Actions and Reactions in Art and Politics

February 16, 2018


The seventh edition of the Seminario Fundación Cisneros, Disruptions: Dilemmas Regarding the Image in Contemporaneity, which will take place on March 16, 2018, will consider art’s links with politics. This art-political connection is important because it operates as a model for the construction of new subjectivities, and encourages the questioning of what Jacques Rancière called "the aesthetic and representative logic of art" (The Emancipated Spectator, 2008), as well as its forms of production and its influence on the perception of the spectator. The day’s presentations will put into critical discussion the position taken by images in relation to the temporalities of art and historical events. To clarify this complex network, we will focus specifically on the spaces for art and politics, distinguishing the areas where they may overlap (the political in art, politics for art, political art, art as public action, citizen political action).

Organized as a day-long conference, Disruptions also includes numerous interventions. In addition to the presentations, a series of programs have been organized in conjunction with the seminar: a workshop taking place on the three days leading up to the seminar; a screening of film and video works; and an architectural walking tour of Caracas. As an event, the seminar places importance on bringing together a diverse community and providing a safe space for open discussion; a space where the exchange of ideas and research are stimulated, frameworks and methods are provided, and imagination is inspired. In its own spatial-temporal way, this website is considered an extension of this space, where we will be publishing content created specifically for this platform.

In the interest of offering multiple perspectives on some of the case studies that will be presented during Disruptions, we have commissioned six texts from art historians, critics, researchers, and curators for publication on this website. To be published consecutively in the weeks leading up to the seminar, these articles will address cases that illustrate direct relationships between art and politics, and the significance of the image in different contexts within contemporary art in Latin America.

Disruptions will cover three main points of development. The first part will focus on the use of images. To complement this theme, we are publishing an essay by María Virginia Jaua, who delves into her film 3_Eras, based on the literary work Las tres eras de la imagen by José Luis Brea, author and pioneer of the study of the image in its distinct manifestations and modes of circulation.

The seminar also includes an action by the performing arts collective Los Peces del Guaire, which will complement the essay by researcher and critic Sandra Pinardi titled Notes on the Political Power of Performance. This essay presents the idea that, despite its ephemeral nature, performance possesses a unique emancipatory quality in public space that makes an event extra-ordinary or, what Pinardi calls, "de-evented".

The second part of Disruptions will present the theme of activism and social protest through experiences that have occurred in different places and have marked a significant moment. To address this theme, we have commissioned researcher Albeley Rodríguez to present an overview of the most recent art practices dealing with gender in Latin America.

A one-day seminar is not sufficient time to delve into the many case studies that shed light on the connections between art and politics. For this reason, these reflexive online contributions are important in highlighting situations that derive from problems that, although historical, are still reflected and debated today. For example, on such complex issues as diaspora, migration, and displacement, there seem to be no short-term solutions; the curator José Luis Barrios, in his text Art, Diasporas, and Globalization in Mexico: On the Limits of Instability, brings us closer to a social reality that is not alien to art, but rather, is derived from representative aesthetic conditions in the face of critical circumstances of violence or any other hegemonic power against the body and its displacement. In his text Art and Politics in Cuba in the New Milennium (A Brief Review), Félix Suazo approaches the critical dismantling of Cuban art in the twenty-first centruy, examining the contradictions of political power to show a reality that is closer to myth.

And finally, presenting a personal perspective from Brazil, the curator José Bernardo de Souza, in his text Unforeseen Outcomes For an Artificial Democracy or An Old Brazil for the 21st Century, delves into the reasons why artistic protests that position in the forefront and put into debate issues around sexual diversity provoked reactions of censorship, harsh criticism, and even the closing of exhibitions by conservative groups. De Souza considers pertinent the evaluation of the political motivations of economic and intellectual groups currently in power who presumably lead these actions. Additionally, De Souza examines the precedents of these events that are still widely discussed in the art and philosophy fields, as well as in public opinion.