bodies of production
Some notes on bodies, gazes, words and actions in times of (ins)urgency and precariousness.
It's been now more than one year ago, since January 2002, when we began working in Cuerpos de producción (Bodies of Production), a project that was defined as an interdisciplinary space for collaboration between artists, activists and theoreticians from different fields (from architecture to literature) and which aimed to produce written and visual texts on / in the public space of the city of Santiago de Compostela.
Starting from the confluence with some alternative discourses (or openly discrepant) to those elaborated by the accredited institutions, Cuerpos de producción (Bodies of Production) wanted to think about the mechanisms of knowledge generation, about the possibility of constructing critical images of our bodies in public spaces, about new forms of implicated visibility and about the confluence of some artistic and political practices in this last decade.
Our starting position was clearly influenced by our background (fundamentally by our feminist militancy) and by the experiences we learned from those artists and collectives that, from the 70s, but especially during the 80s and 90s, had created new forms of producing art heirs to the conceptual rupture and political struggles of '68 that contradicted, or at least resisted, traditional manners (fetishable objetcs, unique and auratic commodities based on the mastery of the artist - 'genius' ...). Our references, on the contrary, were (and still are) discourses, images or actions that conform what has been called a "new public art genre" , implicated representations, necessarily contextualized, that will require an active attitude from the spectators and users of such proposals. They were (and still are) what in the museistic reification process and in the (sometimes well-intentioned) (neutralizing) normalization has been called "political art", directly produced or inspired by some critical discourses (such as feminism, re-readings of Marxism, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, several contributions of queer theory...) that were sustaining our project.
This "new public art genre ", these situated and implicated forms that, ultimately, will seek to activate the space of “relative autonomy” that art provides to construct it as a possible territory of political action, were opposed to what Rosalyn Deutsche in her compelling text Agoraphobia defined as “official public art”, civic beautification, collaborative utilitarianism of urban design, images and logos conniving with evictions and speculative restructurings, institutionally used to hide the conflictive nature of public space. A "new public art genre " that, as pointed out by Deutsche in a well-articulated critique from feminism towards traditional leftist positions, also had to question the hegemonic gaze and to highlight the issue of subjectivity in representation as a political priority.
*This text was published in the book PERMUI, Uqui and RUIDO, María (eds.): Corpos de producción Miradas críticas e relatos feministas en torno ós suxeitos sexuados nos espacios públicos. Santiago de Compostela, 2005.