La comunitat inconfessable. Venezia Catalunya 2009.
The project – lines of work
Despite being presented as a unitary project, La comunitat inconfessable has three different lines of action:
1. An exhibition presenting the ideas generated by each of the participants (Sitesize/Joan Vila-Puig and Elvira Pujol, Technologies To The People/Daniel G. Andújar and Archivo F.X./Pedro G. Romero) using the metaphor of a library as a reference point or visual interface. Thus, each intervention constitutes a “deconstructed” approach -i.e., distorted, unconstructed, destroyed or under construction- to this space of knowledge, learning and theatricality that is Borges’ interminable library, which functions here as a sort of meeting point of the “community of readers” urged by Blanchot.
2. A book constituting a kind of polyphony of essays using texts by Maurice Blanchot, Giorgio Agamben, Jean Luc Nancy, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Lars Iyer, Peter Pál Pelbart and Marina Garcés that were published in different contexts, periods and media, but which, never the less, pose shared questions such as: What is the common? In which political or mental space is the notion of community developed? With which elements is it confronted? On which does it feed?
Interrupting this speculative drift around the question about the communal, there appear three insertions by each of the participants in the project – Sitesize, Technologies To The People and Archivo F.X. These insertion points include a written presentation of their respective artistic ideas, a visual work specifically conceived for the book, linked to the themes presented in museographic format, and a conversation between each artist and various philosophers, anthropologists, historians, geographers and curators (Gerard Horta, Francesc Muñoz, Eduard Masjuan, Iris Dressler, Jacob Lillemose, the Todoazen collective, Juan José Lahuerta and Manuel Delgado) with whom they share the same ideological and conceptual concerns.
3. La comunitat inconfessable project is completed by a website that will document it visually and textually, and operate as a vast archival collection around the notion of the communal from the perspective of philosophy, anthropology, the social sciences and art, among other disciplines.
The Postcapital Archive(1989-2001), www.postcapital.org, was presented for the first time in 2006 at the La Virreina Centre de la Imatge in Barcelona as part of the Postcapital. Politics, the city, money project, together with the work of artist Carlos Garaicoa and essayist Iván de la Nuez. Since then this multimedia proposal in process—that not only allows user consultations but also copying and even modification—has gone on expanding in successive exhibitions, workshops and interventions in public space carried out in Oslo, Santiago de Chile, Bremen, Montreal, Istanbul, Dortmund and, more recently, at the Württembergischer Kunstvereinin Stuttgart as an anthology.
In its current configuration, the archive contains more than 250,000 documents compiled from the Internet by Daniel G. Andújar over nearly a decade of creative work. These materials, among which publications, video and audio clips and image banks are to be found, sketch out a vast examination of the geopolitical transformations and the state of the communist and capitalist ideologies in the period spanning from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the attack on the Twin Towers in New York.
Throughout this entire period, the Postcapital Archive(1989-2001) has gone on developing projects of different scales and formats, some of which shape its presentation in The Unavowable Community project. Thus the proposal developed for the Venice Biennale hinges around two major thematic areas in confrontation: one revolves around media imagery and the ideological stereotypes generated during the period spanning from 1989 to 2001; the other reflects on the nature of the archive itself, about which mechanisms of organisation, compilation and representation are used to categorise knowledge. Found within the first of these sections is the so-called Time Line, an extensive series of images from the media and advertising that shape a subjective chronology made from contrasts and antagonisms where the most varied of political occurrences from the post-capitalist period are narrated and illustrated. This sort of visual diary has its beginning and end in the publicity campaign launched by a South African newspaper with the slogan “The world can change in a day”, which made use of the confrontation between two photographs, one of the Berlin Wall on 8 November 1989 and another of the World Trade Center on 10 September 2001. Border Crossings, a video collage illustrating different forms of ‘outflanking’, from a leap from the Berlin Wall to border traffic in Ceuta and La Gomera, is also located in this section dedicated to questioning political stereotypes. A video memorialising the Tiananmen Square student massacre in 1989 is presented as a contrast to this sequence. Also to be noted are the works titled Honor, a compilation dedicated to the Iraq War interweaving journalistic documents, videogame animations and clips from amateur movies filmed by the American marines themselves; No War, an anthology of recordings about the mass protests against the U.S. conflict with Iraq that took place in 2003 and, finally, 9/11 Misterios, contrasting the citizen shock experienced at Ground Zero in New York on Tuesday 11 September 2001 with the situation of political chaos that also occurred on a Tuesday 11 September in 1973 in Santiago, Chile as a result of General Pinochet’s military coup.
In terms of the work integrating reflection on the forms of organising the knowledge proposed by the archive, an intervention that has already become a sort of emblem of the Postcapital Archive (1989-2001) is noteworthy. It consists of two large panels that show, respectively, the logos of the primary global corporations and the names of leftist organisations from all over the world, thus confronting capitalism and communism, the market and ideology. The server that unites all of the compiled material and offers the users the possibility not only to copy it but also to participate in its organisational layout is also located in this same semantic space, at the heart of the archive. Lastly we find two proposals that are complimentary in a certain way: an extensive collection of maps, diagrams and cartography that interprets recent social, political and economic changes, relating them to images of the new megacities and urban sprawl, as well as the so-called Postcapital Library, likewise a cosmology including texts, videos and other documents by over two hundred authors that could very well constitute a sort of post-capitalist canon.
Technologies To The People (TTTP) began in 1996, as part of the Discord. Sabotage of Realities exhibition project that took place at the Kunstverein and Kunsthaus in Hamburg. It was originally presented as a virtual company dedicated to bringing technological advances closer to the least privileged, a sort of vague corporation that reproduced dissuasive language, the identity tics and visual archetypes associated with the commercial companies in the digital environment. As a definition of the context in which TTTP originated, it is important to refer to a certain incipient explosion that was gathering momentum in the world of information technology at that moment; monetary mirages materialised there—public companies with inflated stock prices, exaggerated initiatives and platforms with no definition—which, after acquiring an incomprehensible media prominence, disappeared as if they had never existed. At the same time, and also in this initial period of the Net, notions uncritically idealising a supposed independence and democratisation of knowledge that the Internet should bring with it began to crop up, though in the end they never materialised. TTTP thus appears as a parody in the aforementioned double sense, i.e., as a disconcerting antithesis to the hypothetical wrongdoings of technological corporations, and also as an ironic counterpoint to the exhortations of the disciples of digital liberty.
Nonetheless and in hindsight, it could be said that TTTP has developed four more or less distinct courses of action throughout its life span: one, shaped around the launch of various products with which the corporation meddles in the market, ridicules the productive capacity of the company itself and styles strategies for connecting and empathising with the hypothetical users. Among the most prominent projects in this sphere would be the Street Access Machine (1996), a machine allowing those begging in the street to access digital money; The Body Research Machine (1998), an interactive machine that scanned the body’s DNA strands, processing them for scientific experiments, and x-devian by knoppix, an open-source operating system presented as part of the Individual Citizen Republic Project: The System (2003) project. Another course the work takes would be the critical reflection on the art world TTTP presents through the Technologies to the People Foundation with its collections distributed free of charge—Photo Collection (1997), Video Collection (1998) and Net Art Classics Collection (1999)—already calling the idea of material and intellectual property into question during this period. A third conceptual area would be constituted by the creation of the so-called e- pages (e-arco.org, e-manifesta.org, e-seoul.org, e-valencia.org, e-barcelona.org, e-sevilla.org, e-norte.org and e-madrid.org among others), which have become true platforms for citizen reflection linked to a specific cultural environment and a very concrete set of problems. Also to be highlighted from among TTTP’s activities is the construction of the vast Postcapital Archive.