A genealogy of affective politics

Visual practices of dissidence in post-dictatorial South America

Políticas de aparición II: a conclusion or so …

To conclude, precise genealogy is still not traceable, over time, however, we can follow this “will of disappearing” and its counter-struggle in a sort of “desire for incarnation and appearance” through many generations. This desire for incarnation takes almost always ephemeral forms and we can say that, at least in this part of the world, this specific form of resistance goes hand in hand with art, probably because they meet at some point of their path, just in the moment in which bio-politics and state of exception became the rule. A common thread runs from Tucumán Arde to the Siluetazo and to the dissident political groups, which themselves do have direct affinity with the relatives’ struggle for memory and social justice. Those apparently heterogeneous movements and groups built the ground of affective politics by creating new political and aesthetic tools: they just came to it through different paths.

Let’s take a step back to the point where we questioned the meaning of affective politics today and whether it does still make sense and how… When I first wondered about this matter I was in Buenos Aires.

Right now, I am in an artist residency at Proyecto La Estrella located in a poor area of the so-called “Cono urbano Bonearense” (approximately two hours from the city center). Local artist and professor Marcos Luczcow who was part of the GAC*12 *( 12 ) collective, is now hosting and implementing the Proyecto La Estrella*13 *( 13 ).

Is it possible that this residency, here with Marcos, who came from the GAC experience, is a coincidence? Or maybe this is the red line of affective politics or its incarnation under new forms? I asked Marcos this question.. He simply answered: “Do you think it makes sense to wonder about such a question in such a place and in this project?”

It is quite surprising that by just putting things into context, it makes them less universal, but articulates a meaningful territory, both conceptually and physically.

 

Estrella_project2

Estrella_project1

Two images of La Estrella project, Mariano Acosta, Buenos Aires province, February 2013 

Acknowledgements

This paper is based on the work supported by the Austrian Academy of Science (ÖAW).

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Agamben, Giorgio (1995): Homo sacer: Il potere sovrano e la nuda vita. Giulio Einaudi editore.

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Alberro, Alexander/Stimson, Blake (1999): Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

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Avelar, Idelber (1999): The Untimely Present: Postdictatorial Latin American Fiction and the Task of Mourning (Post-Contemporary Interventions). Duke University Press.

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Calloni, Stella (2006): OPERACION CONDOR: Pacto criminal. Editorial Sciencias sociales.

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Camnitzer, Luis (2009): Didáctica de la liberación. CENDEAC.

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Colectivo Cultural Entreletras (2006): Memoria, Verdad y Justicia. A los 30 años x los treinta mil:.Editorial Baobab.

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Hollander Nancy (2010): Uprooted Minds. Surviving the Politics of Terror in the Americas Caro. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

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Longoni, Ana/Bruzzone, Gustavo (2007): El Siluetazo. Los Sentidos Artes Visuales.

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Longoni, Ana (2007): El Siluetazo (The Silhouette): On the Border between Art and Politics. Sarai Reader 07 Frontiers.

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Margulies, Phillip (2006):The Writ of Habeas Corpus. The Right to Have Your Day in Court. The Rosen Publishing Group.

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Taylor, Diana (2003): The Archive and the Repertoire. Performing cultural memory in the Americas. Duke University Press.

ESMA’s (NavyMechanicSchool) history from detention camp to human right headquarter and museum, online: http://www.memoriaabierta.org.ar/eng/camino_al_museo3.php.

According to Camnitzer this redefinition of the guerrilla practice passes through art performativity (Camnitzer 2009: 79–83).

Grandmothers association; online: http://www.abuelas.org.ar/english/history.htm ; Mothers associations, online: http://www.madres.org/navegar/nav.php and Mothers funding line, online: http://www.madresfundadoras.org.ar/pagina/whoweare/85.

“Tucumán Arde” is the name of a project by an artist collective in Argentina which started in 1968. The artists conceived art as an effective instrument for social change, and through the Tucuman Arde project they sought to bring the distressed social conditions of the Tucuman province to the attention of a large public. The project was conceived of as an intervention in mass communication, a circuit of counter information against the official one of the dictatorship (Alberro and Stimson 1999).

Actually, nowadays it would probably be more correct to talk about post-dictatorial fiction(s) rather than
politics of memory as Idelber Avelar (1999) suggests.

Grupo Etcetera, online: http://grupoetcetera.wordpress.com/about/

Instead of the ritualistic protest and mourning of the Madres, H.I.J.O.S organize carnivalesque escrache or acts of public shaming. The word escrache is etymologically related to scracè= expectorar, meaning roughly “to expose”. (…) Because H.I.J.O.S entered the public arena more than a decade after the fall of military, they can afford to be more confrontational in their use of technique and public space.(…) Still their tactics serve to identify individuals responsible for gross crime against humanity. The performatic interruption, no matter how unwelcome, does not threaten their life. Like the Madres and Abuelas, H.I.J.O.S claim institutional justice, not private vengeance. (Taylor 2003:p.180-183)

The H.I.J.O.S (sons and daughters of disappeared people) association, online:http://www.hijos-capital.org.ar/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=21

Arde!Arte group, online: http://www.ardearte.com.ar/

An author that extensively wrote about this subject is Stella Calloni (2006) which is strongly recommend in order to further deepen investigation on the Condor Plan. For more general information please consult: Explanation of the Condor Operation and the United States: A Network of Southern Cone Assassination and American Avoidance 2005, online: http://www.oocities.org/thadoc78/Operation_Condor.htm and Deep politics forum community, online: https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?963-Operation-Condor.

The picana (was) an electrified prod used on sensitive body parts such as genitals and temples (…)
The Picana symbolized their (the torturers) eroticized violence and power. Just as weapons in every culture have symbolized masculinity, the picana crystallized the phallocentricity of the torture ritual. (Caro  Hollander 2010: p.115)

The writ of habeas corpus is an order written by a judge, demanding that a prisoner be brought to the
court so that the judge can decide whether the person is being lawfully imprisoned. (Margulies 2006: p.7)

Giulia Cilla (2013): A genealogy of affective politics. Visual practices of dissidence in post-dictatorial South America. In: p/art/icipate – Kultur aktiv gestalten #02 , https://www.p-art-icipate.net/a-genealogy-of-affective-politics/