As space was absorbed and consumed in movement by a spectator, a new architectonics was set in motion: a “picturesque revolution” that was born of setting sites in moving perspectives (…). The new sensibility engaged the physicality of the observer, challenging her ability to take in space and more space-a mobilized space.
During the eighteenth century, the production of travel discourse began to grow and took on a variety of forms, from literary to visual and spatial configurations. Journeys, poems, view paintings, and gardens views were among the new forms of shared spatiovisual pleasure. (…) the historian Alain Corbin writes: (…)The Italian veduta had learned to take a comprehensive view of their cities, and for ages tourists had rushed to take in the Bay of Naples from the terraces overlooking the city…The ‘prospect view’ offered a pleasure, combined with walking and the ideal day, that gave rise to a new way of seeing. Scanning sites and cityscapes, moving through and with landscapes, this opening of spatial horizons fashioned spectacular spectatorial pleasures. The “collective attraction for views” was another of the forces that shaped the cultural movement which proleptically led to the cinema. (…) Vedutismo was a particular incarnation of the observational gaze.(…) As they merged the codes of urban topography and landscape painting, city views also incorporated the cartographic drive, creating imaginative representational maps.
“[…] When artists employ historical archives as media is history affected?
[…] Where does the body belong among the ubiquity of images?
The hypothesis – that the archive as artwork challenges the notion of history as a discourse based primarily upon chronology and documentation – no longer presupposes a stable and retroactive archive, but often a generative one. Consequently, the historicizing process of contemporary art is frequently mise-en-abyme (..)
“[…] Vilém Flusser […] His second book A História do Diabo (History of the Devil), published in Brasil in 1965, approached history and the creation of linear time as the work of the devil. […] the book combines philosophy and humor […] By philosophizing in translation and without foundations, Flusser bridged languages, disciplines and cultures.”
“[…] He has been both celebrated and criticized for his philosophical speculations and style of jumping across disciplines while ignoring, […]”
“If we abandon the idea of possessing some identifiable hard core, and if we assume we are imbedded within a relational network, then the classical distinction between “objective knowledge” and “subjective experience” will become meaningless.” If intersubjectivity becomes the fundamental category of thinking and action, then science will be seen as a kind of art (as an intersubjective fiction), and art will be seen as a kind of science (as an intersubjective source of knowledge).”
Vilém Flusser “On Memory (Electronic or Otherwise)” Leonardo vol.23, no.4,(1990):399.
“Besides Derrida’s[…] The first is Ann Reynolds’s original approach to Robert Smithson’s archive, which used a morphological methodology not very common among historians, but employed by Smithson himself as his working method. These morphological connections of eclectic material, such as images and written texts, diverse authors, disciplines, and concepts from popular and erudite culture, are “categories of thought and images that remain invisible to established hierarchies of interpretation.” The second book, written from the point of view of performance studies and focusing on inter-American cultural relations, is Diana Taylor’s The Archive and the Repertoire, in which Taylor examines the hegemonic power of text-based archival sources over performative, oral, and other ephemeral forms of knowledge.”
The experimental, concept-based, and often ephemeral aspects of contemporary art, which have only increased since the 1960s, producing fluid lines between work and documentation, certainly benefit from the issues raised by all three books, which pose relevant methodological challenges to more positivist approaches to documentation in art history and criticism. Bruscky’s and Kac’s works, writings, and archives put into play logical topologies that often escape the chronological and medium-based analytical methods of art history and criticism.”
‘Is an experimental avant-garde possible in an underdeveloped country?’ was a provocative question asked by Catherine David, one of the curators of the first large international retrospective of Hélio Oiticica, raising geopolitical questions in art history and criticism. Multiple Brazilian avant-garde artists subverted ‘higher’ aesthetics values by focusing on folk and popular aesthetics and emphasizing the ‘lower’ senses of touch, taste, and smell suggested by digestive and sexual metaphors.”*
“(…) Gregory Ulmer’s Electracy-electronic literacy-for instance, argued for(…)the Brazilian samba as a model for writing hypertexts.(…) Ulmer’s reference to the Samba is a welcome reminder that audience participation has a broad history that could include total participation in church liturgies, processions, and especially festivals such as the very pagan yet very sacred four days of Carnaval in Brazil. Artists such as Hélio Oiticica have fused these oral traditions-such as the Samba-to misread and reinterpret European modernism, thus translating geometric abstraction into kinetic body-centered performances.”
In the effort to represent and stabilize past events, which ghosts does the archive have to avoid and evade, preserve or defend against? Beyond humidity, mold and insects, what other entropic forces oppose the process of archivization? What cannot be documented? Which memories can be materialized in form and space? Whose memories get to be preserved in archives? What kind of documental collection is formed when the artist is the archivist?
Furthermore, as we have seen, in the history of the Native commons we find the best, most concrete example of a commoning use of resources realized without any private property claim or exclusionary regulations.(…) According to Allen, the value Native people placed on freedom, lack of hierarchies, and egalitarian relations has been a major source of influence on not only socialist thought in Europe and America, but especially American feminism, an influence symbolically evoked by the gathering of the first feminist conference in the United States on what had been Indian land: Seneca Falls.
It is not, thus, a pure coincidence that the first reconstruction of a territory on the continent organized on the principle of the commons was realized by Native Americans- the Zapatistas- or that the Women’s revolutionary Law is central to their constitution, establishing a broad range of women’s rights that is unprecedented in any country.
The Women’s Revolutionary Law was adopted in the 1992 at the time of the Zapatista uprising. It stipulates seven key women’s rights, including the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle, as they desire and need to, to work and receive a just salary, to decide how many children they will have and care for, to participate in the affairs of the community and hold positions of authority, if freely and democratically elected, to education, to choose their partner, and to primary attention in matters of health and nutrition. (For the text of the Law see Zapatistas! documents of the new Mexican revolution (December 31, 1993-June 12, 1994. Brooklyn:Autonomedia 1994)
Introduction: Why Commons?
At least since the Zapatistas took over the Zócalo in San Cristobal de las Casas on December 31, 1993 to protest legislation dissolving the ejidal lands of Mexico, the concept of ‘the commons’ has been gaining popularity among the radical left internationally and in the U.S., appearing as a basis for convergence among anarchists, Marxists, socialists, ecologists, and ecofeminists.(…) The new enclosures’ have also made visible a world of communal properties and relations that many had believed to be extinct or had not valued until threatened with privatization.
(…) In this context the idea of the common/s has offered a logical and historical alternative to both the state and the private property and the state and the market, enabling us to reject the fiction that they are mutually exclusive and exhaustive of our political possibilities.
(…) markets too, the argument goes, depend on the existence of nonmonetary relations like confidence, trust, and gift giving. In brief, capital is learning about the virtues of the common good.
We must be very carefull, then, not to craft the discourse on the commons in such a way as to allow a crisis-ridden capitalist class to revive itself, for instance, as the environmental guardian of the planet.
from Global Commons, World Bank Commons
(…)Most important has been the creation of urban gardens, which spread across the country in the 1980s and 1990s, thanks mostly to the initiatives of immigrant communities from Africa, the Caribbean, or the South of the United States. Their significance cannot be overestimated. Urban gardens have opened the way to a ‘rurbanization’ process that is indispensable if we are to regain control over our food production, regenerate our environment, and provide for our subsistence.
The gardens are far more than a source of food security: they are centers of sociality, knowledge production, and cultural and intergenerational exchange.
(…) Bruscky and Kac have forged through their practices the very space in which their work occurs. Unlike contemporaries who have relied on established media (…), Bruscky and Kac have often worked with new technologies and remote communication, short-circuiting the effects of institutional and market validation (..). This critique, which is often implicit in the material manifestation of their work, at timed becomes explicit, as in the case of Bruscky’s exhibition of his archive and Kac’s books-both of which have I sought to highlight here. (…)
If there is a common agreement in current discussions of art criticism, it is the recognition of a general crisis (…). Other critics have also called attention to the apparent paradox between vibrant expansion of the global art market and the simultaneous demise of criticism in recent decades, pointing to the increased inability of contemporary critics to make value judgments, as art criticism becomes ever more informative and promotional than critical.
When artists perform the archive, and artists’s archives are exhibited as art installations; when the mass media is used as a medium for art making and exhibitions re-enact historical events by seamlessly combining documentary and fiction; when the past refuses tosettle and nature’s entropic processes are countered by a generative technology designed to upgrade and perpetuate itself-is history permanently undead?
“ The location of art and archives in particular historical contexts and national histories brings to the forefront political dimensions of art in relation to life, technology and difference, and thus, social and political struggles involving class, ethnicity, gender, nationality, and colonialism, often at the center of utopian revolutions leading to various authoritarian and democratic regimes. In this struggle, more than a few twentieth-century Brazilian avant-gardes have enlisted the body centered metaphors of cannibalism, carnival and hunger in order to simultaneously incorporate the foreigner into the familiar and subvert cultural hierarchies that disregarded popular and folk forms of cultural expressions.
As the boundaries between art’s inside and outside become less clear, meaning and authorship become more collective and distributed. In a participatory paradigm, for instance, completeness is no longer possible, desirable, or taken for granted. The artist’s role as theoretician and archivist further disrupts boundaries between art production and its documentation, and therefore does the same to the traditional hierarchies between artists, critics, and art historians.
One factor that encourages women’s role as custodians of the land and communal wealth is their greater role in preserving and transmitting traditional knowledge. As tejedoras de memoria, weavers of memory, as Mexican theorist/activist Mina Navarro puts it, they form an important instrument of resistance, because the knowledge they sustain and share produces a stronger collective identity and cohesion in the face of dispossession* The participation in the new movements of indigenous women, who bring with them a vision of the future shaped by a connection with the past and a strong sense of the continuity between human being and nature, is crucial in this context. With the reference to the ‘cosmovision’ that typify indigenous cultures in Latin America some feminists have coined the term ‘communitarian feminism’, where the concept of the commons is understood to express a specific conception of space, time, life, and the human body.
*Mina Navarro, Luchas por lo común:Antagonismo social contra el despojo capitalista de los bienes naturales en Mexico (Puebla:Bajo Tierra Ediciones, 2015), 248-264.
A further sign of rising feminist consciousness is the emergence of a new critical stance among indigenous women who are questioning the patriarchal structures that govern their communities, especially the transmission of land, which often occurs in a patrilineal fashion. This differential inclusion has major consequences, as Gladys Tzul Tzul, an indigenous scholar/activist from Totonicapán area of Guatemala, points out, as it affects “the registration of the family’s property, the guardianship pf the children, and the symbolic meaning of having children outside of marriage”
As the italian feminist critic Paola Melchiori , a passionate nomad, observes dislocation has always marked the terrain of the female traveler. Analyzing the literature of travel as a site of sexual difference, she writes: Reading women’s travel writing, one notices an absence of the past. Women who leave are not nostalgic. They desire what they have not had, and they look for it in the future. The desire does not take shape as “return” but rather as “voyage”. Nostalgia is substituted by dislocation*. Thinking as a voyageuse can trigger a relation to dwelling that is much more transitive than the fixity of oikos, and a cartography that is errant. Wandering defines this cartography, which is guided by a fundamental remapping of dwelling. A constant redrafting of sites, rather than the circularity of origin and return, ensures that spatial attachment does not become a desire to possess. In the words of Rosi Braidotti, “the nomad has a sharpened sense of territory but no possessiveness about it**”.
from Gender Nomadism: The Journey of Dwelling