Online workshop with Daniela Labra (en/es)

»Push ups on Art, Activism, Money and Performance: non-poetic mercantile realities, memory and survival strategies« 

When: 12th May, 14:00h – 18:00h
Where: online. zoom, with registration. 25 participants. Limited availability. Upon confirmation of registration, participants will be contacted to send a link or a PDF portfolio of their research. 
Inscriptions: anmeldung[a]ngbk.de*

Cheril Linett, 2020


From critical positions and artistic proposals that make up the temporary collection of the museo de la democracia, we discuss how art assumes the inexorable scenario of the commodification of life to comment on the present and the past in operations that reorder historical narratives, subvert canons, deconstruct identity paradigms, question the dominant structures of thought and others. We observe how artists interpret, act and react to the public sphere by promoting activist actions to confront situations of institutional violence, often supported by the neoliberal racist hand. At the same time, in the contradictory logic of the productivity of the artistic-cultural system, the artist transforms his or her gaze on diverse political and historical processes into “work”, making the critique of oppressive systems also a commodity.

Latin America being the starting point of this museum, we observe permanent states of institutional precariousness that integrate projects of annihilation of memory and silencing of plural voices in order to maintain old power structures. On the other hand, we also analyze the artistic operations of resistance and re-articulation of the real supported by actions of a performative, political and activist nature.

Against this backdrop, we pose the following questions: on the path to the commodification of political and activist art, can we delimit when the work ends and the “product” begins? How and when to prevent the critical artistic image from becoming a “consumable thing”? Wouldn’t the commodification of activist art be a strategy for the financing of activist and artistic practice itself? How to escape the trap of extractivist activist art?

These and other questions will be debated among the participants, with the intervention of artists from the exhibition and presentation of artistic projects. 

Workshop structure:

14h-14:10 – Welcome and general presentation of the Workshop 
14:10-15:40h – Part I – History told, archives burned: whose memory? 
Presentation of video »Sin Título«, 2003, by Gustavo Artigas (Duration: 2:40) and »America: Democracia racial, melting pot y pureza de razas«, by Jaime Lauriano; Conversation with Marcela Moraga about art, activism and independent institutions: self-management or death; Debate with the participants.
15:40-16h – Interval – Transmission of the Archivo Sonoro Militante, by Manuela García Aldana 
16h-17:10 – Part II – Plazas, resistant bodies and performative operations. Discussion based on the projects of Victor de La Rocque, Zoltan Kunckel, Andressa Cantergiani, Cheril Linett.
17:10-18h – Final discussion (participation of Andressa Cantergiani): Art, Activism, Money and Performance – commodification of political art and survival strategies, how to deal with?

Contents of the programme:

Part I – History told, archives burned: whose memory?
Based on the works of Gustavo Artigas, Jaime Lauriano and Marcela Moraga, we present the general problematic of the museum of democracy; We comment on the processes of construction and institutional extinguishing of collective memories as a project for the maintenance of old extractivist power structures. 

About the works:
In the video »Sin Título«, Gustavo Artigas simulates a fire in the Museo de Historia de Panamá, in reference to historical fires in the country. Incidentally, he advocates for the fateful 2018 fire at the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro, which destroyed 80% of the largest natural history collection in the Americas. Jaime Lauriano, for his part, with his flag of the series »Democracia Racial«, imagines old navigation charts in black and white, and thinks of the formation of iconographic archives as part of the historical narrative of colonial violence, the extinguishing of bodies and thoughts. Adding to the problematic of the museum as a space of memory and possible place of resistance, Marcela Moraga presents Salvemos el Río Renaico, an experience about a community in southern Chile and their independent initiative to preserve the integrity and history of the river that has given life to the region since ancestral times, today in the process of sedimentation due to the uncontrolled exploitation of its resources.

Part II – Plazas, Resistant Bodies and Performative Operations.
A central theme of the museo de la democracia is the public space, especially the Plazas as a place of popular rebellious acts that question neoliberal pseudo-democratic structures, bringing together voices and bodies that are nonconformist with oppressive state mechanisms and their symbols of power.  We reflect on performance and performativity as a resource for intervention in the real, thinking about its critical-activist dimension. We draw on the works of the Kiosk Square at the Museum of Democracy and others, which criticise forms of violence through performative operations. In this block we bring the research of Victor De La Rocque, Zoltan Kunckel, Andressa Cantergiani, Cheril Linett.

About the works:
Artist Victor De La Rocque presents »Social Shirt Project for people with difficulties in identifying the left side from the right«, starting from a personal problem to comment on the polarisation of the contemporary political field. With Zoltan Kunckel, we delve into the figure of Simón Bolívar as the myth of a process of economic and cultural independence that still seems unstable. Finally, two artists present performances that deliberately confront the symbols of state power and oppression: Andressa Cantergiani in »Combate«, an action that took place for a week in the Military Museum of Rio Grande Sul, Brazil, and Cheril Linett with the collective action »Yeguada Latinoamericana«, a public intervention during the civil protests in Santiago de Chile.

Daniela Labra (Team museo de la democracia)

Daniela Labra is a visual arts curator, researcher and art critic. She graduated in Theatre Theory at Uni-Rio. PhD in History and Art Criticism from the School of Fine Arts at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro with the thesis: International Legitimation of Brazilian Art, analysis of a path: 1940-2010, winner of the Gilberto Velho Thesis Award, 2015. Post-doctoral research by the School of Communication of UFRJ, 2016.
Works mainly on the themes: Brazilian art, Latin American historical and aesthetic processes, performance art, performativity, art and politics. Founder of Plataforma Zait de Estudos em Arte Contemporânea; Professor at Node Center, www.nodecenter.net; Professor of Art Theory and History at Parque Lage Visual Arts School, Rio de Janeiro (2010-2016). Art critic at O Globo newspaper (2014-2016). Collaborated with several art magazines and institutions since 2013. Selected curations: museo de la democracia, nGbK, Berlin, 2021; Frestas Triennial 2017: Between Post-truths and Happenings, SESC Sorocaba, São Paulo; Performance Arte Brasil Festival, MAM Rio de Janeiro, 2011, among others. She lives and works between Berlin and Rio de Janeiro.