Our Space is Our Time : preliminary report on Latin American new artistic practices.
Author: Miguel Rojas-Sotelo
Miguel Rojas-Sotelo (Colombia) is a PhD candidate in Contemporary Art and Theory at the University of Pittsburgh, Department of History of Art and Architecture. Additionally, he has completed PhD certificates in Cultural Studies and Latin American Studies. As visual artist, independent curator and public officer he had organized several exhibitions of Contemporary Art; as Director of Visual Arts for the Ministry of Culture of Colombia (1997-2001) worked in the development, planning and application of Cultural policy in his home country. He has a degree in Visual Arts from the Universidad de los Andes (sub majors in history and philosophy) and a graduate certificate in Cultural Management from the Universidad del Rosario, both in Bogotá.
Living in the United States for the last five years I have had the opportunity to interact with different stadiums of the art world. However, since I am there, finishing a PhD in art history and cultural studies, my most direct experience has been through the classroom. As student and instructor, I had experienced the lack of representation and for instance of basic knowledge of a universe of artistic and critical production coming from the south. Why is that Latin American Artists, collectives, critics, thinkers, etc., rarely appear in surveys of Modern Art published in the West? And, is that happening with the contemporary production as well?
Conversely, it is the case. It is not necessary to get into the discussion of what kind of knowledge is recognized by the institutions, the archive or the repertoire. Diana Taylor has worked these concepts and helps to underline many of the issues relevant to such debate. According to her it is clear that certain knowledge is connected to a " performativity ", where the body, not the object or the document, is at the center of the production of sense. Being not fully accepted by the instruments of legitimization of knowledge, the archive, most of its richness lays beyond the hegemonic world. 1 Taylor's insistence in understanding America as a hemisphere and not as series of fragmented regions, groups of, or individual countries is something else to take into account; we live in a geographical misunderstanding. As a matter of fact she has created the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics that has been addressing the multiple ways performance (as an open concept) intervene in the political scenarios of the continent. 2 However, the debate on the invisibility of such production goes way beyond the art apparatus and its institutions. From the art academy, the gallery, the museum, etc., to the constitution of nation states and the global order. The invisibility of an entire cultural, critical, and artistic practice is prevalent in most documents used as texts-books on modern art in the American academia. Let's name just two of them: Arnason's History of Modern Art ; Hunter's Modern Art; and the recent Art Since 1900 , by the October collective. 3 These show scarce Latin American Art entries, few pages (not even a chapter) account for the artistic production of a region/culture/community that has fully participated in the constitution of the modern world order. It is not necessary to demonstrate how labor, row materials, and knowledge produced by these communities from the colonial era to our days have contributed to the boom of the economies, culture, science, of the West-North axis of hegemonic power.
On the absence, in the American academy, of major texts by Latin American scholars on the issue of our own modernity and with the apparent centrality of the theme during and after the postmodern critique, I will set the case for an alternative art history for Latin America using some documents and events on hand in the North. In order to explain why its production has been leave aside, I will use some examples that establish important moments exploring the participation of the region in the constitution of the modern age. In doing that, I will comment on the omissions and on the potentials to establish a more balanced art narratives for the region. Additionally, I will report on some of the new artistic practices born after those of the 1970s. These new ways to produce art has called for new definitions on the concept of modernity and what is now called contemporaneity. Nevertheless, it is important to clarify that Latin America as a whole is a complex object of study; several geographical regions with its own languages and dialects, ethnic backgrounds, simultaneity of historical times - uneven modernizations called by García Canclini, living side by side. Comprising not only continental America (from Southern US to Argentina), but also the Caribbean and the Pacific insular life the region cannot be treated reductively. It is necessary to understand Latin American history as a series of tales about places and peoples entrenched in a battle against time-frames. Denied by the archive for being living experience of knowledge, in many cases they are not able to penetrate efficiently the structure of the systems of knowledge.
Figure 1 . Rene Fracisco a Cuban artist as social worker. Romerillo neighborhood, Havana 2006.
In 1996, David Craven wrote an article titled," The Latin American Origins of Alternative Modernism". In it he argues that since "international modernism is a universal hegemony, a form of imperial claim, introducing any discourse that could compete with it is almost impossible". 4 Nonetheless, thanks to a revaluation in the modern discourse exercised by the postmodern critique (with roots in counter and anti-modern discourses and artistic practices during the 19 th and 20 th century) today it is possible to come into terms with modernism. Craven emphasizes how the modernist contradictions are marked by a plurality of divergent tendencies that constituted both progressive and regressive moments simultaneously. He informs that the first art historians that introduced an Alternative modernism for Latin America (working from the U.K) were Oriana Baddeley and Valerie Fraser. In their Drawing the Line: Art and identity in Contemporary Latin America (1989) they offer an open reading of the region from the end of colonialism, the beginning of the republican era to the constitution of the modern states. They based their reading on the persistent representation of landscapes, politics, and a particular Latin American surrealism. Craven, however, argues that what is needed is a postcolonial Latin-American discourse born from a non-European and anti-colonial critique that could underline an alternative modernism. His argument is illustrated and supported by Ruben Dario's use of the term " Modernismo ". Early in his life, during the 1880s and 1890s Dario describes a set of artistic attitudes in the work of writers (in particular one, the Mexican Roberto Contreras) as " modernismo ". These attitudes showed a hybrid fusion of European and non-European styles, the use of pre-Columbian sources, and an awareness of historical time. Dario became an advocate of pre-Columbian traditions and his work was a clear anti-colonial reaction against Spanish (Castilian) academicism. He was, in any case, influenced by late 19 th century French Symbolism and the Parnassians. 5
Dario believed that poetry in "Nuestra América" (Our America) is located in the past. "Nuestra America" was an expression used by José Martí as combative anti-colonial phrase, written during the Cuban struggle for independence it called for a multi-ethnical and cultural resistance (the term has been used by the Cuban Revolution later on). 6 In 1905, Dario writes against the new imperialist enterprise in the Americas, in his "Cantos de Vida y Esperanza" ("Songs of Life and Hope") he dedicate a poem to Roosevelt - the one who revive the Monroe doctrine taking over the Philippines and then Panama).
"To Roosevelt" by Rubén Darío ( 1905)
The voice that would reach you, Hunter, must speak
in Biblical tones, or in the poetry of Walt Whitman.
You are active and modern, simple and complex;
you are one part George Washington and one part Nimrod.
You are the United States, future invader of our naive America
with its Indian blood, an America
that still prays to Christ and still speaks Spanish.
You are a strong, proud model of your race;
you are cultured and able; you oppose Tolstoy.
You are an Alexander-Nebuchadnezzar,
breaking horses and murdering tigers.
(You are a Professor of Energy,
as the current lunatics say).
You think that life is a fire, that progress is an eruption.
that the future is wherever
your bullet strikes.
The United States is grand and powerful.
Whenever it trembles, a profound shudder
runs down the enormous backbone of the Andes.
If it shouts, the sound is like the roar of a lion.
And Hugo said to Grant: "The stars are yours."
(The dawning sun of the Argentine barely shines; the star of Chile is rising ... )
A wealthy country, joining the cult of Mammon to the cult of Hercules;
while Liberty, lighting the path
to easy conquest, raises her torch in New York.
But our own America, which has had poets
since the ancient times of Nezahualcoyotl;
which preserved the footprints of great Bacchus,
and learned the Panic alphabet once,
and consulted the stars; which also knew Atlantis
(whose name comes ringing down to us in Plato)
and has lived, since the earliest moments of its life,
in light, in fire, in fragrance, and in love
the America of Moctezuma and Atahualpa,
the aromatic America of Columbus,
Catholic America, Spanish America,
the America where noble Cuauhtemoc said:
"I am not on a bed of roses"-our America,
trembling with hurricanes, trembling with Love:
0 men with Saxon eyes and barbarous souls,
our America lives. And dreams. And loves.
And it is the daughter of the Sun. Be careful.
Long live Spanish America!
A thousand cubs of the Spanish lion are roaming free.
Roosevelt, you must become, by God's own will,
the deadly Rifleman and the dreadful Hunter,
before you can clutch us in your iron claws.
And though you have everything, you are lacking one thing:
Indeed, it is not possible to equate Dario's " Modernismo " with Baudelaire's "M odernite." Dario's term supported an anti-colonial and pre-Columbian tradition using some Western artistic values. On the other hand, Baudelaire's proposition is about living styles in late 19 th Paris. Baudelaire defines modernity, not modernism, as a social and cultural condition attached to the life in an urban setting and its economic implications (the crowd and the man of the world on his own terms). Their realities, their space and time are different.
By the second half of the 20 th century the region became central in the struggles of the Cold War. The so-called Latin American boom of the 1960s and 70s challenges any other moment of its recent history, including the Mexican Revolution. Initially in politics, because of the Cuban Revolution and the leftist revolutions at large, then in Literature, and later on in the visual Arts; the impact was great in terms of consumption of Latin American cultural products in the US and European markets, putting the region in the cultural map in the 1980s and 1990s. Paradoxically it came attached to a collapse of the financial systems; high-debts, inflation, and failure of the developmental and modernizing policies (the so-called dependence theory -the Alliance for Progress in addition to corruption and the dictatorships helped the collapse). Ironically, it is the moment of the constitution of major art collections of Latin American modern art; the Cisneros' collection is the emblem of this practice in the region. 8
A series of exhibitions were organized in the North attending the booming market and in reaction to the "cultural wars" taking place in the US which had affected the art market and the visual production during the 1970s and 80s. It is relevant to remember Alfred Barr's American Sources of Modern Art , exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1932s. Barr had shown pre-Columbian pieces in connection to modernism; it was one of the first events that introduced the region in core discussions on the issue. Since the mid-1960s many exhibitions took place in New York and Washington, organized by multilateral organisms such as OAS (Organization of American States) or the IDB (Inter American Development Bank). Latin America the Art of the Fantastic, organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1987 presented the region as equated to the magic realism of its literature. In 1989, D. Addes organized Art of Latin America in London, the first survey in Europe. The celebrations surrounded the 500 anniversary of European presence in the continent promoted a series of exhibitions, forums, publications, etc. In 1992, America: Bride of the Sun held at the Royal Museum of Art in Antwerp (interesting cross-crossing between the baroque and the contemporary) and Cross-Currents: four pioneers of modern art. Rivera, Torres-García, Lam, and Matta at the Smithsonian in Washington (it underlined their participation in the avant-garde years, their impact on those movements and in their countries), among others. Conversely, the most important of all was Waldo Rasmussen's Latin American Artists of the 20 th Century organized by the Museum of Modern Art New York in 1993. Using MoMA's collection and power it sat the tone for future references. Here it is important to underline the role played by Nelson Rockefeller, who was during several decades (from mid 1940s on) involved in Latin American politics as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, helping to formulate and implement President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Good Neighbor" policy, later on as chairman of the International Development Advisory Board on Aid to Underdeveloped Countries with Truman; in the meantime collecting art from the region and being an influential trustee of the museum. After it, many other exhibitions had followed and some "mainstream art historians" have produced survey-texts on Latin American Art (Edward Lucie-Smith's L atin American Art of the 20 th Century in 1993 and Edward Sullivan's Latin American Art of the Twentieth Century in 1996 are some of them).
What is a surprise is that after the boom few references are found in the most popular modern art surveys (I mean the written and produced after 1992). Only partial, many times fragmentary and indeed derivative accounts appear. The exceptions are fragmental references to Mexican Revolutionary Murals, names like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (because of their impact on American Modernism), or Wifredo Lam and Roberto Matta for their affiliation to Surrealism. It would be possible to argue that the lack of Latin American artists (not to mention, movements, collectives, critics and thinkers) in major accounts of modern art responds to many factors. I will name four of them: 1. The hegemonic discourse repels alterity . 2. The supposedly "derivative" condition of Latin American Art. 3. The cultural stereotypes placed on the region. 4. The retarded reaction of art history with respect to postmodern and postcolonial discourses. To answer these imperatives Latin American artists and critics have reacted.
Fist of all, it was Gerardo Mosquera who in his introduction to Beyond the Fantastic (1995), one of the only anthologies on Latin American modern and contemporary art published in English, establishes a complete account of the first generation of genuine Latin American Art criticism. Mosquera argues that during the 1960s the first theories of modern and contemporary art were written by Marta Traba, Juan Acha, Aracy Amaral, Mirko Lauer, Federico Morais, Mario Pedrosa, among others. They became the main voice starting a critical reading of the art of Latin America. Conditioned by post-structuralism, cultural studies, postmodern and postcolonial awareness the new theoretical work separates itself from literary criticism and abandon its search for identity to focus in vernacular and endemic production. In the same direction, the "derivative" condition of Latin American Art is embraced.
Second, the space of liminality where Latin America seems to live is where the quotational takes place. Quotation, derivation, forgery, and copy are recognized as the bases of production (like in the Colonial baroque) and become the first art theories in the region. Later the vernacular-constructionist, mestizo, and hybridize aesthetics informed by anthropology, sociology, and cultural criticism follow (the anthropophagic legacy of O. de Andrade, R. Ortiz transcultural production, and García-Canclini's hybridization support them).
Third, the new criticism makes the stereotypical image of Latin America enters in crisis. The search for identity ends in a sort of auto-reflexivity that signals the end and the limit of the modern project in the region. The modern discourse used to put the region on the other side of the dialectic: Modern / Traditional; Civilize / Primitive; Progressive / Retarded, Secular / Tribal, Individual / Collective, etc. 9 After recognizing it, the challenge was (is) to move towards a more open and deep understanding of the artistic practices.
Fourth, this new generation of Latin American critics (and the ones that follow them) was less preoccupied with methods and art historical debates than with making a coherent image of the art produced in the region. They used the social sciences, philosophy, history and cultural criticism in a clear multidisciplinary approach without entering in the formal disputes that retarded the process in other parts of the continent (it is clear how a bitter reaction by the social art historians and the high formalist for cultural studies, postmodern and postcolonial discourses in the US retarded the inscription of alternative narratives of art production in art criticism and art history during 1970s and 1980s).
These factors have opened up the possibilities for Latin American artists, critics, and curators to interact more horizontally (in terms of Mosquera) in the new internationalism of late 20 th century. In addition, Area Studies in the American academia (from the 1960s on) had provided resources to do research making possible to circulate (among academics embedded in the region) the work of many of these critics. In fact, the most impressive art survey of Latin American Art coming form the U.S was produced by senior Latin American Art professor Jaqueline Bartnitz. Twenty Century Art of Latin America (University of Texas, Austin, 2001) is a book-length survey good in quality and content. It is conventional in terms of a survey, making it more valuable for undergraduate studies. Exploring in depth late 19 th and early 20 th century production creates an interesting tension with main stream narratives. The second half of the century opens with a reference on Peruvian Jose Carlos Mariategui's Indigenist theory and Jose Sabogal as the artist who embraced it. Bartnitz uses the work of some members of the prolific generation of critics (Ferreira Gullar, Jorge Romero Brest, Raquel Tibol, among others.) and the artists and movements they worked with. In 2004, a survey exhibition of Latin American Avant-Garde art took place in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. " Inverted Utopias ", curated by Mary Carmen Ramirez and Hector Olea, has used the term 'inverted' to define the utopian character of Latin American Avant-Garde (from 1920 to 1980). The curators argue that Latin American art of the 20 th century is not derivative but autonomous in its development. That after a first contact (or influence) with major western art movements it developed its own characteristics. Dividing Latin America's art in six "constellations" (perhaps following Enwezor's Documenta11 structure) they introduced the term network to underline the cross-crossing of production from one nation to another (and between continents), almost in a hemispheric connection. Unfortunately (or fortunately), today the interest of area studies is on other regions of the world more important for US foreign policy.
It is clear how today exhibitions and publications that explore Contemporary Art in global terms take into account the work of artist coming from the region. There is easy to find names such as, Alfredo Jar, Doris Salcedo, José Bedia, Guillemo Kuitca, Jorge Pardo, Gabriel Orozco, Carlos Capelan, Kacho, Tunga, etc. Latin American curators work now in a global scale, Mosquera, Herkenhoff, Perez-Oramas, Basualdo, Pedrosa, Mesquita, Roca, and Ramirez among others. Nonetheless, one of the problems foreseen by intellectuals such as John Beverly, is the possibility of neutralization of difference and the risk of an ideology of 'pluralism' of global dimensions in the contemporary era that accept difference without changing the status quo ( The Postmodern Debate, 1995). The neutralization of old social conflicts under the mask of quotas is a risk that has to be faced. Hybrid identities replaced mestizo and ethno-cultural ones; Diaspora's and border cultures replace rural ones underlining the cosmopolitan dimension of practices that like performance address the new urban tribes and the rites of a contradictory modernity (as study by García-Canclini, Rosaldo, Gomez-Peña, Valenzuela, Taylor, and Herlinghaus). These alternative spaces in which artists and critics are producing points out new identities that are relational, performative, multiple, and polymorph; however, the constitution of a universal/global or a mimetic-internationalism can be counterproductive. It is necessary to focus in particular event-actions that if well respond to the new challenges of the times, recognized the root problems underlining the Latin American dilemma.
Contemporary authors understand the importance of study the liminal and alternative modernities and to explore the roots of modernism. Mosquera has called to look at the examples of Brazil (and its Tropicalia movement, now object of a tour show curated by C. Basualdo) and Cuba as paradigmatic places in which the local met the global in modern and contemporary times. 10 He reinforces the necessity to do in-depth research on the practices of art in an expanded symbolic field. He reminds us that the accent is located on the performative instead of on the representational. For example, Craven informs us of Ruben Dario's experiences in Barcelona at the beginning of the 20 th century and his face-to-face interaction with Gaudi, Picasso, and Rivera. This contact with different levels of modernisms (Gaudi's Catalan Modernism of ruins, fragments, and catholic socialism; Picasso's pre-and-post cubist painting and his anti-colonial anarchism; and Rivera's Anahuac cubism in service of the Mexican Revolution) helps to shape Latin American modernism and its Contemporary cultural production.
Emancipating History, a well known case
Antropofagia has been a powerful artistic strategy, introduced in the 1920s by a group of Brazilian artist and intellectuals and used by artists along the century. Oswald de Andrade's literary and critical work is, perhaps, the clearest stream of Brazilian modernism in the arts. The " Manifiesto Antropofagico " (Cannibal Manifesto) of 1928 is based on the narrative of cannibalistic practices by the Tupinamba Indigenous of Brazil that became legendary in their struggle against the European invaders. It is clear the connections the manifesto have with other anti-modernist writings of this time (without taking into account Ruben Dario's own work); the futurist manifesto of Marinetti in 1909, the sequence of Dada publications (Picabia's two issues of the magazine Cannibale in 1920 for example), the Russian Rayonists (Larionov and Goncharova's Why-We-Paint-Our-Faces manifesto), and Breton' manifesto of surrealism of 1924 (and the series of surrealist publications). The repudiation of modernism in Brazil came to criticize one of the failures on the modernizing project during the celebration of the one-hundred anniversary of independence from Portugal in 1922 with the celebration of what was called the " semana de arte moderna " (the Week of Modern Art).
The history of cannibalism is well known in the continent. During the first and second voyages of Christopher Columbus cannibalism was recorded. 11 The crew encountered a group of indigenous -the Carib , who described their ritual activities that had as apex the consumption of human flesh.
Monday, 17 December 1492
T he Indians mixed freely with us and brought some arrows that belonged to the people of the Caniba, the Canibales. These arrows are quite long, made of spikes of canes; they use little sharp, hardened sticks for their tips. The Indians showed us two men who had lost some chunks of flesh from their bodies and said that the Canibales had bitten out the pieces. I do not believe this. 12
The term cannibal comes from the misspelling by part of the Europeans of the word Carib , which becomes Canib - Cannibal. Another version says that as early as 1520 Spanish texts considered the etymology of the word "Cannibale" and concluded that it was derived from the Latin canis --"dog". 13 However, the Latin form of cannibalism is anthropophagi, used more frequently by anthropologists. Since Montaigne's text " Des cannibals " written in 1580 this view of nature vs. reason (space vs. time) is forced. Montaigne subliminally refers to these two traditions by equating the culture of the discoverers with a mechanistic dimension and by describing the concept of Nature found with the Cannibals in holistic-organicist terms. "These people (cannibals) are wild in the same as we say that fruits are wild, when nature has produced them by herself and in her ordinary way; whereas, in fact, it is those that we have artificially modified, and removed from the common order that we ought to call wild. In the former, the true, most useful, and natural virtues and properties are alive and vigorous; in the latter we have bastardized them, and adapted them only to the gratification of our corrupt taste". 14
Images produced in Europe, as consequence of Montaigne's text, such as Goya's portfolios of prints and his Saturn Devouring His Sons , and Gericault's Raft of the Medusa are good examples of the centrality of the theme in the European imaginary during its modern constitution. 19 th century accounts of cannibalism underline the dialectical notion of savagery vs. civilized connecting the colonial project to the construction of an "exotic other". 15 This western construct is at the base of what Anibal Quijano conceives as " Colonialidad del Poder " (coloniality of power). In his work Quijano offers a picture of the world-system and its Euro-centric epistemologies. According to Quijano, the production of a world system of classification has its origin in America. It is product of three axes: capitalism, race, and the nation-state. Colonialism (can be seen as economic and political cannibalism) was a structure of control over space and time that had created a socio-economic classification based on race and a political unit - the foundation of the modern nation state. 16 After the independence in Latin America, the system kept working at the bases of the new nation states reinforcing the equation in systems of internal colonialism. Homogenization, instead of diversity, was the premise to build a prosper nation-state (reproducing the North-West program). Racial cleansing and the opening of borders for white-European émigrés was the strategy (the South Cone achieve a quiet large success in this regard). However, the persistence of the racial mixture that had started with Columbus's policy of colonial settlements and the impossibility of total homogenization only brought frustration for the new rulers. The white elites kept control over territories and maintained the colonial masked as modern republics.
At the beginning of the 20 th century, the cultural hegemony in Brazil was white-European. Oswaldo de Andrade, trained in Europe, returned to Brazil during the last years of World War I and with a group of writers, painters, and musicians (Candido Portinari, Mario de Andrade, and Tarcila do Amaral among others) had an active role in the events of the semana de arte moderna . They wanted to commemorate the real Brazilian culture in its centennial. Being trained abroad he understood their outsider condition with respect to, what he considered the decrepit European model. De Andrade embraced anthropophagi as the common denominator of their artistic practice; his objective was to establish a "national style". In the cover of the manifesto, a painting of a Brazilian flag (highly geometrical - a blue circle on a yellow square on a green rectangle) with the words "Pau Brazil" (the name of the tree from which the country was named of) replaced the motto "ordem e progreso" from the original one. In that way Tarcila, who made the illustrations connected nature and knowledge. This emblem, at the same time, connects Malevich suprematists exercises with Jasper Johns' early pop American flags (as nationalists interventions from art). Tarcila's work during the 1920s and 1930s shows the blending of local themes and European styles, through the introduction of tropical colors and endemic themes and content. Popular music, literature, and early film productions simultaneously affirmed national and cultural independence in a moment of political and economic modernization. 17
According to de Andrade's proposition, a nthropophagi offers Simultaneity as the coexistence of things and events at a given moment, and Polyphony as the fusion of artistic rhythms of two or more melodies contributing to a total final effect (as in Villa-Lobos' music). The "Música Popular Brasileira" (MPB Brasilian popular music) emerged during the 1920s sharing the same spirit. The Bossa-Nova constituted the best example of artistic anthropophagi in those early years -mixing Afro-Caribbean rhythms with American Jazz and blues launching Brazilian music to international awareness. Anthropophagi functions as an auto-ethnographic exercise produced in a zone of contact allowing auto-representations in the form others would represent them. 18
In his Hybrid Cultures : Strategies for entering and leaving modernity (1989) Nestor García Canclini makes reference to how Latin America had modernisms without an efficient modernization. He sees "waves" of modernization that brought an uneven development to the region (he emphasizes internal and external forces pre and post 1945). During the neo-concrete movement in Brazil (1950-60s), Tropicalia would have the same impact on the cultural production of the country (a wave of modernization). Derived from the title of one of Helio Oiticica's environments ( Tropicalia , 1967), Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil would establish Tropicalia as a musical movement that put on the map the new Brazilian music of the second half of the 20 th century (a mix of popular rhythms, Latin jazz, rock, psychedelic sounds and social lyrics). Veloso and Gil had to flee and exile because their political commitments during the dictatorship. That capacity of blending styles and technologies with popular aesthetics and languages to create self-representations intervening in metropolitan modes of understanding is characteristic of Latin American art. According to García-Canclini in this period, the old agro-industrial bourgeoisie in power (with help of the military and external forces combating the treat of communism) and the new multinational corporations were able to separate the public and the private spheres (in economic and cultural terms), having tremendous impact in the formation of modern Brazil. They created private and de-politicized art institutions; the Museums of modern Art in Rio (1947) and San Paulo (1948) and The Sao Paulo Biennale (1951), all under private control are examples of this trend. They placed attention to a modernizing project that supported the practice of a formalist modernism (the concrete movement had its first national exhibition in 1952 one year after the first Sao Paulo Biennale. It took place in the Museum of Modern Art in which Max Bill was invited). The increasing repression of the military regime pushed artists to work in pure abstract terms, at the same time it provided a space for the development of parallel practices that we know today for their theoretical and archival records. 19 They de-materialized the art object introducing the social body. Helio Oiticica and Ligya Clark are representatives of this transition (Antonio Dias and Ligia Pape are important also). Modernization had increased, now in the cities, the social inequalities. The early work of Oiticica shows how the Concrete project succumbs before the reality of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Art as a living space and organic architecture (or art a space of living) is present in his penetrable-installations of the 1960s. Clark's sculptures (derived from concrete exercises) resemble "living organisms." Her Cocoons and Bichos produced in late 50s and early 60s broke the rational and concrete nature. They required participation of the spectator, not only in visual but also in sensorial terms. These early works bring again the cannibalistic spirit at its full. Devouring (cannibalizing) European modernism, in particular constructivist and concrete art, Brazilians find a space of encounter in which the body, the performative, the ritualistic, and shamanic emerge.
This second waive of cannibalism counted with the participation of critics (Mario Pedrosa, Ferreira Gullar, and Ronaldo Brito) and the film-makers of the cinema novo (Gluber Rocha, Ruy Guerra, Cacá Diegues, Leon Hirzman, Paulo César Saraceni, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Roberto Farias, Roberto Santos, David Neves, Arnaldo Jabor, and Nelson Pereira do Santos). 20 They introduced issues like local versus global (Brazilian Western films of this period are a great example of this trend). It provoked series of interesting confrontations that took place not only in the artistic arena but also in the social and political environment of the country. It is important to recall that Brazil suffer one of the longest dictatorships, from 1964 to 1985. After this period a struggle to bring a real democracy is still underway, the recent victory of the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores) leaded by leftist José Ignacio Lula da Silva is another step in the quest to reach a greater recognition of the profound divide in Brazilian society. Even today Brazil is the country with the worst wealth distribution in the western hemisphere being one of the biggest economies of the world. 21
In 1998 Paulo Herkenoff and Mario Pedroza, curators of the 24th Sao Paulo Biennale resurfaced the cannibalistic tradition. To set the historical evidence of such tradition, they invited several views that from the western world could validate it. They looked at it historically, politically, aesthetically and artistically. Names such as Catherine David, Robert Storr, Dawn Ades, Donald Preziosi, among others participated. Brazilian scholar, Suely Rolnik explained how "antropofagia" is a form of radical quotation. She sustains that the organic, sexual, and erotic of Brazilian culture is its product. The carnivals in the Caribbean are its embodiment (actually carnival means the feast of meat / Carne + vale). Its practice pollutes not only local but also hegemonic practices (from Freud's Totem and Tabu, Picasso's interest in African aesthetics, to Cildo Meireles' Detour to Red cannibalizing Matisse's Red Studio , etc.). It is also a practice of survival; if well ingesting the body of the other is reproachable today, using its organs has become a good business - Brazil, as most of the world in development is before a emergency of organ trafficking. Recently it has been exposed by several reports in main stream media and even by movies such as Sthepen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things (2003) which undercover a traffic ring of organ traders in London with global implications. 22 According to Rolnik, anthropophagic artists operate in different levels: 1-Bastardazing the upper class culture (as in Meireles' installation). 2- De-territorializing the art practice that as a flow cannot map territories (as in Adriana Verejao' works). 3- As real primitives, completing one of the avant-garde tasks: to search ways to escape from the perverse industrial-bourgeois-modernization (as in Tunga). The margin is where its power resides, affirms Rolnik. Anyway, its practitioners are going to be treated as 'exotic', always moving across cities and jungles, museums, and the Internet (they do not respect any cultural hierarchy). As the multitude in Negri, anthropophagic artists come into terms with Empire. Exposing their otherness marks the anthropophagic strategy.
Figure 2 . Images from: Larry Rohter's "THE ORGAN TRADE: A Global Black Market; Tracking the Sale of a Kidney on a Path of Poverty and Hope". New York Times , May 23, 2004 and promotional image of the movie "Dirty Pretty Things" S. Frears, 2003.
A mestizo/liminal and alternative culture embodied these practices. Scholars like Michael Taussig or Chilean Ticio Escobar (that work in the margins of their own disciplines) comment on the practices of contemporary "natives". Tausig in his book Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man (1987) presents several examples of contemporary rituals in the Putumayo river valley and in the southern part of Colombia. Escobar's account of Guaranies (indigenous-mestizo of Northern Uruguay) explains how using modern technologies and accessories they interact with the white "other". Hybridizing and cannibalizing what they need to survive, "at the end of the day of work or trade they leave to be with their ancestors in the forest". 23 Mexican artist Miguel Calderon's photo series Evolution of Man (1995) clash the discourse of evolution and progress (the civilized/savage has become one). Colombian Jaime Avila fuses in his photo series and installations " Cuarto Mundo " (Fourth World) and " La vida es una pasarela " (Life is a Catwalk) the fashion world to homelessness and the world of art to images of popular neighborhoods in the megalopolis of the south.
Figure 3 . Miguel Calderon, "Evolution of Man" 1995.
Figure 4 . Jaime Avila from the series " La vida es una pasarela " (Life is a Catwalk), 2004. Helio Oiticica " Parangole " 1964.
Cannibalism, transculturación , and hybridization are not essentialist's dimensions; they are a way to approach the particularities of cultural practices of a diverse region of the world. Their legacy resonates in Latin America. Their presence is a ghost in the practices of new artists and in the rhetoric of new critics, curators and art historians. Gerardo Mosquera has said that to break with the "zones of silence" of globalization (that had produced curating and curated cultures) it is necessary to reverse the dynamics -an anthropophagic turn- using all its terrifying power. The postmodern debate in Latin America brought to the table cultural syncretism and eclecticism. Another way to understand it is throughout the lenses of hybridization and/or creolization. Through the 'carnivalesque' (in terms of Bathkin, Enwezor, and Zamudio-Taylor) the extravagant, the flamboyant, unstable and sometimes grotesque find a path to keep its inner cultural values in a context of constant homogenization. However, it is not an issue of celebration but of survival. It is at the same time a way to resist, share, and a way to hide.
Other Less Well Known Cases
" Tupi or not Tupi that is the question - We prefer the Carahiba revolution more that the French Revolution. Without us, the Europeans could not have their poor declaration of the right of men...." (Fragment of the anthropophagic manifesto. Oswaldo de Andrade, 1928)
García-Canclini exposes the battles between spheres. The state takes control over patrimony (the public sphere) defining national identities; meanwhile private interests take over the arts and the profitable culture industry (orchestrating tensions and encounters between hi and low art, when needed). However, he comments on how during the 1970s a phenomena he calls "sociological art" surfaced. Overcoming the disconnection of the public and private spheres, suddenly artistic practices returned 'action' to the people. Workshop-art in Chile (discussed extensively by Nelly Richard), popular theater in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico (highly political), social cinema in Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Cuba (Jorge Sanjines, Miguel Litin, Octavio Getino and Fernando Solanas' militant cinema and the consolidation of a Third Cinema with the Cuban scene of the 1960 and 70s) are some examples of the legacy of a contested decade that had given the substrate for many of the new artistic production.
If for Anibal Quijano the only way of breaking with "la colonialidad del poder" is through social revolution (he mentions the Haitian, the Mexican, the Nicaraguan, and the Bolivian revolutions as the only real social ones, unfortunately unfinished ones). For thinkers such as Jose Carlos Mariategui the turning point would take place, only, when the consciousness of the people is raised. For Mariategui, following Martí, the people is represented by the indigenous and mestizo populace, not the proletariat. Martí used to say: "How the universities can produce governors if not a single university in America teaches the rudiments of the art of government, the analysis of elements peculiar to the peoples of America? The young go out into the world wearing Yankee or French spectacles, hoping to govern a people they do not know. In the political race entrance should not go for the best ode, but for the best study of the political factors of one's country." 24 This fact is not an anachronism. The first " cholo " reached the presidency in Peru recently. Unfortunately, this cholo -Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), was trained in Stanford not in Cusco. 25 The cases of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales seem different and the prospect of new paths of development in Venezuela and Bolivia are on the horizon (it could bring terrifying consequences as well). The danger resides in that the cultural industry and the mass media has kidnapped the body-politic replacing it with mere representation, not only is the political pressure from the neo-colonial world but economic interest by multinational (or national) corporations, the real and now legal citizens of the globe. What is necessary is to go beyond representation, towards action. It is clear that art is not politics; nonetheless, it can affect it. The New Social movements must use the new art practices. Moving from representation to action art helps to "re-structured the fragmented body" (after the trauma). If well art has been kidnapped by modernity (making it alien to the real), artists such as Lygia Clark in her experiences with relational objects introduced a bodily condition that almost in a ritualistic manner where merging healing and artistic practice. Helio Oiticica's Parangoles work in the same direction, turning representation towards action. Clark talks of a state of art without art and Oiticica of a state of permanent invention (like in Trotsky's permanent revolution). They deemphasized representation in order to underlined participation and collaboration as a way to free themselves of the privations of the everyday life.
Today collective experiences like the ones taking place in Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, and elsewhere, emphasize the crossing of boundaries among disciplines and practices (and envisioning a new south map). 26 In Cuba, in the district of Alamar, 7 miles from Havana, the collective OMNI-Zona Fraca fusions poetry, performance, installation, rap, and conga in a sort of total work of art. Omni's members have been working for over nine years. They define themselves as a group of action with socio communitarian projection. Art becomes the tool which they use to communicate the social, political, and existential reality of their experience living in an outskirt of a paradigmatic place. 27 The creative possibilities of everyday life are their primary materials, simple materializations and economy of resources are they signature. From the community the collective produced, in the neighborhood they display their work. These are the sites in which the fusion art and life takes place. They do not consider themselves artists, their community do (the members are mostly autodidacts). However, lately they have shown their work in art, poetry, and music venues; OMNI's presence in the 2006 Havana Biennale (as participants not as phantom presence like before) talks about the recognition of their work in the cultural world of the island and beyond. They have found a genre of expression, Performance. According to many of the members it is "an attitude that flows from the constant manifestation of the creative state. Performance is the artistic tendency that characterizes us as a group. Performance encompasses all possibilities of creation". Oral, visual, and bodily actions are shown as event-actions. Using especially poetry, appropriating the word (as commanding element) and transforming it in dance, and absurd theater, sometimes mediated through lyrics, music, noise, and silence, they built a new poetics of marginality and participation. 28 They consider their practice to be part of a healing process.
Figure 5 . Omni Cover for their booklet (2005); the author with Luis E. Perez Meriño; Performance by Natividad Soto (2006)
The event-actions take place, almost always in open, urban spaces. The members of OMNI-Zona Franca have realized more than 200 actions and have participated in the co-creation and sustaining of cultural events in the Havana province. The National Rap Festival was co-created by them and another collective called Grupo Uno (whom are rappers), national events of visual arts and performance, street performance, action-poetry are part of their busy agenda. One of their strategies is to interrupt the daily life of Cubans. For the last six years they have organized every 30 th of November "Poesia Sin Fin" (Never-ending Poetry) a marathon of poetic declamation. During Saint Lazaro's day, December 17th, when the country makes promises and prays for a better health (which is a spontaneous performance), Omni offers a procession. They drag an immense piece of wood, for them it is "the symbol of opening up the paths-for poetic health". Health is reach after a physical catharsis. On Fridays night every other month, the collective organize a community poetry-action meting. The objective is that the community must learn about poetry from experience and vice versa. It is suppose to become a collective space of healing for Cubans. Poetry is seen as contributing to a universal well-being.
Besides, they have permeated the cultural institutions of the district using official cultural infrastructure to put on various exhibitions of individual members of the group and have participated in various collective events as well as produced some publications (in a country in which paper and media technologies are major commodities). Recently the collective has obtained a physical space to meet and work. They called it the "cosmic lab" in which they have been collaborating with artists and activist from at least 30 countries. The recent acquisition and appropriation of media tools (a couple of computers, digital cameras, and open source software) had increased their activities. They are now producing video pieces, and records (in CD and DVD) of their events and actions. It has helped to put their work in certain alternative circuits. They affirm, "Since our creation, and now in our work space, we share, produce, and appropriate creative works of art and self-healing. We work in projects with all creators of our community, and accept projects that other people propose us to do." They had received help form the Spanish Cooperation Agency and had worked with artist, scholars, and activist interested in their work and their way of life; nonetheless for them it is still almost impossible to travel. 29 They are the embodiment of the famous phrase "in scarcity we thrive".
Figure 6 . In the "Cosmic Lab" now the collective uses media technologies. Here a screening of video clips made by the collective, April 2006.
The works of other renowned Cuban artists such as Rene Francisco and Tania Brugera (both who travel a great deal) show the same path. A pedagogical dimension is found in their work. Their practice as instructors in the ISA (Instituto Superior de Arte) and elsewhere makes them an interesting phenomenon in the increasing sophisticated Cuban art market. A rising of a new class has taken place in the last decade in Cuba. The world-class Cuban artists is a creation of a market avid for objects and mementos of the post-Soviet Cuba (a phenomenon that happened in Russia during the late 1970s and 1980s, as well as in post 1989 Germany). 30 A new artist had emerged as a result of the new Cuban economy. As members of a high class they are subjects of a cultural policy that react to the economic and political blockade the US has imposed on the island since 1963. Paradoxically, the blockage does not cover works of art (they are allowed to sell in dollars, their work pay taxes to the state. The state allocates studios, materials and even living quarters for the most successful). However, an alternative production is still taking place. The collective Galería DUPP (Desde Una Pragmática Pedagógica" From a Pragmatic Pedagogy) leaded by Francisco has introduced alternative practices with social awareness and action. Other collectives like Los Carpinteros , that had appeared form the same pedagogical approach had been, paradoxically, very successful in the art market. Tania Brugera (the most successful of the Cuban performers) has founded Arte De Conducta (Behavior Art), the first performance studies program in Latin America. Francisco in his series of urban interventions, rebuilding living spaces for poor and sick female senior citizens in a poor neighborhood in Havana (his now famous trilogy of social sculptures , "Rosa's House" 2003, "Min's Patio" 2005. The last one is forthcoming) and Brugera's Arte de Conducta program, that offers fellowships to all its students (many courses take place in Brugera's house in Old Havana) make clear that after the boom of the 1980s and 90s what is important is to work at the interior of the communities creating networks of solidarity and support.
Figure 7 . Rene Francisco in the Romerillo Neighborhood where his trilogy is taking place; Street screening of the documentation, façade of Rosa's House and her image in video; Francisco visiting Min who lives near by.
Sao Paulo's alternative art scene is leaded by a collective group named Bijari . Formed in 1997 by architects and visual artists, Bijari is a creative nest of visual arts, multimedia and architecture. 31 They work in different platforms, mediums, and technologies proposing critical experimentation between analogical and digital techniques. Urban intervention, performance, happening, video, design, and web design become mediums to establish new possibilities to experience and research their reality (something like the post medium practices highly debated in the world of art). 32 The group composed by ten members who graduated from the faculty of Architecture, Urbanism and Visual Arts at USP (University of Sao Paulo) re-read critically the city. They understand the city as a fragmented space; their interactive activities inform the inhabitants of Sao Paulo about the real materials the city is made of. Proximity and estrangement are they tools, Rodrigo Araújo, one of the founding members explains how from the tension between the universe of exclusion and the anesthetize/aesthetic of the city sort of "parallel realities" emerge. The activities of the group signal the lack of the ideal city which is in a liminal space. Their objective is to establish a resistant image from the existent image of the city. In order to understand the role of the contemporary subject in the city the members of the collective develop gadgets, images, and devises which in a weird way interact with the passer-by. Sometimes they arrange and alter public spaces, plazas, abandon buildings, streets, etc. On other times, they spread their reach to the entire city using posters, adhesive ads, graffiti, and web-pages. Their recent collaboration with the urban branch of the "MST" (Movemento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra / Brazil's Landless Workers Movement) called Movemento Sem Teto do Centro (Roofless Movement) make explicit the capacity of creation of networks of solidarity and friendship between particular artistic and social movements across a range of issues. Their collaboration goes from helping and participating in the taking-over of abandon buildings, to workshops, communal exhibitions, web design, advertisement, video production and document production. Their purpose is to put these issues into main stream media and to reach a larger audience. 33
In Colombia new practices by artists, curators, cultural and social activist are thriving. Since 1995 a collective of artist called " Las Matracas " leaded by Franklin Aguirre had organized a version of the Venice Biennial in a marginal neighborhood in Bogotá paradoxically named after the famous Italian city. The mission of the BVB (Bienal de Venecia de Bogotá) is to link the community and the artistic community though a pedagogic strategy that starts in using art as a tool to bring together the two parts in a charge context, Venice -the neighborhood. Pedagogy is understood as a frame in which different artistic world-views met, in order to find their role in society and the way to be tuned with different audiences. The BVB also works with the community to help improve their relationship with the urban space, the neighborhood, and with themselves. Indeed, it implies a new way to produce art. The hundreds of artists (other professionals and academics as well) participating in the six versions of the event, the workshops, the conferences, parallel events, and exhibitions had to interact with the community one way or another. Through resident programs or systematic visits to the neighborhood and the exhibition sites the context and the community become central to the art work produced. In that order of ideas, the event looks for new concepts and practices of community-based-art, new fields of action, and alternative solutions for the art work. 34
Like the BVB other events and experiences are taking place in Colombia, recently the Ministry of Culture of Colombia was obliged to recognized such phenomenon and decided to open a national prize for such manifestations. In the initial call for works it got 65 entries (many others maintained their commitment as non-governmental and independent). The BVB won the prize followed closely by a collective of students from the National University whom had developed an interesting project in a low income district of Bogotá. Ciudad Kennedy a self-built community started back in the early 1960s; today it is an inner city of more than two million people. Ciudad Kennedy: Memoria y Realidad (Kennedy City: Memory and Reality) is a kind of artistic archeology of a community, mostly farmers displayed by the violence during the 1950s that were arriving in large numbers, becoming the new work-force of the city. The project (leaded by Raul Cristancho artist and teacher) was centered in the houses and the families that were the foundational nucleus of the district. In December 1961 John F. and Jacquelyn Kennedy assisted to the inauguration of the community-based urban project in Bogotá, initially named " Ciudad Techo " (Roof City). That event became foundational for the district and soon after Kennedy's death it changed its name. What is interesting is the fact that the urban project was not sponsored by the US government, not even by the Colombian government. It was a self-built program in which the families had to pay for the lot, materials, and put the labor. The collective of artists calls attention to the policies intervention and control developed by the US during the Cold War years, in particular the so-called Alliance for Progress, a set of policies to help countries of the South (in particular Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) fight the phantom of Communism. Ironically, Ciudad Kennedy was populated initially by sympathizers of the Communist Party and advocates of the left.
Figure 8 . Image Cover of the catalog, Poster of the project design by Camilo Martinez, Ricardo León, and Luis C. Beltrán; Images from the series "Las Jackelines" by Catalina Rincón, 2003.
The artists working with the community (the founding fathers of the district and their families) produced a series of pieces, installations, in-situ interventions, photographs, documentary videos, tapes, performances, etc., underlining the contradictions between the Kennedy-myth, local-memory and reality. 35 Some of the artists participating in this project, at the same time are producing interesting solo or group work. Miller Lagos and the collective Imagen Pirata (Pirate Image) are some of them, they are focus in using the city as their surface and the materials offer by it as their mediums. For example Imagen Pirata has developed a series of works in which plagiarism and copy is the main concern. COSA HALLADA NO ES HURTADA (a found object is not stolen) 2002, is a work that includes videos, paintings and prints that talks about the copy, the illegal methods of reproduction of objects or intellectual property; plagiarism. The whole project is conceived as an advertising campaign, the paintings imitate advertising posters, the videos imitate the TV spots, and images in the public space imitate the big billboards from the streets. The artists argue "So in this case, plagiarism does not only refer to the images that we present but to the methods we used to make this work with images taken form the media". 36 Other artists, especially the ones embracing performance, had been working in practices where space, networking, and alternative practices are at the center. During the second half of the 1990s an old house (almost in ruins), located in the historical district of Bogotá called La Candelaria became an art-lab. " Artistas en Residencia " (Artist in Residence) evidenced the centrality of performance and in-situ practices. 37 The presence of artists from other countries of Latin America (Mexico and Cuba) helped to establish one of the first creative-networks with long standing activities in the city. Many other spaces and self-run studios and galleries emerged before or alter this experience: Casa Guillermo, La Rebeca, La Oficina, el Espacio Vacio, El Taller de Artistas, Espacio Satiro, El Vicio, etc . Philosopher Consuelo Pabón an artist-scholar has written extensively about performance and its link with philosophy, aesthetics, and politics. Her work as professor and curator recognized the production of groups and individuals among them; Mapa Teatro (the most successful and professional of all performance-theater-installation collectives), Helena Producciones (which organize the National Performance Festival now with international reach), María Teresa Hincapíe, Fernando Pertuz, among others. 38
Figure 9 . Imagen Pirata installing some of their public works in Bogotá
Figure 10 . Fernando Pertuz, "La muerte ronda por todas partes" (Death is Everywhere). Performance, 2006
Figure 11 . Fernando Pertuz, "Quiebra Patas" (Handicap). Performance, 2001-02
In Bolivia the collective " Mujeres Creando " (Women Creating) based in La Paz, has been addressing issues such as feminism, self determinacy and political power. The anarchic-feminist collective activities include graffiti, publishing, and direct action, today they run a small cultural center. They are best known for their poetic-graffiti and performances. The group has been going on for ten years, and started as a reaction to the oppression Bolivian women had experience in the past. It was a completely new kind of group, since feminism was not part of the agenda of any of the social, political, and/or cultural groups existed before. The members of the collective recognized that if well the government was talking about the rights of women on the radio and in documents, in practice no changes were happening. By contrast, the feminism of Mujeres Creando was real and tangible. They affirm, "Political activity does not only happen in political parties or in organized groups; it happens when consciousness of your actions and your decisions rise, an intuitive kind of feminism." Feminism has been largely connected with the social movements of the 1960s and 70s, in the arts it has been active especially in universities in the US and Great Britain and thanks to the work of few scholars. In Latin America within the university system, there has been a different groups on the left (Trotskyites, Maoists, Guevarists, Marxists) but none of them addressed women in particular. Another issue is the one related with race, only addressed by few intellectuals before (Martí and Mariátegui among them). When the activities of the group began they realize that identity as women in Bolivia, as well other sectors without representation (lesbians in particular), was vastly forgotten. They comment, "When we got together we said, we are a group of women and we're a different kind of organization than the ones around us where the revolutionary subject is the proletariat. We tried to demystify this ideology." However, class is an issue they recognized, their struggle is not only for women, it is today with the larger movements that have been transforming the political landscape of Bolivia in the last five years. 39
Figure 12 . Graffiti and public intervention by the collective Mujeres Creando , La Paz.
In Argentina, the collective video group Alavío has been addressing singular and community based stories. Alavío is a direct action and video collective working in Argentina since the early 1990's. The group has been producing audiovisual material as a tool to create new working class subjectivity. They are always ready to interact with organizations (unions, individual workers, community groups, etc.) to help make their demands and struggles circulate among their equals and through the circuit of underground and independent media. Their work on the Brukmann and Zannon occupied and run factories in 2003 put them in the map of alternative media. Their films use a fundamental axis for action; it is the application of media skills and technology by the community. They provide tools to struggle and construct subjectivity from the interests and identity of the working class and oppressed sectors. Their work on the dressing room of metro-transport workers, the story of an old female militant during the dictatorship years, or the ways to organize a strike, in addition to footage of land-squat or barrio-based demonstrations (piqueteros) is a new form of archive that work from the base. Here the repertoire is recognized by their actors and is self-documented. Besides, Alavío screen their work first in the site where the actions take place. Alavío uses the camera as a political tool. The protagonists in the films propose, appropriate, and use the video language to organize and establish networks of support.
In Mexico, The Banco Intersubjetivo del Deseo (BID) / The Inter-subjective Bank of Desire (IDB) has been collecting and saving whishes and desires from people around Latin America in the past decade. The artist here becomes a trader and keeper of the most valuable: hope, wishes, and desire. Jose Miguel Gonzalez Casanova lives and works in Mexico City; working from an approach that fusions economy, organizational culture, performance, installation, and social work he has been able to interact with people of different cities of the global south. Today it is possible to access (freely) the assets of the bank on the Internet. Indeed, another kind of development and intervention policies are in place here, the BID trades affection, care, and hope. 40
The new blogs, e-mail listings, and networks of discussion in the region; new museums with open missions, universities, workshops, artist-activist run art and community centers, etc., are marking new paths of artistic production and community practice. Groups of people from many disciplines talk about it; in la esferapública , velocidadcritica, nettime Latin America, the Electronic Disturbance Theater (ETD), or in the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. In Costa Rica the Museum of Contemporary art and Design is addressing, in regional workshops, talks, and exhibitions, the issue of what is to be a Central American today. The many workshops and residences organized by collectives in Central America and the Caribbean as well as the participation of some progressive cultural institutions around the subcontinent are signaling another way of production. Even traditional events like the Havana Biennial, which has been always in the space of liminality and alternatively -as Cuba is, is not completely co-opted by political and economic pressure. These events, actions, artists, and communities, are working toward spaces of freedom and self determinacy.
This short review only recognized some of the collectives and individuals working in major cities in Latin America, there are many more examples of a vision of the region that is resisting to be constructed from the outside. What is happening is a snow ball in which collaboration, solidarity, and friendship are central to self-determinacy and exercises of bottom up democracy and participation.
Miguel Rojas-Sotelo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Figure 1: Author photos. Figure 2: The New York Times. Figure 3: Courtesy of Miguel Calderon, Andrea Rosen Gallery. Figure 4: Courtesy Jaime Avila and Helio Oiticica Foundation. Figure 5: Photo by Jorge Alban, and author photos. Figure 6: Author photos. Figure 7: Author photos. Figure 8: Courtesy of Imagen Pirata (Camilo Martinez and Ricardo León). Figure 9: Courtesy Imagen Pirata . Figure 10 & 11: Courtesy Fernando Pertuz. Figure 12: Courtesy of Indymedia-Ecuador and prensadefrente.org noticias de los movimientos sociales por el cambio social.
1 Diana Taylor, The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas . Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2003
2 For more information about the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics see: http://hemi.nyu.edu/
3 Arnason, H. H. et al., History of Modern Art . Englewood Cliffs, NJ and New York: Prentice Hall and Harry N. Abrams, 2003. Hunter Sam, Jacobus, J., Wheeler Daniel. Modern Art. Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Photography Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2004. Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin Buchloh. Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism . New York: Thames & Hudson, 2004
4 David Craven, "The Latin American Origins of Alternative Modernism" Third Text , 1996
5 More on Ruben Dario and modernism see: David E. Whisnant, "Ruben Dario as a Focal Cultural Figure in Nicaragua: The Ideological Uses of Cultural Capital" Latin American Research Review Vol. 27, No. 3 (1992), pp. 7-49, and Ángel Rama, Rubén Darío y el modernismo (circunstancia socioeconómica de un arte Americano ). Caracas: Universidad Central de Venezuela, 1970
6 José Martí, "Nuestra América" La Revista Ilustrada de Nueva York . January 10th, 1891
7 Ruben Dario, Cantos de Vida y Esperanza / Songs of Life and Hope . Durham: Duke University Press, 2004. P. 84
8 The collection is part of the Cisneros Foundation that is the charitable branck of the Cisneros Group of Companies. The emporium has control over an important percentage of telecommunications, TV, radio, and cell phone in the region. The company represents a vanguard of free trade in the Americas. The foundation's mission is both local and global (is home based in Venezuela): "to improve the quality of life for those in the region while increasing international awareness of contemporary Latin America. Built on the belief that education is the key to democracy and democracy is the key to freedom, the Cisneros Foundation strengthens and promotes Latin America through a variety of programs. These focus on the areas of education, culture, the environment, and community". See http://www.coleccioncisneros.org/home.asp
9 These dichotomies are explored in: Herman Herlinghaus and Mabel Moraña, Fronteras de la Modernidad . Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 2003. This volume presents the texts of the "Tercera Conferencia Internacional de Estudios Culturales Latinoamericanos" held in Pittsburgh in March 2002. The book underlines topics such as; Mobil Frontiers, New Territories, Heterogenic Secularization: Myths and believes, Images of Modernity, The Cristal Frontier, Modern/Postmodern, among others.
10 In: Gerardo Mosquera, "Good By Identity, Welcome Difference " Third Text N.56 Autumn 2001, 25-33
11William Arens' The Man-eating Myth: Anthropology and Anthropophagi is an interesting account of Columbus journeys. See. Willian Arens. The Man-eating Myth: Anthropology and Anthropophagi. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976
12 Christopher Columbus, J.M Cohen (translator), The Four Voyages: Being His Own Log-Book, Letter and Dispatchers with Connecting Narratives Drawn from the Life of the Admiral by His Son Hernando Colon and Others. New York: Penguin Classics, 1992.
13 See Peter Hulme, "Hurricanes in the Caribbees: The Constitution of the Discourse of English Colonialism," in 1642: Literature and Power in the Seventeenth Century: Proceedings of the Essex Conference on the Society of Literature , ed. Francis Barker, Jay Bernstein, John Coombes, Peter Hulme, Jennifer Stone, and Jon Stratton (Colchester, 1981), p. 67; see also Peter Hulme, Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean , 1492-1797 (London, 1986), p. 22, and Frank Lestringant , Cannibals: The Discovery and Representation of the Cannibal from Columbus to Jules Verne , tr. Rosemary Morris (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1997), pp. 15-22.
14 An excerpt from Montaingne's text in: Mario Klarer, "Canibalism and Carnivalesque: Incorporation as Utopia in the Early Image of America". New Literary History No. 30, Vol. 2, 1999, 389-410
15 Many accounts of such issue can be encountered. An interesting work is Michael Taussig's Shamanism, Colonialism and the Wild Man , 1988.
16See, Anibal Quijano, "La Colonialidad del Poder y la Experiencia Cultural Latinoamericana" (Coloniality of Power and the Latin American Cultural Experience), in Roberto Briceño-León and Heinz R. Sonntag (eds) Pueblo, época y Desarrollo: La Sociología de América Latina (People, Era and Development: The Sociology of Latin America) Caracas: Nueva Sociedad, 1998.
17 Films like; "Limite (Limit) released in 1929 by Mário Peixoto, "Ganga Bruta" (Rough Gange) by Humberto Mauro produced in 1933 as well as his "Brasa Dormida" (Reposing Ember) and Descobrimiento do Brasil (The Discovery of Brasil). Other films that emphasizes a national style are: Humberto Mauro's Tesouro Perdido (The lost Treasure) 1926, Adhemar Gonzaga's Barro Humano (Human Clay) 1928, and Alô Alô Carnaval (Hi, Hi, Carnaval) by Adhemar Gonzaga (1936).
18 In her text "Art of the Contact Zone", Mary Louis Pratt makes reference to the possibility to make auto ethnologies of the self as exercises that help to the constitution of a real representation of otherness. See: David Bartholomae and Anthony Petroksky, Ways of Reading . New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1999
19 The Helio Oiticica Foundation is researching the documents and works that are part of such alternative archival practices. Oiticica and Clark's correspondence is part of such documents. Video, super 8 films, sound tapes, memories, etc., are also significant in this regard. Some of the materials have been appearing recently. See: Margaret Sundell, "Helio Oiticica "Quasi-Cinemas": Wexner Center, Columbus, Ohio". ArtForum , Feb, 2002
20 As a matter of fact, recently a group of critics, historians, and researchers made a list of the 50 most important films in Brazilian history. Vidas Secas (Barren Lives) by Nélson Pereira dos Santos (1963), considered by many the best Brazilian movie ever made, is number 2 in the list. The black and white work about poverty and despair in the Northeast backlands is based on Graciliano Ramos's book of same name. In Alessandrea Dalevi, "Best of the Century" accessed from: www.brazzil.com
21 According to the United Nations Report on Inequality and Wealth, in 2005 Brazil was after Namibian and The Central African Republic, the country with the worst wealth distribution in the world. Brazil is the sixth biggest economy in the world. The report argues that if Brazil (as well as Mexico) transfer 5% of the income of the richest 20%, about 26 million would be lifted above the US$2 a day poverty line, cutting the poverty rate from 22% to 7% (in Mexico the effect would be similar, cutting the poverty rate from 16% to 4%), see chapter 2, p. 56-57. On September the 7th 2005, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) published its annual Human Development Report (HDR), entitled "International cooperation at a crossroads: Aid, trade and security in an unequal world". The UNDP deliberately presented the report a week before the United Nations Millennium+5 Summit. The report was intended to bring global social problems to the attention of heads of State and Government just before the summit in order to challenge them to make rapid and radical changes to world-wide development, trade and security policies. See: Human Development Report 2005. International cooperation at a crossroads: Aid, trade and security in an unequal world. Accessed from http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2005/
22 Nancy Schepher-Hughes has been working on the global trade of organ trafficking. She has published several articles in many magazines and web pages. "In Brazil, there are over 100 medically certified centers for kidney transplant, 21 centers for heart transplant and 13 centers for liver transplant. The medical demand for organs to keep these clinics operating has meant tolerance toward various unofficial incentives to encourage donation. Rather than rampant commercialism the more ambiguous concept of 'compensated gifting' is passively accepted by many transplant surgeons as an ethically 'neutral' practice. See Nancy Schepher-Hughes, "The New Cannibalism", http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/biotech/organswatch/pages/cannibalism.html
23 Ticio Escobar, "Myth and Identity Today", The Third Text Reader on Art, Culture, and Theory . London ; New York : Continuum, 2002
24"¿Cómo han de salir de las Universidades los gobernantes, si no hay Universidad en América donde se enseñe lo rudimentario del arte del gobierno, que es el análisis de los elementos peculiares de los pueblos de América? A adivinar salen los jóvenes al mundo, con antiparras yanquis o francesas, y aspiran a dirigir un pueblo que no conocen. En la carrera de la política habría de negarse la entrada a los que desconocen los rudimentos de la política. El premio de los certámenes no ha de ser para la mejor oda, sino para el mejor estudio de los factores del país en que se vive. En el periódico, en la cátedra, en la academia, debe llevarse adelante el estudio de los factores reales del país." In: Jose Marti, "Our America" La Revista Ilustrada . New York, January 1, 1891
25Cholo is a pejorative term. In Mexico and some countries of Central America it makes reference to a member of a gang. In Peru it refers to a meztizo or a person of the indigenous decent. Alejandro Toledo was one of sixteen children of a family of indigenous Amerindian campesinos in the town of Cabana, province of Pallasca, Ancash region. He grew up in Chimbote, a city on Peru's northern coast. His father was a bricklayer and his mother was a fishmonger. As a child, he worked as a shoeshine boy. Toledo became the president of Peru in 2001. He studied at a local state school, G.U.E. San Pedro. At age 16, with the guidance of members of the Peace Corps, Toledo enrolled at the University of San Francisco on a one-year scholarship. He completed his bachelor's degree in economics by obtaining a partial soccer scholarship and working part-time pumping gas. Later on, he attended graduate school at Stanford University and received Master's in Economics and completed his PhD in Economics of Education at the Stanford University School of Education. He then became a professor of Economics in the Universidad del Pacífico in Peru. His presidency was crossed by accusations of corruption and personal scandals. However, the country grew steadily in the last two years of his period.
26 Following Simón Bolivar's ideal of a federation of South American Nations, on 8 December 2004, presidents or representatives from twelve South American nations signed the Cuzco Declaration, a statement of intent, announcing the foundation of the South American Community. Panama and Mexico attended the signing ceremony as observers (Mexico being part of the NAFTA). Leaders announced their intention to model the new community after the European Union, including a common currency, parliament, and passport. A complete union like that of the EU should be possible by 2019. Sub block such as the Mercosur and the Andean Community are working towards that direction. See: http://www.comunidadandina.org/ingles/sudamerican.htm
27Omni is the prefix of the terms, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. These features connect they work with a spiritual dimension that goes beyond the material scarcity of their everyday experience. Zona Franca means Free Zone (alluding to the condition of Havana as a city-port). It is clear in their graphic and performatic work a connection with Santeria, Catholicism, and Hinduism.
28 The collective started as a poetic society of organic poets surrounding the figure of Juan Carlos Flores. Flores a self-trained poet had won a national prize in late 1980s; around his work the members of Omni-Zona Franca position their work.29 Members of the collective include: Jorge Carlos Acevedo, Adolfo Cabrera Pérez, Yasser Castellanos, David Escalona Carrillo, Nilo Julián Gonzalez, Joel Martínez, Amaury Pacheco del Monte, Jorge Pérez González, Luis Eligio Perez Meriño, Olver Reyes Rodríguez, Natividad Soto Kessel, Damián Valdés Dilla, Gonzalo Vidal. For more about OMNI-Zona Franca see article by Lucrezia Cippitelly in: http://newmediafix.net/daily/?p=756 For images: http://www.visiblecity.ca/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=78&Itemid=62
30 In July 1988, Sotheby's held a landmark auction in Moscow that fetched sensational prices for twentieth-century Russian art and made famous many of the modern and contemporary artists represented in this exhibition. One of these artists, whose work had a particularly strong resonance both at home and in the international art scene, was Ilya Kabakov, a leading participant in Moscow Conceptualism of the 1970s and 1980s. Other Artists like Vassily Komar and Alexander Melamid that migrated to the US made Sots Art and international style. In many ways, Kabakov's installation "The Man Who Flew into Space" (1981-88) is an apotheosis of Soviet art. The story of the Soviet everyman of the title--a resident of a communal apartment--is told through vague accounts of his neighbors and the objects he left behind in his tiny room. He fled his monotonous daily life by catapulting himself through the building's roof in order to reach paradise. Kabakov used space travel to conceptualize the basic desire to escape the confines and regulations of Soviet life, as well as the universal human aspiration to attain personal freedom. Many Cuban artists, such as Kcho, have used the same theme in different context. His land mark work "La Regata" (1994-5) addresses the massive escape by Cubans during the "periodo especial" (special period), just after the fall of the communist block. The economy of the island had to be rewritten; meanwhile hundreds of thousands had to fly in "balsas" (home made-boats) in order to escape from famine. Kacho used of discard material he found in the beaches near Havana to build a flotilla of toy boats. It becomes a powerful symbol of the so-called "balseros" phenomena.
31 Bijari is not the only collective working in Brazil, among others: ARNSTV, Cia Cachorra, C.O.B.A.I.A., Contra Filé and Perda Total. Ricardo Rosas has reported in his two articles titled "NOTAS SOBRE O ATUAL ESTADO DO COLETIVISMO ARTÍSTICO NO BRASIL" Publisher in: www.rizoma.net/interna.php?id=229&secao=artefato
32 The statement has been taken from Bijari's DVD "Arquitetura da Resistencia" (Architecture of Resistance), 2005. All translations from Portuguese are mine.
33 The MST defends Brazil's impoverished rural workers and reclaims unproductive land for the dispossessed. The Movimento dos Sem Terra (MST) or Landless Movement have spearheaded the campaign for land reform since the 1980s. The Movimento de Sem-Teto do Centro or Roofless Movement, MSTC, on the other hand, reclaims buildings for the urban homeless and for low-income workers, many of whom work in the informal economy. These two powerful social movements in Brazil had called for the creation of largest networks of support. In 2005 the Roofless took over several abandon buildings in order to give house to more than 400 poor families in Sao Paulo. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/brazil/story/0,,1692665,00.html , On the collaboration between cultural and social movements see: http://brasil.indymedia.org/pt/blue/2005/06/321746.shtml . For more about Bijari , see: www.bijari.com.br
34 For more information about the Venice Biennial of Bogotá see: http://www.labienaldeveneciadebogota.com
35 It is possible to download a copy of the catalog (with photos) of the project, Ciudad Kennedy: Memoria y Realidad , accessing: http://www.fotografiacolombiana.com/mod.php?mod=userpage&menu=1600&page_id=4
36 More information about Imagen Pirata can be found in: http://www.jstk.org/eng/airport/imagenpirata/index.html , a short article written by Jose Roca in Columna de Arena , http://www.universes-in-universe.de/columna/col60/ . A recent interview has been published by la esferapública , see: "dentro y fuera del cubo blanco - 3" http://esferapublica.org/nfblog/
37 Many spaces preceded this one. For example: Espacio Satiro run by a psychologist was a bar, gallery, workshop and meting point for emergent artists in early 1990s. Located in the Chapinero Distric their activities were liked to the work of the Matracas collective, it could be the direct referent to the Venice Biennial. Artistas en Residencia was an art studio open to young artists who wanted to have a place to work. It opened in 1997and was run by new-media artist Carlos Blanco that by the time was teaching urban art in a couple of universities in Bogotá. It became center of performance and in-situ art practices. Besides, it collaborated in the organization of the first national performance festival. The artists selected in the event were sponsored to go to Mexico for the International Performance Festival held in the Ex-Teresa Museum. The presence of Guillermo Santamarina, director of the Ex-Teresa in Bogotá for that event underlined the increasing attention by part of international art centers in the production happening in the country.
38 For more information about this an other Colombian artists see my texts, "Journey to the Global World", "Walks, Blasts, Shots, Squats", "To Build a New Territory Actos de Fabulación: Art, body, thought" download version on: http://hemi.nyu.edu/bb/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=459&highlight=#459 . The others are in publication.
39 For more information about Mujeres Creando and their activities in the recent events in Bolivia see: http://www.mujerescreando.org . The quotes form this section comes from an interview published in the on-line magazine zmagazine June 2002 Volume 15 Number 6, titled: Interview with Julieta Ojeda of Mujeres Creado by Sophie Styles. Accessed from: http://www.zmag.org/ZMag/articles/jun02styles.html
40 For more information about the BID, see my text: "Chimeras of Today and Corporeal Mind", in publication.