with Cuauhtémoc Medina

From: Medina, Cuauhtémoc “Conversation,” Dominó Canibal: Tania Bruguera. PAC Murcia, Ed. Urroz Proyectos. Murcia, Spain.

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with Cuauhtémoc Medina

Cuauhtémoc Medina: In the Domino Canibal Academy a question that has constantly been referred to is that of within and without artistic production, not the notion strictly having to do with context that we have to know what is outside to understand a work, but the comings and goings having to do with what comes in, what goes out, what is regarded as sacred, what is considered banal, what penetration of reality takes place in the work. There is an inner play and a play with what is outside. Tania Bruguera has set out to take up both levels in a way that can be considered counterintuitive, taking in the classic language of public production, 20th century mural painting and allusion, the difficulty of public intervention in contemporary art in its state of reflective passivity embodied by Jimmy Durham’s and Kendell Geers’s works.

In this interaction, Tania Bruguera has also wanted to include a participation process that may be entirely ineffective or may have some echo, trying to offer space to public participation in a moment of confrontation between trade unions and the Spanish government. In any case, this play will be trying to occupy the space of consecration in the church as a field of reflection on the fate of the political imagery.

Tania Bruguera: Well, unfortunately this project on the General Strike takes only a passive position (for the moment), that is, I am trying to take advantage of the circumstances surrounding me to see if it is possible that images actually detonate an action, if images can really activate a desire for action and we could almost say that the work is at the same time a sort of file of the enthusiasm or lack of enthusiasm this event may generate.

I always say my work is ephemeral, whether it is an object weighing six (6) tons and physically existing. And I say it is ephemeral because the active approach to a work is ephemeral, that is, works have a level of expiry as to the reactions they may cause. That is why I consider them ephemeral and that is why I have no problem in doing a work that expires, that has expired even when being exhibited. This is what I considered interesting. That is, there is a General Strike – I like to work in political times. I always say my work is site political time specific, not only because of the place, but because of political times and I was interested in starting before. It was mere chance, but I found it interesting to begin before the Strike began, the preparation of the Strike, the existence of the Strike, some days later and then the reminiscence of the Strike.

How to appropriate this time that was mine, which was mere chance because I said September much before the time we knew it would happen, before the process of enthusiasm, doubt and frustration (possibly). It was like seeing a political time, the emergence of a desire, or the need of pulling oneself together or to show yourself to a power and doing it and then the consequences it brings and the frustration which every type of action brings – because every action carries a level of frustration – and then this interested me as a concept.

Later I thought it was interesting, since it was a moment of popular call, rather like revisiting not a history, because I did not make such an in-depth research, but a sort of chronology or free association of images that have belonged to propaganda and that is really difficult. That is, it is a church as we were saying just a while ago in which they come with a series of things to which, although you may not want to, you are preconditioned to react in a given way. There is a very specific space for circulation that can be no other. These are churches made exactly for the veneration of a center and I am not interested in veneration as a concept. Then what can you do with a central point of something that may turn into an icon even if you don’t want it to. So what I said was: What I have to do is precisely the opposite. Instead of being afraid of it, and change it, I would boost it. That is, if these churches are made for you to look to the center, to the main character who will give you the word of God, then I give the floor to Protest, which is this object, which becomes a relic for me and it has the same value the finger of a saint has.