Art and Activism (TV Documentary)

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Feb 19 2012

Location: 

Spain

A television report written, directed and produced by Enmedio members Leónidas Martín and Xavier Artigas. Collective projects that see art as a kind of social relationship. Artistic interventions that target consumption, media guerrilla tactics, creative mobilisations and protest, critical projects brimming with humour and disobedience, new narratives capable of changing the existing symbols and codes.

Almost anywhere we look these days we can read that art has been co-opted into the economy, that art incites the desire to consume, that creativity has become trapped within the market, that artistic practices are now the hegemonic model of capitalist wealth production, and other things along similar lines. Well, without undervaluing those claims in any way (they are right on the money, in general terms), we bring you a series of projects that sit somewhere between art and social activism and somehow manage to resist all of that. As we shall see, this resistance gives rise to a new, socially committed aesthetic, and also a new political responsibility: to create possible imaginaries and invent critical devices that we can use to socialize, to create community, and to adopt subjectivities other than those offered by advertising. The projects covered in this episode of Metrópolis approach culture – the space where symbols are produced and where meanings flow – as a new territory of conflict. This is the perspective from which they produce their images and write their stories. Each in its own way, these projects map out a new scenario for creation, in which art turns its back on the epistemology of the individual subject once and for all, and becomes a collective subject. This new creative subject transforms everyday life into a force that is capable of appropriating any symbol, reinterpreting it, changing it, and returning it to the flow of images in the form of a fully active social tool. A brand that appropriates all other brands (Yomango); a fake edition of the New York Times that announces the end of the Iraq war; an army of clowns that confronts police armed with mockery and humour (C.I.R.C.A); two guys who bluff their way into World Trade Organisation summits and ridicule its policies from within (The Yes Men); the world record of people shouting "You won't have a house in your fucking life!"; a group of superheroes who transform precarity into a superpower; a shopping mall transformed into a playground for protest and demands (Urban Decoy). All this and much more in Art and Activism, a series of artistic practices that are, first and foremost, a social relationship. Bruce Lee dixit: “Action is our relationship to everything."

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