Los Impolíticos

Posted on 05.11.2010


Oscar Boni

Oscar Boni,

12.19.09 > 02.28.10
Ivan Abreu Ochoa, Marcela Armas, Stefan Bruggemann, Yoan Capote, Donna Conlon, Alexandre da Cunha, Detanico and Lain, Leandro Erlich, Dario Escobar, Jose Antonio Hernandez-Diez, Geraldine Juarez, Marcos Lopez, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Jorge Macchi, Leo Marz, Cildo Meireles, Vik Muniz, Dulce Pinzon, Liliana Porter, Wilfredo Prieto, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Sara Ramo, Miguel Angel Rios, Adriana Salazar-Velez, Martin Sastre, Pablo Serra Marino.
curated by/a cura di Laura Bardier

The words and expressions one usually uses to define politics (a fundamental human activity), marginalize those areas which are impossible to think of or to express. This limitation derives from the challenges that permeate the idea of “representation” itself. However, it is also due to the fact that chaos does not reside neatly within the ‘polis’, but rather inside human beings themselves.
We find ourselves moving about in spaces where one’s thoughts are kept from totally conforming to the reality of politics; this condition is defined by the impossibility of identifying and expressing suitable terms and concepts. Thus, slowly, a new paradigm is generated. Not via a reductionist perspective, however, like in the case of a-political or anti-political sentiments, but rather in relation to a complex and multi-faceted situation: an actual reconfiguration of politics as a whole. This concept was developed and presented on more than one occasion by the Neapolitan philosopher Roberto Esposito, in particular with his article “Political and Impolitical” from 2005: “Thus the impolitical, finally, does not proffer a new reality as an alternative to politics, but rather simply identifies political reality for what it is, without apology. It therefore maintains a certain attitude, if you will, of reservation with respect to a situation of promoting or creating an apology for politics. […] Hence the impolitical person’s commitment to demystifying, debunking, and criticizing this self-certifying attitude of modernity that says: ‘I – with my categories – I’m what’s valid,’ placing themselves up against that loss which modernity itself, in one way or another, constitutes.”
Following in Roberto Esposito’s footsteps, the exhibit “Los impoliticos” offers a project of dissection and analysis, a quest for the construction of a political lexicon to define contemporary facts and situations from a specific rather than from a generic point of view. It is in this sense, in fact, that we focus our attention on some regions of the Americas, connected by cultural, political or historical characteristics, which moreover have recently developed a critical sense or have debunked that self-legitimizing attitude of modernity. Countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela share – without denying each its own indispensable specificity and its regionalisms – similar challenges, but also similar potential solutions.
In these regions there has been a constant request for political alignment: to define clearly where one belongs and to classify one’s own personal ideological orientation and tendencies. Until the 1970’s, social action revolved around the reclaiming of cultural and social rights with regards to the States, the creation of alliances with all of the social and political-party factions, the struggle to modify the relationships among national powers, and military oppression. In a new phase, and as a response to the neo-Liberal wave of privatization exacerbated by the situation in the 1980’s (which upset the way of life for the common people) social action was expressed through the dissolution and de- construction of the consolidated forms of production and reproduction, whether territorial or symbolic, which made up the environment and everyday life.
From the early 1990’s the new models of social mobilization triggered changes of government and value systems, in certain cases with useful results; in other cases, without clear historical references and (likely) without a unifying critical vision. In any case, these movements, with their widespread, politicizing function, have historically determined the role and the objectives of artistic production. However, as a consequence of the public chaos in which the latest and most recent movements have been generated, there has emerged a faction of the population with a profoundly critical, sarcastic and irreverent vision of the organizational systems, of social functions and most of all of the essence of political thought overall.
Might we say, therefore – as Giorgio Agamben put up for discussion in the Padua Conference in 2005 –  there is an ‘alternative’ to civil war? And if this is true, what are its mechanisms and its strategies? What tools, terms and concepts are artists to employ, when the notion of movement itself is put in question? Cynicism, irony, sarcasm – modes of communication that permeate culture and artistic productions in these regions – could these prefigure areas and systems of resistance, ones of an impolitical attitude?

Los impolíticos takes a look at a series of works of art and artistic practices that handle complex and intricate themes relating to specific conditions, circumstances and questions that have accumulated in these American regions and countries. Among these is the theme migration patterns, the ebb and flow of immigration and emigration – a historical constant whose origins can be traced both locally and globally. More recently, the causes might be found in circumstances that range from economic instability to exacerbated hyper- urbanism.
Other thematic areas include the conditions of biased communication manipulated by the control systems and by the government on different levels and to varying degrees; urban and social decay, the obligation of heightened consumerism. Conditions such as this generate a strong sense of impotence. The impotence of rooting out the source of the problem, the inability to respond effectively to these issues, the inability to transform these conditions of instability. This impotence is transformed at times into violent forms and expressions; in other occasions, it generates a sincretism characteristic of these countries. A positive reaction to this inability to react is the appropriation of the very same conditions that create discomfort, the re-interpretation of the culture and of the imported iconography.
The expression Los impolíticos indicates the nature of the total exhibit. the works are itineraries run over and through by provisory orientation points, from which to sight the signs of artistic practice in its as-yet free-form experimental stage, with its closed or open forms, be they standard or transgressive, confirmed or recanted – to find oneself in the unsettling evolution of art as it is told today. Each of these works is the result of a particular journey in which a certain perspective is offered. The different journeys, taken together, give rise to a shared space that contributes to creating a collective memory of the present. A sensorial narration introduced into the space, of a collection of works determined to be significant, which articulate possible answers to matters that touch us all, albeit influenced by a regional, local or personal vision.

Le parole e le espressioni con le quali solitamente si definisce la politica, fondamentale attività umana, lasciano ai margini delle zone impossibili da pensare e da esprimere. Ci troviamo a circolare in spazi dove si incontrano impedimenti del pensiero nell’ aderire completamente alla realtà della politica, una condizione che si definisce attraverso l’impossibilita’ di individuare ed esprimere termini e concetti idonei.
Così, lentamente, si genera una nuova configurazione. Non però attraverso una prospettiva riduzionista, come può essere l’atteggiamento apolitico o antipolitico; ma piuttosto in relazione ad una situazione complessa e multiforme, ovvero la riconfigurazione della stessa politica.
Seguendo le tracce del filosofo napoletano Roberto Esposito, la mostra “Los impolíticos” offre un lavoro di dissezione e analisi, alla ricerca della costruzione di un lessico politico adatto a definire i fatti e le cose della realtà contemporanea da un punto di vista particolare e non generico. È proprio in questo senso che focalizziamo la nostra attenzione su alcune zone delle Americhe, collegate da caratteristiche culturali, politiche e storiche, che soprattutto recentemente hanno sviluppato un senso critico e demistificante dell’atteggiamento autolegittimante della modernità.
Paesi come Argentina, Bolivia, Brasile, Cile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Repubblica Dominicana, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Messico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Perù, Porto Rico, Uruguay e Venezuela condividono – senza escludere proprie peculiarità e regionalismi indispensabili – simili problematiche, ma anche simili possibili soluzioni.
In queste regioni c’è stata e c’è spesso una costante richiesta di allineamento politico, di una chiara definizione di appartenenza e collocazione dei propri orientamenti e tendenze ideologiche.Dall’inizio degli anni ‘90, i nuovi modelli di mobilitazione sociale hanno incoraggiato cambiamenti di governo e di sistemi di valori, in certi casi con utili risultati, in altre occasioni invece senza chiare referenze storiche e, probabilmente, senza una visione critica d’insieme. In ogni caso, questi movimenti, con la loro diffusa funzione politicizzante, hanno storicamente determinato il ruolo e gli obiettivi della produzione artistica. Però, come effetto del caos pubblico in cui sono stati generati gli ultimi e più recenti movimenti, è lentamente comparsa una fascia di popolazione con una visione profondamente critica, sarcastica, dissacrante, dei sistemi organizzativi, delle funzionalità sociali e soprattutto dell’essenza stessa del pensiero politico.
los impolíticos visualizza una serie di lavori e pratiche artistiche che affrontano temi complessi e intricati su certe condizioni, circostanze e questioni che accomunano queste regioni e paesi delle Americhe. Uno di questi temi è quello dei circoli migratori, i movimenti d’immigrazione ed emigrazione – una costante storica, che ha origini sia locali che globali. Più recentemente, le ragioni possono essere localizzate in circostanze che vanno dall’instabilità economica all’iper-urbanismo esacerbato. Altre aree tematiche sono quelle che comprendono le condizioni di comunicazione parziale, tendenziosa e manipolata dai sistemi di controllo e di governo su diverse scale; il degrado urbano e sociale; la costrizione al consumismo esasperato. Condizioni come queste generano un forte senso di impotenza. L’impotenza di individuare la vera origine dei problemi, l’incapacità di rispondere in maniera coerente a queste problematiche, l’incapacità di trasformare le condizioni d’instabilità. Questa impotenza si trasforma a volte in espressioni e forme violente; in altre occasioni, genera il sincretismo caratteristico di questi paesi, una reazione positiva a questa impotenza di reazione è l’appropriazione delle stesse condizioni che creano sconforto, la reinterpretazione della cultura e dell’iconografia importate.
L’espressione los impolíticos indica la natura d’insieme della mostra: un’insieme dei diversi percorsi, dà forma ad uno spazio condiviso che contribuisce a creare una memoria collettiva del presente. Una narrazione sensoriale inserita nello spazio, di una collezione di opere ritenute significative, che articolano risposte possibili ad argomenti che ci coinvolgono tutti, tuttavia proposte da una visione regionale, locale, personale.

Posted in: exhibitions