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Curatorial Practices
Politics of the body: Forms of resisting
by Nancy Garín

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We have never looked on this project as a straightforward exercise in historiography. We didn’t limit ourselves, nor do we want to limit ourselves, to merely identifying certain cultural and collective protest and aesthetic practices that had been excluded from canonized accounts of “experimental” art production since the end of the dictatorship. Our aim is for this project to have a bearing on our present, the here and now, by attempting to show its total relevance to counter-biopolitical struggles. These struggles are visible, as we showed* in the experience of the Politics of the Body seminar with the student movement, feminisms, ecological/food* activism, sexual diversity struggles, the Mapuche struggle and the most transversal of all struggles, the increasing precarity of the body within labor.

As to our relations with MAC, we registered our project within the umbrella project “Experimental Art in Chile, the Heritage of the 70s and 80s in the MAC Collection”, as part of the Bicentennial projects. Our aim, however, is to vindicate precisely all the experimental practices and strategies that are viewed as “experiences” rather than as art, since such experiences have enriched the aesthetic and visual production of the past twenty years. To this point we decided to extend the proposal to spaces outside the framework of institutions, and we not only succeeded in doing so, but also managed to have it included as a substantive part of the seminar.

Nancy Garín: In general terms, what were the main strengths of the project, and also from the conversations and activities that were carried out?

Equipo re: Aside from the contents and ideas generated by the different activities, the greatest achievement from Equipo re’s point of view was the possibility of engaging in dialogue and exchange with different agents we’ve worked with, which has characterized the whole process. Since the outset of our formation as a group, there has been a concern for adopting more participatory “ways of doing” that would subvert the relationship between researchers and “case studies” by transforming the customary view of the practice of research as a merely interpretative activity into one focusing on the establishment of synergies and political-affective alliances.

We view research as a process of mutual learning, not just among ourselves but above all in terms of the existential, affective, conspiratorial relations we have been establishing with the various spokespersons of each project. In the specific case of the work conducted in Chile, this wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions and involvement of local participants and collaborators.

Miguel Benlloch: For me there were several strong points, such as the enunciation of a body in which a multiplicity of political effects has a bearing: immigrant body, oppressed body, sick and degenerate body, tortured body, missing body, indigenous body, body in relation to nature; conceived as a relationship between the living with the living and with the inert... a body dissected to show not its fragmentation but its communicability, the decomposition of the experiences of bodies, the hardships stemming from a system of neoliberal capitalism that views all living beings as a commodity and acts upon it to standardize goods just as they appear in supermarket boxes, superficial, useful, standard size, conceived not for nourishment but for consumption, to generate a profit... distorting anything that gets in the way of that aim, using all kinds of tactics ranging from seduction to violence.

Starting the timeline of the project at the time of the dictatorship in Chile helps to show the extreme violence the system uses tomake use of a “pilot” country to experiment with the “creations” of capital. Nevertheless, Chile was the starting place of the neoliberal experiment, which in the following decades was to develop through the creation of new phantasmagoria that paved the way for neoliberal capitalism’s control over the planet. The neoliberal experiment is taking place in the midst of torture, the violent domestication of bodies, their objectification... in order to create a social body presented as desiring the attributes and canons developed by the market, which in turn are presented as the sole only option available.

Politics of the body in re-sistance, has the value of wanting the use the fragments, not to create endless vindications that are presented as totalized*, but to link up the fragments and point out their intercommunication in order to create resistance. Although post-modernity has made the topic more complex by making it visible, As Ferenc Fehér states -the inventory of modernity-, we can suggest that the deliberate complexity of discourses with which modernity is represented calls for us to create a new common language that will enable a transmodernity that we may be beginning to experience. This common language is what interests me about this project, this diversity of effects on the subject on which to create a language for all those affected, a language of WE imbued by the living I.

Rodrigo Ruíz: I think the most fruitful research must necessarily be collectively discussed, listened to, and fluid; particularly if it seeks to question valid methods of shaping knowledge and the articulation of knowledge and power, as is the case with memory, and the intentions we have seen with this project.

In that regard the Politics of the Body seminar, conducted during the course of two intense days at MAC in Santiago was particularly stimulating, informative and thought-provoking, and leads us to think of future initiatives.

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