This is a special contribution in repudiation of the situation of human rights violations in the municipality of Buenos Aires, Norte del Cauca – Colombia: “Almost every night we go to bed with the terrible news of a new murder of a social leader in the municipality of Buenos Aires, Norte del Cauca. The failure of Duque’s government to implement the Peace Agreement drowns this country in a river of blood. What are we doing as a civil society to stop this?” http://soscauca.interferencia-co.net/engl.html
The context of the global pandemic has amplified all the inequalities that feed the capital accumulation system: gender inequalities (more violence in closed-door households, more care workload for women without schools or senior centers, more harassment on online channels…); the inequalities of border regimes; inequalities in the international division of labor, among many others. At the same time, all public goods have been eroded, as shown by the state of health systems around the world. That was and it is our normality.
Faced with this situation, governments in different parts of the world promote in a variety of ways a kind of return to normality based on the coercion of bodies, on restrictions, on the continuity of impoverishment processes and on necropolitical logics.
That is why we make an internationalist call to give body, words, breath to #NormalityWastheProblem proposing, from the specific perspectives we inhabit, reflections, questions and answers, in the form of words, audiovisual clips, photos, collages,sounds …
The campaign begins on June 3 on social networks and runs throughout the month of June. Until June 30, contributions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Virologists have spent these last few months bent over their microscopes as they labour to identify the origin, vectors of contagion and ways to combat Covid-19. They are not there yet. But they can at least claim to have resolved many of the urgent questions and most pressing needs.
Meanwhile, activists and militants, the impoverished working classes and other unquiet critics of the status quo have been scrutinising the implacable effects of a better known but equally vaccine-less virus: capitalism.
As the pandemic has tightened its grip, it has thrown into stark relief the simmering inequalities that feed the accumulation of capital. Indeed, it has intensified them to an intolerable degree: inequalities of gender (a surge in violence behind closed doors, a ramped-up burden of care for women as schools and old people’s centres shut down, more online harassment, etc.); inequalities of frontier regimes (illegal migrants are shut out from emergency support measures); inequalities in the international division of labour (countries confront the same virus with vastly differing resources in terms of healthcare systems, material conditions of their population, etc.). And many more.
This situation, which we used to call normality, has revealed itself in its dystopian reality.
So, while governments talk about a return to normality or a new normality, we – those of us who seek an emancipatory change to this monstrous normalised reality – are throwing our thoughts, bodies and energy into forging new paradigms, alliances and practices that map the way to new horizons.
But how to translate this urgent desire into specific, down-to-earth, locally relevant measures? How can we vaccinate ourselves against capitalism on the eve of an economic crisis deeper than 2008? At a time when the forces of the far right are eager to seize on the discontent stoked by the pandemic’s material cost?
How can we avoid a return to the dangerous promises that the nation state will save us and instead forge new alliances and new forms of international cooperation?
How can we short-circuit the spaces where capital accumulation squeezes out the resources we have to live on? How can we rescue from rampant marketisationour homes, neighbourhoods, cities, towns, water, air, public spaces and natural and urban environments?
How can we protect social assets (educational systems, cultural institutions, social security systems, healthcare) and create other new goods, under common management, which can overcome the dangers afflicting “public” sectors that are increasingly falling into the claws of financial elites.
How can we break away from a financialised economy centred on accumulation and instead develop a social organisation based on the needs and desires of a decent, independent and free life?
This campaign invites everyone to put forward (in words, video, photographs, collage, sound, etc.), each from our own corners of the world and from the reality we live and see, more questions and more answers to meet the colossal challenge of our collective global demand:
Mass evasion. The high school students shout of “mass evasion, not paying is another way of fighting” that started out the social unrest in Chile was not only a rejection of the precarisation of life in the Latin American country where neoliberalism has established its deepest roots. It also enhances, transforms and returns like from below the evasion that those above them already had license to benefit from. This is a revolt of those who remain tied to dispossession, tied to an unpayable debt, against those who enjoy unimaginable riches. This fugitive, lawless spark, this untrammelled rage that multiplied itself through the underground tunnels and through the urban spaces of Santiago, from which it moved to one city after another throughout the country provided an escape route for disobedience, one that has provoked a profound and irreversible schism.
We energetically denounce and repudiate the decision of the Chilean government of allowing the military on the streets. The behaviour of the right in government is not the product of any “clumsiness”. It is clear that the words by the president describing what is going on in Chile as a “war” was aimed at mobilising a politics of shock that is well-known to us, producing an internal enemy that allows them to split the good citizens from the bad in order to justify the terror, to justify death. This is the response of a government that defends the interests of economic elites through extractivist policies and the privatization of common goods and services. A government that exercises daily violence by reproducing a structural inequality that has become unbearable to most Chileans.
has cracked. Something has broken off from the call to order, making
us inhabit a state of disorientation that forces us to move,
something that also manifests itself as solidarity and joy. We hear a
deafening murmour that is impossible to ignore.
and structural violence are replicated and resonate in the explosions
of resistance in Ecuador and Perú, in Catalonia,
Francia, Hong Kong and Libano, in Puerto Rico, Argelia, Indonesia,
Sudan, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras in a way that allows us to touch for
a moment the indomitable outside of the structures we live in, and
live within us.
call for international solidarity and for demonstrations in all
Chilean embassies and consulates
call for the repudiation of all forms of militarization and
call for the end of the media blackout.
Our murmour will be deafeaning: NO+ BECAUSE WE ARE +
call for a graphic campaign that will allow us to disseminate and
visibilise information. Works to be downloaded and activated in every
context given the vertiginous turn of events.
at artists, collectives, amateurs and anyone interested
– Each artist or collective can send an unlimited number of images.
– Work could be in any medium
– We recommend that images are easy to print and in a resolution of
300 dpi, either in colour or black and white.
– Images should be sent as attachments to email@example.com
enclosing the following details:
of the author or collective / Town and country / E-mail / Title /
Technique / Format / Year
The images will be uploaded to the RedCSur where they might be
The Southern Conceptualisms Network (RedCSur) exposes the open letter to the President of Colombia Iván Duque Marquéz, with the purpose of making visible the situation of persecution, threat and assassination of social leaders. Academics from Colombia and the rest of the world are demanding from the Colombian government the lack of recognition and action.
May 21, 2019
President of the Republic of Colombia,
academics from Colombia and from all over the world and we wish to voice our
concern over recent events in Colombia that include death threats, legal
persecution and the assassination of social leaders, former guerrilla
combatants and human and environmental rights defenders. According to the
Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular, CINEP/Programa por la paz (Centre
of Research and Popular Education, CINEP/Peace Program), of the cases
categorized as political violence in 2018, there were 648 assassinations, 1,151
death threats, 304 people were injured, 48 people were victims of attacks, 22
forced disappearances, 3 sexual attacks and 243 arbitrary detentions. In 2019,
at least 62 social leaders have been killed so far.
facts, we are outraged at the Colombian government’s failure to acknowledge the
situation and we ask the government to take steps to avoid this continuous and
systematic bloodshed and to prevent a repetition of deplorable events, such as
the attempt on the life of Francia Márquez and other leaders from the North of
Cauca that occurred on the 4th May this year.
observed that hate and violence are encouraged from within places of power and
the media and that this disrupts not only the little peace that has been achieved,
but as noted by Daniel Pécaut (2001), is a declaration of war against society.
that conduct research on local, regional and international dynamics, we have
seen how territories of geopolitical interest have been put in the spotlight
and as a result have seen an escalation of conflicts linked to the expansion of
the extractive industry. At the same time, we have noted that nefarious links
have developed between legal and illegal forces in order to expel the local
population from their territories. These types of relations have also been
evidenced by Sassen (2015), Harvey (2004), Escobar (2014), and the analyst of
defense, Herold (2007), among others, who have written on expulsion and
dispossession as a means to make way for the large-scale accumulation of
a similar situation has been noted in relation to the country’s economic
policy, a policy that promotes extractivism as a core strategy for development.
This favorable policy climate is used by different sectors holding power, and
which represent diverse interests, to take control of territories. As a result,
there has been an escalation of assassinations against leaders who are
defending the rights of local communities and peoples. Although this has been a
reality for a long time, there has been an increase in cases since the signing
of the agreements with the FARC – EP in 2016, in clear opposition to the hoped
for ‘territorial peace’.
conclude that these threats and assassinations are linked to various sectors
who have a specific interest in regions in the country where there is a
proposal to develop large-scale extractive projects. This also coincides with
accounts given in ‘free version hearings’ at transitional justice processes and
in decisions made by the Colombian Constitutional Court.
phrases in death threats like ‘finish off anyone who interferes with the
development of the country’ identifies the local population as a military
target, as this population, as voiced by their leaders, opposes extractive
projects and wishes to avoid the negative impacts they have on ecosystems and
We have also
noted that State bodies and the press have failed to take measures to prevent
the threats, legal persecution and assassinations taking place and yet at the
same time do not hesitate to signal and stigmatize social protest, the
activities of social leaders and opposition to government policies.
It is also
worrying that it was only when an attempt was made on the life of Francia
Márquez, a leader known internationally as winner of the Goldman Environmental
prize, who was with other well known leaders at the time, that you chose to
make a public pronouncement. Your government has failed to communicate what
efforts are being taken to respond to this crisis. We are concerned that the
measures taken to date have been insufficient and appear to be limited to weak
security plans for social leaders at risk and a hunt for the material authors
of these crimes. However, in order to identify the intellectual authors and the
sectors behind this strategy of dispossession and extermination, it is
imperative to understand the wider context.
we ask that as head of state you order an investigation in order to uncover
what is really behind the despicable acts of violence taking place on a daily
At the same
time, given the lack of action by your government and the size of the problem,
we feel it is urgent and necessary to invite international organizations like
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to establish a Commission of
Verification to investigate the causes of these violent acts so that we can
have reliable information, prevent new cases occurring and ensure justice for
the victims of the previous cases.
We hope that
you recognize that this is an historic moment for Colombia and that it is
possible to change the course of the national economy and of social policy to
ensure that life and the environment are protected, resulting in a better life,
a ‘buen vivir’, for future generations
you to share with us the measures taken and decisions made to date, to avoid
more blood shed in Colombia and ask what new actions will be taken to resolve
this painful and intolerable humanitarian situation.
undersigned continue to work towards world peace, towards territorial peace,
towards a peace that is longed for in every corner of the earth and here, in
Colombia, that has suffered so much.
Holy Father Papa Francisco, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International
At the beginning of January 2019, we became aware of the alarming news that the Archive of the artist Juan Carlos Romero (1931-2017) has been sold to a private collection of Latin American Art located in New York, by decision of his heirs (the widow and the descendents of Romero) and through arrangements made by the gallery owner Ricardo Ocampo.
This means that the archive will be privatized, closed down, deprived from public access and delocalised from the place where it was established, by the stubborn, lucid, persistent passion of Juan Carlos Romero, who throughout his life defended the public and open condition of his archive.
In a context in which the policies of preservation, care and appreciation of artistic and political documentation are in conditions of precariousness, abandonment and disinvestment, this huge and invaluable collection is much more than the personal archive of an artist and his work, is a generous and unparalleled registryfile of the artistic and political practices and the material culture of an important moment of the twentieth century in Argentina and Latin America.
The archive of Juan Carlos Romero is tremendously relevant not only for the history of Argentinian art, but also for the country’s political, labor union and cultural history. It includes documentary collections such as: the collection of Argentine and Latin American political posters, the CAYC fund, diverse aspects of popular culture (mate, tango, death), or the fund of labor union pamphlets, which far exceed the limits of art.
In a country like Argentina, going through a fierce economic crisis based on indebtedness, capital evasion and generalized spoliation, we repudiate the leakage of common goods and symbolic capitals. We seek that the management of economic cultural, affective and political capital, dismantle the codification between the public and the private to configure in situ, a politics of the common.
Nowadays, the forms of hoarding and accumulation are not only those of the great institutions of the global north that seek to enrich their heritage colonially. But also those of mercenaries whose purpose is to find a return to these collections, because their radar is the economic and symbolic speculation, a compass less predictable, more difficult to track and verify.
From the RedCSur (Network of Southern Conceptualisms) we have been working for years with Juan Carlos Romero, in the public access and institutionalization of the Juan Carlos Romero Archive through the constitution of a nonprofit organization, and we know that his express wish was that his Archive will not disintegrate but will become an open access collection located in Argentina.
Thus, the Juan Carlos Romero Archive was a priority project within the archives policy that RedCSur has been promoting in various parts of Latin America, such as the Clemente Padín archive in Montevideo or the CADA archive in Santiago de Chile, to mention two examples.
This alliance goes back to the RedCSur Second Meeting of (Spanish Park Cultural Center, Rosario, October 2008), when Juan Carlos Romero was invited to present his archive and it was formalized in 2011, when RedCSur began formally working on the constitution of the nonprofit organization that laid the foundations of the archive, and in the inventory and moving of objects and documents to the space that Juan Carlos himself assigned to that end.
Continuing with a work of institutional experimentation, the proposal was to create a common working alliance with other institutions, such as the Museo Reina Sofía and the National University of Tres de Febrero, which were integrated into the project when in 2014 it was formalized a quadripartite collaboration agreement (between the nonprofit organization Juan Carlos Romero Artists Archive, the RedCSur , the MNCARS and the UNTREF), in order to create a joint initiative that would allow the promotion of a framework for safeguarding, preserving and activating the archive based on an ethical agreement: the defense of the integrity of the archive, its public and accessible condition, its location in the context where it’s practices occurred.
In 2014, the principal space of the Juan Carlos Romero Artists Archive nonprofit organization was opened in Santiago del Estero 443, City of Buenos Aires, to house the archive and become a space for consultation and research. Unlike other archives initiatives promoted by the RedCSur, the Romero Archive had its own space, which made possible it’s independence from the different institutions involved in the project (allowing an own particular criteria of cataloging, inventory and systematization of the material, among other issues).
This opened the possibility for the Romero Archive to be considered as a unique experience, to try out projects with greater institutional autonomy and it was proposed to host other artists archives in its space. This characteristic was even present in the name itself as the nonprofit organization Juan Carlos Romero, which is presented as an “Artists Archive”. During these years, RedCSur also worked on the cataloging and open access to different areas of the Romero Archive, including the Political Graphic Collection (composed of more than 2000 posters and available at: http://archivosenuso.org/romero/cronologico) and part of his personal archive.
We call upon the artistic and cultural community, the different archive initiatives, the artistic institutions and universities, the civil society, to pronounce themselves and repudiate the sale and privatization of the Juan Carlos Romero Archive, because this valuable public patrimony remains in private hands, delocalised, inscribed in the logic of an “art collection” and subject to dispersion and inaccessibility.
We demand that those responsible for the sale of the Juan Carlos Romero Archive make public the conditions of sale of a collection from which, to date, there is no complete inventory. The file was removed from the house in Santiago del Estero where he was based. We need to know where it is located, what is its current state of preservation, if it has been maintained as an indivisible archive, as established by the nonprofit organization that protected it during the last years.
We appeal for the intervention of the Argentine State through the protection of cultural heritage, to ensure that the archive remains in the country. At the same time, we call upon institutions and public archives that are disputing the memory and the left wing culture, beyond the nowadays governments, to generate conditions of institutionality that allow the archive to be accepted and to claim their constitution as a public heritage.
We propose that the Juan Carlos Romero Archive be declared a cultural heritage, considering its important documentary value in relation to the political and artistic processes of the 20th century in Argentina and Latin America. Likewise, we commit ourselves from the RedCSur to collaborate actively in:
Continue the processes of cataloging / digitalizing areas of the archive and to work on its public access through the website archivos en uso.
Manage funds to sustain projects for the archive until it’s institutionalization in Argentina is achieved.
To re-launch the nonprofit organization “Artists Archive Juan Carlos Romero” to accompany and ensure the inalienability of the archive, its preservation and socialization, promoting its local registration.
If 10 years ago—in her emblematic keynote address—Suely Rolnik warned about the “furor of the archive” unleashed around ephemeral or dematerialized practices that intertwined art and politics since the sixties and seventies in Latin America, today there can be no doubt about the devastating consequences caused by the withdrawal of the State (and the subsequent lack of public policies) as well as the art market’s excessive voracity for these and many other documentary collections.
This appeal embraces and joins a broader concern regarding the deterioration, fragmentation and privatization to which archives of different nature are being exposed (a concern voiced by international organizations such as the International Council on Archives and Archivists Without Borders, among others). Finding, therefore, a common heritage at risk, we now feel the compelling need to respond to the urgent appeal made to us by a shared responsibility. The two fires that destroyed most of the Helio Oiticica Archive and the Brazilian National Museum, respectfully—although dramatic milestones of an irreparable loss—, aren’t but the most visible face of what is prompting this alert state. The privatization and dispersion of numerous collections in the hands of private collectors reveals a more insidious, persistent, silent face.
In view of this situation, we call to contribute to laying the foundations to reach an agreement in order to promote a binding policy for a common archival management that will not get caught in the dichotomy between public and private spheres. We see it necessary to harmonize criteria and methodologies, and unite communities that can sustain and be co-responsible for an archival policy committed to promoting cognitive justice and epistemological solidarity thus broadening the scope of their political and institutional imagination.
We launch this call for all those individuals and groups involved in activities related to archives; depositors and guardians, archivists, researchers, artists, activists, institutions such as archives, libraries, universities, museums, documentation or research centers, local, national and international networks, in order to establish together a series of criteria and guidelines for good practices and, above all, to implement common measures for reducing the hazards that now threaten archives or have already affected them.
We regard the following to be some basic non-negotiable starting points, when it comes to promoting a common archive policy:
Defend the integrity oftt archives and documentary sets: Prioritizing the indivisibility of archives is a fundamental archival principle, if we want to prevent their fragmentation and dispersion. The distinction between original artwork and its record has favored the segmentation of the documentary body by highlighting some parts to the detriment of the rest. Therefore, we also stress the need to respect the internal logic of each archive in order to safeguard their production contexts, rejecting the imposition of any previously defined organizational criterion that might erase or obliterate the unique history of each documentary body.
Promote localization: leave noinstitutional option untried thatmay allow archives to remain in the site where the experiences they convey took place in order to prevent their decontextualization or alienation from their original contexts, and to favor situated knowledge around their memories. In cases where archives have already been relocated, ensure access (either digital or through physical copies) to the place of origin of the practices, even if the archives are no longer physically there. A situated institution is not that which is located at a specific geographical place, but that which is able to protect contexts and restore archives’ historical and social conditions.
Generate adequate conditions for the preservation of records and facilitate access to them, both material and digital. Digitization per se does not guarantee an easy access to material documents nor their successful destination, and it is necessary to be alert to the risk of technological obsolescence of the recording and storage devices we use. Both material and immaterial preservation of documents are to be opted for, and for this, access an use (reading, consultation, exhibition, writing on the collection) is crucial.We call all those involved in archival work and policy-making to ensure public access to these materials, favoring diverse uses, which shouldn’t just be restricted to consultation or exhibition, but allow for other modes of activation. To recover an access policy at different levels, allowing remote digital access, but also reinvigorating the invaluable experience of a direct relationship with physical materials, shared with other people, by appealing to the communities involved and all those interested.
Promote co-responsibility agreements between institutions, depositors and custodians, subjects of documents, artists, activists, researchers and their respective communities and all those interested, based on the reciprocity between the different agents involved in each archive, irrespective of their level, and commitments shared for the sustainability of the archives in the long term. Contribute to forming a community of care around each file.
Activate archival imagination as a strategy to respond more effectively to the actual changing critical moment, and to an increasingly aggressive market. Diversify and create tactics to preserve the integrity of the archives, with the prospect of establishing institutional and extra-institutional alliance policies that might allow archives to be maintained as a common property jointly managed.
We conceive of this archival imagination as a way to leave this call open to inventing new possibilities, for we know that the first four urgent points may not be enough. Archival imagination means, thus, a call to attend to the present movements in order to find situated answers. For this, we call all those interested to activate both historical imagination—which can bring us back practices of older times capable of summoning their disruptive power over the present, and encouraging their future dimension—, and internationalist imagination, which can help share conflicts and solutions of different latitudes, new decentered solutions that refuse to be aligned along the traditional north-south axis or the center-periphery distinction.
We invite all those who, individually, collectively or institutionally, agree with this proposal to adhere to this call as a a stance-taking act, to expand its scope and, above all, to promote it as a common and binding policy for the different concrete archive situations we are involved in.
Red Conceptualismos del Sur
Archiveras sin fronteras (Chile)
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (España)
Archivo General de la Universidad de la República (Uruguay)
Centro de Artes Visuales / Museo del Barro (Paraguay)
Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (Chile)
Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, MUAC-UNAM (México)
Asociación Civil Clemente Padín (Uruguay)
Archivo Graciela Carnevale (Argentina)
Archivo Elena Lucca (Argentina)
Archivo memorias de la resistencia, Centro Cultural Tallersol (Chile)
Archivo Guillermo Nuñez (Chile)
Archivo fotográfico Kena Lorenzini (Chile)
Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Chile)
Memoria Abierta (Argentina)
Proyecto Juan Acha (México)
Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (El Salvador)
Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes Juan B. Castagnino (Museo Castagnino + Macro, Rosario, Argentina)
Centro de Arte Experimental Vigo (Argentina)
Archivo Luz Donoso (Chile)
Archivo Guillermo Deisler (Chile)
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Montevideo (Uruguay)
Museo de Arte Moderno Chiloé (Chile)
Archivo Central Andrés Bello de la Universidad de Chile (Chile)
Maestría Museología y Gestión del Patrimonio de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Colombia)
CRAC, Valparaíso (Chile)
Departamento Teoría de las Artes Universidad de Chile (Chile)
Núcleo de Estudios y Documentación de la Imagen, Instituto de Investigaciones Geohistóricas Universidad Nacional del Nordeste (Argentina)
Biblioteca de la Facultad de Bellas Artes de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (España)
Archivo histórico de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (España)
Biblioteca General de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (España)
Sociedad Española de Documentación e Información Científica SEDIOC (España)
Archivo José Carlos Mariátegui (Perú)
Alta Tecnología Andina – ATA (Perú)
Magíster Arte, Pensamiento y Cultura Latinoamericana de la USACH (Chile)
Archivo Yeguas del Apocalipsis (Chile)
Archivo Memorias Subterráneas (Argentina)
Revista Archivoz (España)
Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (El Salvador)
WET Labs (México)
Anarchivo Sida (España/ Chile)
La Virreina Centre de la Image de Barcelona(España)
Londres 38 (Chile)
Centro de Arte de la Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina)
Archivo ArteFacto, Managua (Nicaragua)
We think this call relationally, as something open and binding. In effect, this call names itself as an incomplete or even to be completed code of good practice. An open source that knows that its fragility, its holes, can be its strength. That is why we want this call to be reviewed, discussed and reworked in different countries and cities to continue deepening its transregional power from local experiences and perspectives. And that way I can contribute to create a community of care of art / political archives.
We denounce that the Juan Carlos Romero Artists Archive, collected throughout his life by the Argentine artist Juan Carlos Romero (1931-2017), was sold to a private collector in the United States through the gallerist Ricardo Ocampo managment (Walden Gallery). The archive brings together an immense and significant heritage not only relevant to Argentine and Latin American art history, but also for the country’s political, labor union and cultural history. Since 2011 we worked together with Romero in the institutionalization of his archive, with the commitment that it would not be disintegrated and that it would be accessible in Argentina, as he always defended. In 2014, the Juan Carlos Romero Artists Archive nonprofit organization was created to protect, preserve and activate this common heritage. The abroad sale of the archive privatizes and subtracts it from public access, relocating it and with the concrete risk of its dispersion. The RedCSur calls on the international artistic community to prevent the privatization of the Juan Carlos Romero Artists Archive and to claim its constitution as a public archive in Argentina.
Aujourd’hui, alors que commence l’année 2019, nous souhaiterions exprimer nos plus vives inquiétudes suite à la nouvelle de la vente des archives de l’artiste Juan Carlos Romero (1931-2017) à une collection privée d’art latino-américain à New York, décidée par ses héritiers (la veuve et les enfants de Romero) par l’intermédiaire du galeriste Ricardo Ocampo. Cette vente implique que les archives seront désormais privatisées, fermées, soustraites à l’accès public et délocalisées du lieu où elles avaient été constituées, à la faveur de la passion obstinée, lucide et persistante de Juan Carlos Romero, qui tout au long de sa vie a défendu la condition publique et accessible de ses archives. Dans un contexte où les politiques de préservation, de soin et de valorisation de la documentation artistique et politique se trouvent dans une grande précarité, laissées à l’abandon et dans la plus grande indifférence, ce fonds d’archives extraordinaire et d’une grande valeur est beaucoup plus que le fonds d’un artiste et de son œuvre. C’est une collection unique, réalisée grâce à une grande générosité réunissant de nombreux enregistrements des pratiques artistico-politiques et de la culture matérielle d’une partie importante du XXe siècle en Argentine et en Amérique latine. Les archives de Juan Carlos sont extrêmement pertinentes non seulement pour l’histoire de l’art argentin, mais aussi pour l’histoire politique, syndicale, culturelle de ce pays. Il comprend des fonds documentaires comme la collection des affiches politiques argentines et latino-américaines, le fonds sur le Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAYC), sur des aspects de la culture populaire (le mate, le tango, la mort), ou encore des tracts syndicaux, lesquels excèdent largement le domaine de l’art.
Dans un pays comme l’Argentine, traversé par une crise économique de la dette féroce, due à l’évasion des capitaux et à la spoliation généralisée, nous condamnons la fuite des biens communs et des capitaux symboliques. Nous travaillons à ce que la gestion du capital économique, aussi bien que culturel, affectif, politique, défasse la codification entre le public et le privé, afin de reconfigurer de manière située une politique du commun. Aujourd’hui, les formes de thésaurisation et d’accumulation ne se réduisent pas à celles des grandes institutions du nord global qui cherchent à enrichir leur patrimoine de manière coloniale. Elles comprennent aussi celles de mercenaires dont le but est de trouver les moyens de faire fructifier ce patrimoine, dont le radar est la spéculation économique et symbolique, boussole moins prévisible et plus difficile à suivre et à contrôler.
En tant que Red Conceptualismos del Sur, nous avons travaillé de manière engagée auprès de Juan Carlos Romero, pendant des années, pour que les Archives Juan Carlos Romero soient accessibles au public et qu’elles acquièrent un statut institutionnel à travers la création d’une Association civile, et nous savons que sa volonté expresse était que ses archives ne soient pas dispersées mais organisées en un fonds en accès libre basé en Argentine. Les archives Juan Carlos Romero ont constitué un projet prioritaire au sein de la politique des archives impulsé en divers endroits d’Amérique latine par la RedCSur, telles que les archives de Clemente Padín à Montevideo, ou les archives du groupe CADA à Santiago du Chili, pour ne citer que deux exemples. Cette alliance remonte à la deuxième Rencontre de la RedCSur (au Centro Cultural Parque de España, Rosario, octobre 2008), lorsque Juan Carlos Romero fut invité à présenter ses archives. Elle se constitue formellement en 2011, quand la RedCSur commence à travailler à la constitution d’une Association Civile pour poser les bases de ce fonds, et qu’elle a inventorié et déménagé objets et documents vers le lieu que Juan Carlos Romero avait choisi lui-même à cette fin. Menant à bien un travail d’expérimentation institutionnel, la proposition a été de créer une alliance de travail avec d’autres institutions, telles que le Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) et l’Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF), lesquelles ont rejoint le projet en 2014, quand a été élaboré une convention de collaboration tripartite (entre l’Associación Civil Juan Carlos Romero Archivo de Artistas, la Red Conceptualismos del Sur, le MNCARS et la UNTREF). Le but de cette convention était de créer une initiative commune qui permettre de mettre en place un cadre de protection, de préservation et d’activation de ce fonds d’archives sur la base d’un accord éthique: la défense de l’intégrité de l’archive, sa condition publique et accessible, sa localisation là où ont eu lieu les pratiques dont elle rend compte. En 2014, le siège de l’Associación Civil Juan Carlos Romero Archivo de Artistas a été inauguré au 443 de la rue Santiago del Estero dans la ville de Buenos Aires, afin d’accueillir le fonds et d’ouvrir un espace de consultation et de recherche. Contrairement à d’autres initiatives d’archives initiées par la RedCSur, les archives Romero disposaient de leur propre espace, ce qui a empêché leur absorption ou leur soumission à la logique de fonctionnement des institutions impliquées dans le projet (ainsi qu’à leurs propres critères de classement, d’inventaire et de traitement des matériaux, entre autres), et que ces dernières respectent les logiques émanant des archives elles-mêmes. Cela a fait des Archives Romero une expérience unique ouvrant la possibilité d’engager de nouveaux projets plus autonomes institutionnellement, et a conduit à proposer à d’autres artistes d’y déposer leurs archives, un pari énoncé dans le nom même de l’Association Civil Juan Carlos Romero, présentées comme des “Archives d’Artistes”. Durant ces années-là, la RedCSur a travaillé au classement et à la mise en accès de plusieurs parties des Archives Romero, notamment de sa Colección de Gráfica Política (collection d’arts graphiques politiques) (comprenant plus de 2000 affiches et accessible en ligne: http://archivosenuso.org/romero/cronologico) et d’une partie de ses archives personnelles.
Nous lançons un appel à la communauté artistique et culturelle, aux différentes initiatives d’archives, aux institutions artistiques ainsi qu’aux universités, à la société civile, afin qu’elles prennent position et refusent la vente et la privatisation des Archives Juan Carlos Romero, vu que ce patrimoine public d’une très grande valeur reviendrait alors à des particuliers, délocalisé, assujetti à une logique de “collection d’art” encourant la dispersion et l’inaccessibilité.
Nous demandons instamment aux responsables de la vente des Archives Juan Carlos Romero que soient rendues publiques les conditions de la vente de ce fonds, dont il n’existe aucun inventaire complet à ce jour. Les archives ont été enlevées de la maison de la rue Santiago del Estero où elles se trouvaient. Nous devons savoir où elles se trouvent, dans quel état de conservation, si elles ont été conservées de manière indivisible tel que cela avait été établit par l’Associación Civil qui les a conservées ces dernières années.
Nous appelons l’État Argentin à ce qu’il intervienne à travers les ressources qu’offre la protection du patrimoine culturel, afin que soit assuré le maintien des archives dans le pays. Nous lançons également un appel aux institutions et aux archives publiques qui ont lutté sur le terrain de la mémoire et de la culture des différentes gauches, au-delà des gouvernements au pouvoir, afin de produire les conditions institutionnelles indispensables à ce que ces Archives soient accueillies et soient constituées en tant que fonds public.
Nous proposons que les Archives Juan Carlos Romero soient déclarées en tant que patrimoine culturel compte tenu de leur grande valeur documentaire concernant la vie politique et artistique au XXe siècle en Argentine aussi bien qu’en Amérique latine. De même, en tant que RedCSsur, nous nous engageons à collaborer activement à:
Poursuivre la mise en œuvre du classement/digitalisation des parties d’archives ainsi que leur socialisation à travers le site web archivos en uso.
Trouver les fonds afin de soutenir les projets sur ces archives le temps que leur institutionnalisation soit garantie en Argentine.
Relancer les activités de l’Association Civil “Archivo de Artistas Juan Carlos Romero” afin d’accompagner et de veilleur à l’inaliénabilité de ce fonds d’archives, à sa préservation et sa socialisation, tout en œuvrant à son inscription locale.
Between October 23 and 27, 2018 we held a face-to-face meeting to commemorate the 10 years of RedCSur (Network of Southern Conceptualisms) since its creation: when in 2007 Ana Longoni, Miguel López, Fernando Davis, Graciela Carnavale and Emilio Tarazona met at the seminar “Vivid Radical Memory. Radical Conceptual Art revisited. A social and political perspective from the East and the South”, organized by Antoni Mercader at the MACBA museum in Barcelona. At that time these researchers shared the concern and need to intervene politically in the steps of neutralization of a series of political-artistic practices that took place in the 1960s in Latin America.
Since then we have gone through a series of processes where we have seen the increase, not only of new members (which are almost forty in several parts of the world), but also of the significance of our activity in art, relations with institutions and political actions, that have been developed through manifestos, public interventions, exhibitions, seminars and publications. In addition to the continuous work in the conformation and activation of archives in order to preserve and socialize them under various modes of use: within the institutions, through research and online consultation.
Our ways of doing do not cease to be free of doubts and mysteries for other people’s eyes. It is not evident that this network has come to raise a single collective voice, which as a living organism moves collectively – not without contradictions and internal disagreements – motivated by the same eagerness: the one that was the trigger of its foundation.
As independent cells, the division into work nodes and transversal projects that take agreements in virtual meetings (mainly through chats), the network has also carried out a series of face-to-face meetings where collective modes of operation have been discussed. Two meetings were held in 2008, shortly after the RedCSur was formed. The first one called “Conceitualismos du Sul / Sur” (Conceptualisms of the South) organized in the MAC USP, San Pablo, Brazil and the second in Rosario on the 40th anniversary of “Tucuman arde” (Tucuman burns). These first meetings were instances of discussion and the beginning of the elaboration of a common grammar. There was a third meeting in Chile in 2009 called “Memorias y Archivos: categorías modernizadoras, repercusiones y disidencias posibles en los ‘Conceptualismos del Sur'” (Memories and Archives: modernizing categories, repercussions and possible dissidences in the ‘Conceptualisms of the South’). Since then and after a wealth of work where numerous archives were socialized, collective exhibitions and publications were held, we organized a fourth meeting called “Insubordinate knowledge, ecologies of action, emerging futures”. Which proposed, as a starting point, to stop, question and explore paths travelled, ways of doing and acting that have been delineated throughout these 10 years. A repositioning of the network arises in this meeting, under a new historical-political framework to face with the learnings of our history, to build other insubordinate knowledge, strengthen ecologies of common action and outline other futures within those emerging.
In this meeting we met 35 members who, in many cases, we saw for the first time after having worked together innumerable times. The bonds generated among us, allowed us to mobilize discussions with more force and update certain parameters that could not be discussed with this intensity and no composure. Activating and opening, the following topics were put into debate: the instituting declaration, the most important landmark in our history, the revision of our ways of doing and the reflection of certain axes of political discussion such as racism, neoconservatism, feminist perspectives and generic sex dissidences, neoextractivism, postcolonialism and the politics of memory, which positions us in a critical present where we do not want to stop thinking about action and research as a political agent. Even more so when the meeting took place under the atmosphere of the days before the second round of the presidential elections in Brazil, where Bolsonaro was elected.
Along with the atmosphere of the debates, we had the opportunity to get together to silkscreen, to go out to the street for a massive street poster sticker, after a meeting on the exhibition project “El Giro Gráfico” (The Graphic Turn) and to join the protest of “picos rojos” (red beaks) in Nicaragua. Thus, the meeting developed as a laboratory of political thought around internal and external ecologies of action that was projected in a collective commitment to resist the present and imagine other futures to build together.
At its ten years of life, the Conceptualismos del Sur Network holds its fourth face-to-face meeting, bringing together 35 of its members in the city of Buenos Aires between October 23 and 27, 2018.
In addition to the internal work days, on Friday, October 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the Cultural Center of cooperation, the public talk “Giro Gráfico” is carried out, an ongoing research of the RedCSur, which brings together and puts in relation to a set of graphic initiatives promoted by visual producers, artists and collectives (integrated or not by artists), which radically transform their way of doing, their language and their circulation based on the impact produced by a certain political event, the urgencies that the context unleashes.
The project is coordinated by: Ana Longoni (Argentina), Tamara Díaz Bringas (Cuba-Spain) and André Mesquita (Brazil).
And at the public table will participate the researchers Sol Henaro (Mexico), Sylvia Suárez (Colombia) and Paulina Varas (Chile).