Founding Declaration

Since its foundation in 2007, the Southern Conceptualisms Network has grown informally through the complicity, affects, solidarities and mutual trust of its members. Drawing on the potential of its internal and external nexus, the Southern Conceptualisms Network hereby asserts its intention to develop more articulated organizational, economic, technical and political mechanisms.

With this founding document, the Southern Conceptualisms Network declares the following:

— the Southern Conceptualisms Network is conceived as an international platform for collective undertakings, thinking and political positioning;

— the Southern Conceptualisms Network holds that research, generating archives and experimenting with the re-activation the memory of experience are political, and not merely academic or professional, practices;

— the Southern Conceptualisms Network considers that the politics of the constitution, circulation and acquisition of archives must coincide not only with an acknowledgement of the aftermath of colonialism, but also with an acknowledgement of the ongoing presence of coloniality in contemporary Latin America;

— the name Southern Conceptualisms Network has been adopted on the basis of the following three provisions:

• The tactical use of the terms “conceptualisms” and “conceptual practices.” The Southern Conceptualisms Network recognizes that, over the past twenty years, these terms have been used to engage in the historiographical, theory-based and critical task of de-hierarchization, indictment and decentering of the canonical narratives around “conceptual art,” understanding it not as a specific, delimited art movement, but rather as a different way of practising art and understanding its social function.

• The strategic use of the term “south”. It is used with the purpose of intervening in the geopolitical segmentations of a territory, Latin America, within the current hemispheric conjuncture. The geopolitical condition of the “south” is not used as a metonymy for the geography of Latin America, but as a discursive tool for dismantling the “centrality” and reversing the epistemic “marginality” upon which global “conceptualisms” have been historicized. Through the strategic and geopolitical use of the term “south,” we intend to ensure that the Latin American stance is informed not by a reclamation of some regional cultural identity, but, rather, that it allow the revision of the strict dichotomies that divide center and periphery, canon and counter-canon, first and third worlds, western and non-western.

• The flexible use of the temporal demarcations to be employed. The 1960s and 70s are not definitive chronological landmarks for the Network; nor are they fixed historiographical circumscriptions; rather, they represent the temporal and conceptual nucleus within which the problematics of the Network’s research unfold.

General Objectives

Through this Founding Declaration, the Southern Conceptualisms Network asserts the priority of the following general objectives:

• To undertake research, promote archival policies and carry out experiments around the reactivation of the memory of the “conceptual” practices which developed in Latin American in the 1960s and 70s.

• To get develop the technical, political, economic and institutional tools necessary to champion and articulate, in a networked manner, new research initiatives and focuses.

• To collectively consider and promote a disruptive politics of exhibition, institutionalization, materialization, evaluation, circulation, promotion, acquisition and heritage of archives related to “conceptual” practices in Latin America.

• To promote a set of ethical proposals (different from those dominant in the market economy) and to foster alternative political frameworks capable of influencing decision-making and international public and cultural policy-making with respect to the new forms of material, economic, artistic and symbolic plunder of Latin America.

• To build spaces for the exchange, discussion, and political intervention of research initiatives developed by members of the Network; and to generate, through these spaces, complementary or conflicting synergies with previously established academic and institutional spheres.

This declaration was written by the first members of Southern Conceptualisms Network in 2008 and it is signed by all the members in the present.

(Translator : Stephen Wright)

RCSur is a collective initiative bringing together a set of researchers and artists scattered around various parts of Latin America and Europe, and which proposes to establish itself as a platform for common thought and action dealing with contemporary relations between art and politics. It was founded in 2007 by a group of researchers concerned about the need to intervene politically in the neutralization processes of critical potential of a set of ‘conceptual practices’ that took place in Latin America since the early sixties. Last years, the RCSur has been involved in a long term reflection on uses and politics of archives, working on the organization and constitution of some of the most important artists archives in South America.