ended. Therefore, this is a threefold creation: • the writing of the false report; • the broadcasting of the report through the information channels;1 • its reception by the viewer, who—on the basis of the transmitted data and according to the meaning these acquire—bestows consistency on an nonexistent reality considered as factual.

1. The versions differ according to the channels that transmit the news.

We thus take a characteristic of the mass media to its ultimate consequences: divesting the object of its reality. In this way, we privilege the moment of the work’s transmission over that of its constitution. Creation here consists in handing over the work’s constitution to its transmission. Today the work of art is the product of a process that begins with the (traditional) making of the work and goes on until it becomes material transmitted by the mass media. Now we are proposing a “work of art” in which the moment of the making disappears. Hence, the work becomes a commentary on the fact that it actually is a pretext to launch the process of information. From the viewer’s perspective, there are two possible readings for this kind of work. On the one hand, that of the viewer who trusts the media and believes what he sees; on the other, that of the viewer in the know, previously warned about the nonexistence of a work whose news is being broadcast. Thus, the possibility of a new genre emerges, a mass-mediatic art, in which what really matters is not “what is said,” but the media itself as media, as subject-matter. Furthermore, the report prepares the addressees for the second reading by warning some of them and thus creating the first step of the works we announced.

“Un arte de los medios de comunicación”.. Rpt. in Inverted Utopias, Maricarmen Ramirez y Héctor Olea, Yale University Press (2000), 531.


Scale Model for a Work of Art There are two ways of looking at this work: as a work by itself, with a certain aesthetic value, and as a work that elicits aesthetic feelings because of the ideas it inspires. In this work, there are two ideas that may produce this aesthetic feeling: on one hand, the idea of the “work of art” (big spheres inscribed into a prism); on the other, a work that is a scale model of a “work of art.” This refers to the fact that the “true” work of art is constructed by the viewer on the basis of the data which is provided. This also asserts that a work never made, halfway made or impossible to make may be as important as a work already built or that may be built, that the idea of the work of art is more important than its making. The difference with other scale models by sculptors or architects is given by the fact that this is a project that was interrupted intentionally and that, ultimately, is only going to be made up on the viewer’s mind. It is a finished work about an unfinished work, if we take into consideration that the total work would include, in addition to the plan and the scale model, the final sculpture in full size. There is a new kind of participation for the audience, psychological rather than physical, which consists of imagining the work in full size, of mentally changing the scale. The enclosed drawing (a plan) repeats in two dimensions the same idea in the work (a scale model). Work by Roberto Jacoby, presented at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires. 1966.


Automatic Circuit (first work for telephone circuits). A. Signs are posted all over a city. They include pictures of a man and of a woman, and a telephone number. B. The number is from a telephone that is connected to a tape recorder which automatically starts playing upon receiving a call signal. On the tape, with a voice as neuter as possible, the following text is recorded: “The fact that you called shows that you have read a small sign that includes pictures of a man and of a woman and a telephone number. Thus you have closed a communication circuit that started when you read the signs and finishes now. This is an automatic answering machine. When your call arrives it is connected automatically to the tape in which this text is recorded. Thus the usual structure of telephone communication has been changed. All the information flows your way. Indifferent to anything you may say. But this circuit does not report anything. It only speaks about itself and you may continue listening or may interrupt the communication. My name is Roberto Jacoby and the automatic answering machine was installed and made by Victor Zavalía.” The first moments has the intimate and personal characteristics of a forbidden, mysterious message. This first message points out to the receiving person to a second message, to try a new instance of communication triggered by the first one. On moment B, the situation is different, the structure of telephone communication has been changed, because the information circulates in only one way (as in mass communication on the radio, television, the press). English Version by Maricarmen Ramírez


Parameters (tribute to John Cage) Project Tv channel. Roberto Jacoby based on the idea of JC. The transmission is performed at the highest hours of rating points as possible. A program is being interrupted. The screen remains white and for several seconds nothing is heard. Then: You were watching a show ‌. or maybe you just turned on the TV Don’t worry keep looking at the screen is white but also hear the sound it makes this device did you hear it before? Silence. Now listen carefully the noise produced around you your sofa or a relative creaks slightly Some electronic device is working a refrigerator or maybe the blender or is it the elevator moving possibly you receive noises from the street. Silence Get up, walk a few meters and change the channel If your machine cost you over 68 thousand pesos try all channels before returning to us If it cost between 50 and 60 skip every one of two channels if instead you paid between 40 and 50 skip two out of three channels stop at each program until you identify its gender and then get back to us. Silence

In electronic white letters Take your radio and turn it on perform the same operations you have made with your TV but looking at the black screen Silence This situation is not usual for you But you can habituate If not, you have to make a choice and wait before changing channels you’ve already seen some of the possibilities on display Do it Brief silence

All possible modifications and distortions should be done from the channel, in equal time lapses: horizontal, vertical, snow, using two cameras one in white and one in black, etc‌ 15 minutes ago, you started watching the white screen there are only 5 left to finish this program and for regular images to come back at that time lapse think about their differences. Also think about the difference between your status as a viewer and the one existing when you’re at the movies or on the phone or reading the newspaper. Silence Consider the distance between the TV stations issuing this program and its receiver also meditate about all distances between the receiver and all the people who right now are watching this program

Now consider why there is people who made this show and why people allowed them to do so. Silence There are 10 seconds left “ “ 9 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ is 1 “ to complete

Think about why you don’t consider television as art, why do you believe that a literary work, a painting, a theater play is a work of art and why television or reading the morning newspaper is not art, and why you feel emotionality, pleasure, totality while reading a newspaper John Cage dictated conferences about nothing or something This is a lecture about John Cage on TV on what you are watching on me whom you can’t see you just can see a white screen or a black screen doesn’t this make you think about that screen itself when you can see all kinds of moving images you can’t see me being at the same city but as soon as this program ends you will see general westmorland speaking about him defending the Ke sanh base and the Vietcong guerrillas attacking the U.S. embassy in Saigon but you can’t see me doesn’t this make you think about everything that television can you can see the persecution of a murderer above the city roofs at the same time that police haunts and shoots on them all while staying at home and hearing us while sitting in your house Soon you will see yourself

You will be able to record your own image and play it as often as you need on your device you will be able to record programs and play them as often as desired Television will be no longer a passive machine Is it now?


Message at The Di Tella This message is addressed to the small group of creators, simulators, critics and promoters; this is, to those who are committed with their talent, intelligence, their economic interest or status, or stupidity, to the so called “avant-garde art.” To those that methodically attempt to have their “cultural shower” at the Di Tella and to the general public. The avant-garde is the current of thought that constantly denies art and constantly recognizes history. In this path of simultaneous affirmation and denial, art and life have become intertwined to until they became inseparable. All the phenomena in social life have become aesthetic material: fashion, industry and technology, mass media, etc. “There is not any more aesthetic contemplation because aesthetics dissolve into social life.” Thus, there is an ever-present fight, necessary, bloody and beautiful, for the creation of the new world. And the avant-garde cannot avoid asserting history, asserting the just and heroic violence of this fight. The future of art is not linked to the creation of artworks, but to the definition of new life concepts; and the artist becomes the propagandist for these concepts. “Art” is not relevant at all: what matters is life. This is the history of the years to come. It is the creation of the most gigantic collective work of art in history: the conquest of the earth, of the liberty by mankind. Roberto Jacoby


Roberto Jacoby. Selection 1966-2012  

Selection of actions, works and texts.

Roberto Jacoby. Selection 1966-2012  

Selection of actions, works and texts.