Please join us for another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.
This Tuesday we’ll be talking to Federico Geller, a founding member of the Buenos Aires-based group Abriendo Caminos / La Comunitaria TV, a collective which uses popular pedagogy principles to carry out training workshops on media tools — including video, radio and other art-related practices — with groups and communities whose use of media is all to often as consumers rather than producers.
“Communication”, the group asserts, “is a human right that is curtailed when the media of expression and distribution are concentrated in a few hands alone. With our own media, we seek to multiply the voices, the perspectives and proposals that enable us to move toward a more democratic society.” On this basis, the group works very concretely to construct and share popular communications tools to produce a diversity of voices — and above all to open spaces where voices typically dismissed as noise make themselves heard as necessary and dissenting parts of the conversation in an non egalitarian society. The collective also works towards producing documents and records of social struggles, and on political intervention in public space using different types of visual and other media. It produces Radionautas, a weekly radio program in and for Don Orione, a densely populated but neglected neighborhood in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
What does it mean to use art-related communications tools and practices for such purposes? To deploy them in lifeworlds so far outside the framework of the mainstream artworld? At the very least, by suggesting that these tools and practices are potentially empowering — and may even be threatening to an unequal social order — they seem to stake out a very strong position with regard to a question which has come up countless times in the course of our discussions this year: What does art bring, if anything, to the collaborative endeavors in which it partakes? By seeing art as competence rather than object, as a tool rather than the end product, they believe that art does have a crucial role in lifeworld transformation. The type of television produced by La Comunitaria TV in the course of the workshops jars expectations geared toward the horizon of the mainstream — suggesting that the post-conceptual practices we call “plausible artworlds” are often very close in terms of their values to the mainstream they are seeking to escape. And this becomes clear in comparison with the collective work and world of Abriendo Caminos, an artworld utterly unlike any other we have examined, focusing on the desire to give world extension to the overlooked and the unheard. And perhaps the reason why the group’s latest project is called “Que Viva la Diversidad!” — whose subtitle alone explains the kinship with the outlook of Plausible Artworlds: “Los mundos posibles son mundos diversos”