This fifth edition of Discusiones is structured around the relationships among art, ethics, society, anthropology and politics. April 2019–
Speakers will reflect on how structures of violence act within languages of art. They will analyze modes of manifesting uncertainty, dissonance, disruption, and skepticism when materialized in visual, literary, musical, cinematographic, architectural and graphic forms. They will show works from the 21st century and before (particularly from the 20th century, which continues to offer multiple possibilities for review and contributions to knowledge), works that denounce the radical populism so present today, as well as fear, experiences of the displaced, exile and migration, wars, guerillas, drug trafficking, peace-making and the aftermath of conflict. They will try to reveal—though fiction and the image—complex hidden zones of reality. From the perspective of contemporary art, they will inquire into the ancient topics of truth and falsehood, and the new concept of post-truth. They will show, through the sculpture of the last few centuries, moments of exaltation or defeat of patriotic symbols. Through performance art of the last few decades, they will analyze the ethical and political link between the body of the artist and the body of language. They will show constructions—and destructions—of architectural objects in times marked by the politicization of life. They will approach poetry from the now historic time of armed resistance. In this series, freedom will be a central idea, from which diverse imaginaries will emerge. It proposes freedom in art as an essential right that culture must safeguard.
Universidad Católica Andrés Bello
April 3, 2019
Ethics, aesthetics and politics in contemporary art and in times of crisis by María Elena Ramos
Ethics and politics are essential motivations for contemporary creators who consciously work with an aesthetic contaminated by the realities of a world in crisis. But in what sense can art make visible meaning, that which is essentially invisible? If truth and good—two pillars of ethics—are not directly perceptible, artists can visibly transmit ethical ideas with their creations, whether beautiful or sublime, tragic or ironic, through aesthetic objects: drawings, video installations or sculpture. We will present works that sensitively embody the problematics implied by the crises of our times. So, not only beauty, but also violence and suffering, give form to languages. And still, creators widely bring together beauty and terror. We will try to penetrate into the tissue between an ethical topic and the plastic form that embodies it, or between a political action and the aesthetic structure of language was a creative, expressive consequence.
Down with statues!by Roldán Esteva-Grillet
The destruction of a nation’s cultural heritage may be attributed to forces of nature (earthquakes, floods, fires) or of human causes (war, carelessness, vandalism). Within this cultural heritage, public statuary has occupied a preeminent place as a tribute to the gods or to members of society who are outstanding in one of their professional fields. Nevertheless, the conservation of said documents, beyond their artistic value, has always depended on the degree of identification that society maintains with the values these figures represent. Since the French Revolution, the erection of a statue and its location at a public site has been subjected to prior discussion, as not all historical characters reach the same level of approval in terms of their contribution to the formation of an identity. For this reason, when a society goes through violent change, the destruction of previously respected, now impugned symbols happens; and also, in calmer moments we see the opportune removal of figures who no longer carry the same weight or who simply produce too much controversy.
Architecture and violence by Rafael Pereira
Discusiones V will allow us to examine architecture as object and as instrument of violence, a product of its affiliations with power structures. From the field of the built environment we will focus on emblematic cases in their intersection with other disciplines: the violence of economics (World Trade Center, 9/11, NYC); the violence of culture/society (Louvre Abu Dhabi); the violence of religion (destruction of the ruins of Palmyra and Aleppo, Irak; The Church of the Virgen de los Remedios upon the bases of the Gran Pirámide, Cholula, México; the Church of Sto. Domingo upon la Qoricancha, Cuzco, Peru); the violence of ideology (The Chancellory and Zeppelinfeld, Third Reich, Berlin); violence of the political (Torre David, CFS, Caracas); violence of aesthetics in concept (Forensic Architecture, standoff at El Junquito); and violence of formal aesthetics (Visual Mapping in Villa Cusani Traversi Tittoni, Desio).
We will traverse this “paradox” as described by Bechir Kenzari: “Despite the constructive aspect that keeps the projective energy of architecture oriented toward integrity and coherence, there exists in equal measures a destructive side that must be recognized and analyzed."
Abril 4, 2019
Violent Season. Guerrilla tactics as a fine art. Poetic politics of the Venezuelan vanguard 1960-1975 by Rafael Castillo Zapata
In what entrenched ways does the poetic word take up the anguish of men in historic times of penury, when patience runs out and consciences are consumed by the urgency of finishing off the old structures? In what way does poetry suffer violence by trying to name violence?
We are interested in exploring the outcomes of diverse poetic politics, from the most obvious to the most secretive, that were organized in Venezuela between 1960 and 1975, a historic zone in which guerrillas, at some point, wanted to establish themselves as one of the fine arts, pushing poetry itself from its domain, in their delirium putting guns before all else as instruments of alternative creation. Beyond the fact that it’s difficult to write cleanly with bullets, we want to understand how Venezuelan poetry of that time, with cunning tactics, made words into forceful verbal projectiles.
The resonance of what has been lived by Diana Arismendi
In this Discusiones V we explore the rich production of outstanding Latin American composers from the second half of the 20th century in relationship with the history of their time. We will look into how their lives were marked by social, political and cultural events of the last decades and how works emerged that reflected said events. Through their testimonials, the creators (from very different ethical and aesthetic perspectives) leave written records of the historical products of their surroundings. We will also look into how this has influenced and widened the spectrum of their aesthetic, formal, technical and instrumental searches, and to what extent this influenced their creative processes and musical languages. We will also explore the support, the indifference, or the censure of institutions in the musical realm in which they develop. One last aspect concerns the perception of the performer and the public. In this conference I will reflect in the first person on my own condition as a composer.
Corporeal cartography of violence. Performance, Photo-performance and video-actions in Venezuela (1998-2018)by Félix Suazo (Video conference)
This presentation focuses on the concept of violence at its material and semiotic level, analyzing its thematic imprint that is instrumental in Venezuelan art, specifically in the performative practices of the last two decades.
In the case of performances, photo-performances and video actions, there is a coincidence between the body of the artist (as sacrificial entity) and the body of the work (poietic device). There is also an explicit critique of the mechanisms of control and power. The body as intersection of physical and symbolic violence; the work as allegorical experience of the force inflicted on people or ideas with the objective of placating or dominating them. The presentation will examine artists active on the Venezuelan scene between 1998 and 2018, whose work refers directly or indirectly to the context of aggressions, impunity and authoritarianism that has prevailed in the country during this period.
How can we see what’s hiding in the barrio? (Or how art and fiction can “make something seen,” revealing situations hidden from reality) by Rodolfo Izaguirre
Film, particularly in developing countries like Venezuela, casts a marginal, peripheral gaze toward the social universe; it does not analyze behavior but winks, blanks, and never interiorizes its internal world. It knows that the delinquent will be a delinquent, but does not try to find out why. In this sense, we may be interested in the film Hermano, 2010, directed by Marcel Rasquin: marginal violence is circumscribed in the environment of a neighborhood so far from the city that it seems not to exist.