[-empyre-] an 'ethico-aesthetic paradigm' - in France and Argentina

Eduardo Molinari archivocaminante at yahoo.com.ar
Wed May 14 09:55:39 EST 2008

Dear Timothy,

when I read your mail
I think that is really not a big contradiction
between your words and Brian ones.

Is very difficult to do the kind of art work that you
put as examples without destroying bounderies of class or comfort.

I like very much your idea of reflective critical thinking as activism.
Is true, if we don't do this, we are in danger.

In Argentina is very difficult to make real the articulation between artits and teory. Our education system is poor on this, we need more!
Also, the conservative mentality of our middle / high classes is pathetic.
They don't expect an artist with a reflective critical practice.

in the 90, the hegemonical practice don't talk about context or history.
The human righst fight (asking for memory, justice) was an important space for reflective critical practice, but all the artists that we were there,
needs more.

On this sense, the international dialogue that began in 2001, when many activists / militant artists came to our country, have manyyyyyyyy
valious for us. Expanded space! Expanded time!
we need to protect this space.

all the best for all.

Eduardo Molinari / Archivo Caminante
Aramburu 880, Dto.1 (1640) Martínez
Provincia de Buenos Aires – Argentina
0541 1 47 98 48 35

--- El lun 12-may-08, Timothy Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu> escribió:

> De: Timothy Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu>
> Asunto: Re: [-empyre-] an 'ethico-aesthetic paradigm' - in France and  Argentina
> Para: brian.holmes at wanadoo.fr, "soft_skinned_space" <empyre at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Fecha: lunes, 12 de mayo de 2008, 10:32 pm
> >Brian,
> I'm concerned that it's a little presumptuous to
> assume that activist 
> artists were not also activating politically in the
> nineties and well 
> before, whether in demonstrations, alternative political 
> organizations, or even in mainstream organizations such as 
> universities and political parties  (I suppose what you
> call middle 
> class organizations) whether against racially organized
> political 
> systems, for feminism, for AIDS activism, against
> globalism, against 
> international human trade, against war, for the
> environment, etc.
> Of course activism might involve some risk of getting
> arrested or 
> being beaten by the police.  But many of us who have spent
> years of 
> our lives  being beaten by and threatened on and off the
> streets  by 
> the police also might have come to understand the value of
> additional 
> reflective critical practice (in contrast to simple
> reactive 
> action--which is certainly necessary and justified on
> occasion) which 
> also can entail not only the traversing of class and
> comfort 
> boundaries but also engagement in activities of critical
> spatial 
> practice and conceptual activism whose aim might be to
> question the 
> very notions of the comfortable "middle class"
> that underlie your 
> assumptions.
> Without wishing to distract us from the addditional issues
> posed by 
> this week's -empyre- guests, I wish to caution against
> the 
> assumptions of your premises that this is an all or nothing
> equation 
> and to counter your suggestion that activist artists of the
> nineties 
> somehow failed to be politically active while also being
> critically 
> reflective.  The reason that I questioned the avant-gardist
> logic of 
> your proposition was because of my concern that it carried
> with it an 
> implied assumption that we can progress only  by looking
> forward to 
> "real conflict" rather than backward to
> artististic circles for whom 
> politics was retrograde.    Is it a coincidence that Steve
> Kurtz of 
> Critical Art Ensemble (active since the mid-nineties) has
> faced up to 
> 5 years in prison for his critical art practice that
> clearly rubbed 
> American Homeland Security forces the wrong way?  Or what
> about the 
> artistic activism in the early nineties of Teiji Furuhashi
> of Dumb 
> Type who died of AIDS before being able to perform his
> response to 
> the AIDS pandemic in the performance, "S/N,"
> which his troupe took to 
> Brazil?  Dumb Type understood itself to engage in political
> activism 
> by extending  its audiences "to an ever wide range of
> people, to 
> connect theater and festival staff, AIDS-concerned groups,
> and 
> gay/lesbian communities."  Or what about the recent
> bravery of the 
> performance artist Pippa Bacca who was raped and murdered
> while 
> rather quietly hitchhiking  to Israel with the "Brides
> on Tour" 
> project in an appeal for peace?
> Although the streets of France might have been quieter in
> the 
> nineties than they were in the sixties or more recently,I
> suspect 
> that you'll agree that similar commitments to sexual
> and political 
> activism were indeed important to the critical community of
> artists 
> and theoreticians.  I simply don't want us to lose
> sight of this 
> history nor to downplay the radical significance and
> critical lessons 
> of so many of these earlier interventions for the sake of
> delivering 
> deserved credit to current activist projects.  Call it the
> academic 
> in me!
> All my best,
> Tim
> -- 
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