The haudenschildGarage supported the University Art Gallery (UAG) at the University of California, San Diego that presented an exhibition of Argentine political art produced in the public sphere over the past fifteen years - Arrhythmias of Counter-Production: Engaged Art in Argentina, 1995-2011 (October 6 2011 - January 20 2012). A one-day conference, Arrhythmias: Narrative, Political Imagination & (im)possible Archives, took place in conjunction with Jennifer Flores Sternad, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU and a leading critic and scholar of political art in the Americas.
Arrhythmias showcased art practices developed in Argentina since the mid-1990s that demonstrate exceptionally creative, and widely diverse, modes of engagement with present-day social and political struggles. The artists featured in the exhibition combine artistic practices and the pursuit of creative experimentation with methodologies and epistemologies, such as those associated with militant research, radical pedagogy, direct action, community organizing, critical cartography, tactical media and Brechtian theater. Many of the projects in the exhibition were developed through direct contact with, or in explicit alignment with, left social movements. In some cases, the artistic practice was coextensive with popular forms of struggle or grass-roots organizing. Other projects include anti-imperialist historiographical interventions that interweave the Southern Cone's colonial history with its present-day neoliberal order, studies of vast informal economies and the migrant and local labor that sustains them, and provocative street performances and media interventions that reveal the logic behind the discursive and legal system of anti-terrorism.
This work evolved in response to the various political and subjective tensions that accompanied the Argentine economic crisis, which peaked in 2001 and 2002. These include a profound negation of state institutions, the protagonism of autonomous social movements, and popular militancy and grass-roots organizing attached to aesthetic invention. Another important point of reference for these artists is their understanding of the period popularly dubbed "post-crises," characterized by re-legitimation of the traditional political system, the repression and domestication of social movements and a turn towards a discourse of security. Described by its architects as a return to "normal capitalism," this transformation has been hailed internationally—as well as by some sectors in Argentina—as a remarkable "recovery" and successful return to stability.
If, as Ruth Gilmore writes, "Crisis signals systemic social change whose outcome is determined through struggle," the works in this exhibition trace the contours of this struggle over the past decade, up to the present. In doing so, they reject official representations of stability and development, defy the image of a kinder and gentler "normal" capitalism and interrogate the political theater through which these ideas are promoted. Dismantling the narrative of crisis and "recovery," they instead reveal the conditions of stability for the crisis state, and what it costs in labor, terror and even life.
Artists included in the exhibition
Ala Plástica http://urban-matters.org/organisations/ala-plastica
Eduardo Molinari https://www.otis.edu/tags/eduardo-molinari
The Errorist International http://utopiana.ch/en/grupo-etcetera-and-the-%E2%80%9Cinternational-errorist-movement%E2%80%9D/
Grupo de Arte Callejero http://grupodeartecallejero.blogspot.com/
Taller Popular de Serigrafía http://2nd.moscowbiennale.ru/en/popular/
The Archivo Provincial de la Memoria http://www.apm.gov.ar/
Jennifer Flores Sternad https://www.english.upenn.edu/people/jennifer-ponce-de-le%C3%B3n