from In The Deleuzian Age, California College of Arts and Crafts (San Francisco, 2000)
at the museum: Who knows
what may happen . . .
It is always a question of freeing life where it has been imprisoned, or trying to do so in an uncertain combat.
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari2
Life, in its power of variation, constitutes one of the privileged targets of contemporary capitalism investment. The visible horizons for its expansion being exhausted, it is in the invisible that capital will discover this unexplored mine: to extract lifes formulae for creation, in its different manifestations, will be its goal as well as the cause of its inevitable ambiguity: Actually, on the one hand, to meet its aim, capitalism will necessarily have to invest in research and invention, which increases chances for expansion of life on the other, the aim of its investment is not the expansion of life, but rather the manufacturing and the commercializing of clones of the products of life creations, in order to expand capital, its leading principle. The most obvious example is genetic research resulting in a DNA databank that feeds the biotechnological industry with matrices to be reproduced, even in a very remote future. However, not only from biological life is capitalism interested in extracting formulae, but also from subjective life, where the feeling of the self is being generated and where the territory of existence is being shaped, without which one can hardly survive. Just like biodiversity in nature, a never-ending source of investment to capital, there is multiculturalism in the modes of constituting subjectivity.
Thus, neo-capitalism summons and supports singular modes of subjectivation, but only to reproduce them, detached from their connection with life, and turned into products: mass-produced clones, commercialized as prêt-à-porter identities.3 What is sold are images of those identities/goods that will be consumed even by those whose subjective marrow capital sucks to produce the clones. In the contemporary re-invention of capitalism, the distance between producing and consuming vanishes: the consumer him-or herself becomes its raw material and its product.
"Subjectivity clones" form ephemeral patterns of identification. To make this market function, new types of clones have to be produced over and over, while others go out of production and become obsolete. The difference between anomaly and abnormality could take this reflection further. Anomaly is a word of Greek origin that indicates the rough, the uneven, the singular, while abnormality is a word of Latin origin that qualifies who goes against the rules and is therefore determined in relation to generic characteristics.4 Thus, in the Latin tradition, the manifestations of what is the most peculiar feature of life, its power of creation, are interpreted as a negation, and therefore, as reprehensible. Apparently, the current mode of production is operating within the Latin tradition: the manifestations of the power of creation tend to be interpreted, not as an abnormality, a transgression of an absolutized reference, but as an anomaly; taken in their positiveness, such manifestations cease being accursed. On the contrary, the anomaly is welcome because of its very singularity, acquiring not only a reserved place, but also encouragement and prestige. However, the aim of this special investment in anomaly is its conversion into raw material for the producing of new clones, new generic forms of living, new kinds of homogenizing reference. It is therefore the Latin tradition that persists, but in an updated version.
In other words, the statute of the power of creation is today intrinsically marked with an ambiguity : creation has never been so much praised but only if the principle of its production ceases to prioritize life (the problematization of what obstructs its expansion and the creation of territories that make it possible), to submit to capital as leading principle. If not, lacking other means of social recognition other than likeliness and analogy in relation to the patterns, even ephemeral ones anomaly tends to fall into some kind of limbo, without any effective presence on the social scene, and therefore, without any power of intervention on reality. In a nutshell, subjectivities in this regime have two options: either to be creative but to become raw material of prêt-à-porter identities, or to be its passive consumers. Besides this, life inventions tend to have neither sense nor value.
Because of the exploration of this invisible good, life, it is within the invisible that ruses will have to operate in order to fight this exploration. Resistance today tends not to place itself in opposition to current reality, in an alleged parallel reality. Its aim is now the principle that leads the destiny of creation. Creation, as we have already seen, has become one of the most important, if not the main, raw material of the current mode of production.
The challenge is to face the ambiguity of this contemporary strategy of capitalism, to settle in the very core of it, becoming a partner of the investment in creative power, but negotiating in order to keep life as a leading ethical principle. This is a challenge that currently occurs in every milieu, with specific issues to be problematized in each one.
Art is a milieu in which such strategy develops with special strength because it forms a privileged source of creative potency, active in the artists subjectivity and materialized in his or her work. In principle, artists are anomalous: subjectivities vulnerable to life movements, whose works are singular cartographies of the sensitive states mobilized by their wandering through the world. What makes the art market function is the artists anomaly and his or her creations. However, if this increases the opportunities of creation and circulation on the market so as to be accepted into the circuit, the works tend to be cloned, emptied of the vital problem that they have mapped. The artists subjectivity also tends to be cloned, emptied of its changing singularity and turned into identity, preferably a glamorized one. Both eviscerated work and subjectivity together form the pack to be transmitted by the media and sold on the art market. Their value will be determined by their power of seduction. Reaching a high value, it can also be sold on other markets as is the case of fashion, in order to add cultural glamour value to the brand that will buy it. As for the non-cloned artist, few possibilities for the circulation of his or her work are usually left. Most are fated to work for the creative departments of the very agencies that produce the prêt-a-porter identities: design, advertising, etc... It is within the milieu of art that this renewed capitalism will find the artisans of its cloning.
Accordingly, this policy of dissociating art and life, specific to the contemporary, utopian ideal of re-linking them, continues to be on the agenda. This issue has existed throughout modern art history, and is currently being considered in other terms. It is at that point exactly that we find Tunga and his "instaurations".5 Through this singular device, the artist problematizes, the new mode of relationship between capitalism and culture with sagacity and humor, touching the raw nerve of his ambiguity. It is a strategy that gives art a powerful visibility and, at the same time, avoids the capitalism's occupation of a perverse vector of the scene and reduce art to a mere source of plus-value, emptying it completely of its political-poetical function.
Even though the artist has only recently given the name "instauration" to his work, this kind of proposition has existed in his work since the beginning.6 The possibility of giving it a name occurred after a precise point in the trajectory of his work, in which this process has been refined and radicalized, becoming more explicit.7 That is, when the series of instaurations begin to occur more systematically those instaurations in which objects, materials, questions, characters, and elements from which they are created are not only extracted from the very milieu where the instauration takes place, but, more significantly, where they often are the components of unique ways to generate a territory within the referenced milieu. Besides, the chosen universes are not only the most distant from the universe of art, but they are mainly the ones in which the perverse vector of the ruling mode of production reaches its extremes.
At one end, the office boys, the extras, the jobless, the homeless, the landless, the former prisoners, and more recently the children who once lived in the streets.8 The remainders of the system, those who cannot even be either a clone-matrix or its consumers, and therefore dont even come close to stepping into the circuit and keep on wandering in limbo. At the other end, the top models.9 the ones who have been most radically reduced to mere supports of prêt-a-porter identities, teenagers whose main desire is to lend themselves to the cloning, as well as to consume their own clones to such an extent that, when adolescence ends and the models are expelled from this market, their emptied subjectivity commonly falls into depression.
Thus, the protagonists selected by Tunga for his instaurations are the ones who stay completely out of the field of visibility, and the ones who, on the contrary, occupy the whole extension of the field and are themselves mere images. The completely excluded and the completely included; two aspects of the impoverishment of life as creative potency. Material and social poverty for some; spiritual and subjective poverty for others. What happens when these people become actors of themselves on the art scene? Lets examine some of Tungas instaurations.
Invited by Itaú Cultural Institute to suggest a work of art on Paulista Avenue.10 Tunga decides to work with office boys, for an instauration that he calls Cem Terra.11 Office boys walk across the avenue during the whole period of working hours, because they are the non-electronic messengers between the sumptuous offices of the corporations that replaced the mansions of the Barões do café.12 and between the elegant avenue and other areas of the city. However, it appears as if they did not belong to the official landscape, which interposes itself between eyes and reality, like a filter that keeps from perceiving them and turns them into the "landless." When Tunga brings a hundred of them to occupy a whole block on the avenue, they create a land in their own way, from the culture of their gestures, their pans, their hammocks where they rest their Northeast Brazilian bodies,13 their dexterity in pitching tents anywhere, anytime, being so used to roaming across the city. It is the instauration of this world that will turn into a work of art. The nothing of those supposedly non-existent lives revives, leaves limbo, and pulsates again. The cartography of the avenue goes into anarchy: well settled and totally at ease, they acquire an existence in the landscape, impossible to be ignored now; the spectator/passer-by is obliged to see them, and the relationship between them cannot be denied any longer. The strength of the formal result, in the choice of the objects and the bodies as well as their arrangement on the avenue, is inseparable from the success of the problematization that the instauration realizes, from its disruptive effect.
In Tereza, Tunga will work with a group of homeless. The name of the instauration comes from a well-known practice among prisoners, in which they use all available blankets to make long braids to try to escape from jail.14 The homeless will have to make terezas, which, in this case, will help them escape from the museum or the gallery where the instauration takes place. As the artist emphasizes, the work is here at the same time individual and collective, at the same time a sculpture and an instrument for escaping from the space of art, the instauration of a connection between the space of the museum and the space of the street, where the homeless live.
Once more instauration confuses the ruling map, where these characters are not incorporated, just like the office boys in Cem Terra.15 as shape, Tereza refers to Tungas sculptures, in which braids are frequent,16 and retroactively gives to those works the sense of line of flight from the art market deck of predetermined cards, the link between the space of art and its outside, the transversality of milieus, a sense that had virtually existed but that becomes now explicit and hardly separable from its form.
When Tunga realizes Cem Terra as well as Tereza, he is obliged on many occasions to use extras to play the parts of the office boys or the prisoners. The alleged reasons are labor laws demanding the protection of the performers, but the implicit reason may be the fear provoked within art institutions by the idea of being occupied by the "mob." The strategy does not lose its strength, as these extras are just unemployed people who play the role of individuals who had no chance to learn anything, and can only fulfill nonspecific functions, on stage as well as in real life. They belong to the same population as the office boys, the landless, the homeless, adults or children all of them extras in the society in which we live.17 It is therefore within the same milieu that the work instaures a critical displacement.
In these instaurations, the poetical-political function of art is reactivated, and a resistance against the effort to pervert it, is produced. The work of art comes again to problematize the milieu in which it is done. Against the current of the system that either recognizes modes of making territories in order to clone them, or puts aside the "non-clonable," Tunga creates for these modes of subjectivation a space of visibility in which they act "live," as protagonists of themselves, with their own cast of tools and materials for the construction of territories. The clonable, as is the case for the top models, live on stage the opposite movement to the one that converts them into clichés: the instauration starts exactly from the cloned image of the top models, in the very milieu in which it is launched into the market, the fashion show, but in order to try to free the life that had been imprisoned therein. The nonclonable, remainders that have become invisible, such as office boys, homeless, prisoners and extras, leave the sewers of marginalization and get on stage. The cards are shuffled, the subjects are differently distributed through the field of vision, the official cartography established by capital as leading principle is disavowed.
In this context we can problematize Tungas last instauration, suggested by the artist for the partnership between The Quiet in the Land and Projeto Axé. In this context we can problematize Tungas instauration Salpeter + Sulfur + Coal suggested by the artist for the partnership between The Quiet in the Land II and Projeto Axé.18 To create a daily coexistence between a certain kind of artists of different origins, and children who formerly lived in the streets of Salvador, who, incorporated into Projeto Axé, will try to escape from the confinement of marginality, finding in art one of their main weapons that is what motivated France Morins proposition. What is the purpose of this peculiar initiative? It is true that between the children and the artists, some resonances do exist. Both tend to explore the milieus where they live, to rehearse connections and disconnections, to experiment becomings. Within this playful irreverence their territories of existence take shape a game, on the one hand; a work, on the other subjectivities in elaboration, inseparable from the milieu. Child and artist would therefore be the most distant modes of subjectivation from the reigning situation of the torpor of the sensitive and the leveling of perception, the closest to anomaly.
But reality is far: because of their very anomaly, artists and children offer special interest to the renewed capitalism. If the artists, as we have already seen, are undeniably attractive to the cloning industry, in the case of the children, the practice of the poetical capacity tends to be inhibited by infantilization, a product of the allied forces of the "familialism", the "pedagogization", and the market that turn them into compulsive miniconsumers.
Children who live or once lived in the streets may escape more easily from infantilization, for their very situation obliges them to explore and draw cartographies of the milieus they move through, so as to improvise territories of existence. These are small self-administrated communities, which take shape and dissolve at the speed of their forced nomadism from one to another unexpected ephemeral refuge produced by urban life. But it would certainly be ingenuous to idealize those children: confined to the sewers of the city, the practice of their potency does not lead to anything but survival when it is successful which is already an achievement in view of the fate of violent and premature death that threatens their "valueless" existences.
It is true that the most frequent oversight referring to these children is not their idealization, but their demonization or victimization. When demonized, the wish is to remove them from the scenery, a matter of police or justice. When victimized, the wish is to save them, a matter for psychology, pedagogy or art. The necessity of creating opportunities for these children to leave marginality is obvious, and therefore, the value of initiatives with this intention, from either psychology, pedagogy or art, or any association between them, cannot be denied. The danger is, instead of recognizing the own mode of subjectivation of these children in its positiveness, trying to extract power from it, within their insertion, such initiatives understand them as victims who must be saved through a pattern of infantilized children that they try to project onto them. When this prevails, a paradoxical effect can result from the generosity that motivates this kind of initiative: without any resonance, the poetical force, particularly alive in those existences, is exposed to the risk of waning. In this case, the inhibition of this force, instead of being fought, will be reiterated, not any longer by social exclusion, but by domestication, which intends to insert these children into the world of children clones; instead of remaining anomalous, they might thus become normal citizens, probably with less chance of success if they do not fall into the category of abnormal, and into its subsequent pathologization.
How can one create means to help these children to be incorporated without losing their valuable anomaly ? What does art have to do with those concerns? These questions involve such complexity that the one thing one can aspire to is to think them as precisely as possible and to experience strategies that problematize them as sharply as it can be done.
Tungas proposition goes in this direction: to find proceedings that turn the meeting with these children into a possibility, even if transitory and uncertain, within the soul of the children who once lived on the streets, as well as within the soul of the artist; to trick the perverse facet of the current economic system that tends to restrict their creative power, excluding one and cloning the other. For this purpose, the artist will have to count on an effective complicity with these children. It is in anomaly, common to both artist and child, that he will find this complicity: more precisely, in the anomaly that tries to exist as anomaly, without being either cloned or marginalized. As a matter of fact, there is probably a resonance between children that once lived on the streets and that are fighting marginalization, but trying, through art, not to lose their singularity, and artists who join the art system that offers them opportunities of realization, but negotiating from within their oeuvre, means to keep their problematizing force alive. Artists who, therefore, resist the pimping of the art system, without falling into the no mans land of the marginality, as it certainly is the case for Tunga. Anyway, there is probably more resonance between this kind of child and this kind of artist than between those children who have once lived on the streets and most of the infantilized children who live with their families. In the same way, there probably exists more resonance between this kind of artist and this kind of child, than between this kind of artist and others who submit themselves to such pimping without any critical reservations, even desiring it, creating works intended to be the object of this pimping.19 Or between this kind of artist and those who stay out of the game, the last residue of a supposedly heroic romanticism. 20 Actualizing this virtual resonance between the anomalous in order to create a force field that should support them, allow them to resist the pimping of their creative force, and free becomings on both sides, even infinitesimal ones, is the challenge Tunga seems to be willing to face. How much of this will be possible cannot be foreseen. Effects of this kind depend on an intricate and subtle scheme; there is no way to plan them. They occur or they do not occur.
Tunga will wager all his chips on the power of rhythm in Bahian21 culture, which he intends to summon for his instauration Salpeter + Sulfur + Coal. Rhythm is an important force in the process of subjectivation for Baianos,22 and because its exuberance it has become for some years the apple of the eye to the recording industry, which extracts from it raw material for the manufacturing of one of its most profitable products, following the logic of contemporary capitalism which we have referred to above. With its immanent ambiguity, this strategy has surprisingly increased the opportunities of creation, circulation and supporting to Bahian musicians; but on the other hand, the tendency is to clone rhythm and deprive it of its vitality, to send it back to the market as a limited set of stereotypical gestures, impoverished mimics that constitute the Bahian-style prêt-à-porter identity: the carcass of a body reduced to clichés of sexuality, which has lost the eroticism and the poetical potency to dream worlds. The perverse circuit is completed by the consuming of this product by the very Baiano from whom has been extracted the sap to produce it. The Baianos who have been earning their place on the multicultural market of Brazil and globalized world tend to be, in most cases, servile imitations of their own clones.
"Axé music" is the name of one of the products of this vampirization of axé a word of Iorubá23 origin, that indicates the sacred energy of the orixás,24 the vital power that is present in all human beings and all things, the force of creation. The word in its larger sense has been incorporated to Brazilian everyday language. The recording industry, in its perverse vector, shows cynical sophistication in using the very name of the force that it has sucked to christen the sterile clone that it produces and commercializes. But the rhythm in that culture is such a rich source that, despite the success of this sinister plot, axé does not get exhausted, its force of existentialization remains alive, creation does not stop.
The instauration will begin by gathering the children to the side of the exhibition space, like a school assembly, into a compact and quite noisy group. On Tungas signal, the tumult will spread, taking the shape of a bloco25 that will parade, hauling and rolling the drums on the floor, generating a real musical hecatomb. Gradually, the children will move apart from the group, whether alone or in pairs, the assignment being to find their place in the space. Once in place, they will discover the substances and household implements of their usual repertory that Tunga has put into the drums and outside.26 Using investigative curiosity, they will have to improvise a musical use of these elements, the only condition being to avoid any allusions to known references.
In his instauration, Tunga will turn the museum into a space for a ritual, a ritual that will officiate the opening of the exhibition, transforming the museum into a hybrid of art and terreiro.27 When the children are asked to find one by one a place in that space, it is the lines of their bodies that will ritually draw the boundaries of the territories, creating a new landscape, in the geography of the museum as well as in the geography of their existences. When, once established, they are asked to investigate the instruments of their everyday life that the artist provided them, inside the drums, and to create unknown sounds, the objects will also acquire a ritualistic function. The drum is the emblematic object par excellence of the traffic of rhythm by the recording industry, which makes it transit from a creative and ritualistic tool, to a matrix of cloning and its mimesis. It is not by chance that, in this context, the very drum will be the agent of backward move, or more precisely forward move, the agent of resistance. The drums being hauled and rolled on the floor, producing a musical hecatomb, and next, the encounter between drums and those domestic implements turned into improvised instruments, creating this bizarre sound, some sonorous quebra-quebra (break-break) or arrastão28 may be announced in the memory. But if something is supposed to break, for a brief instant, it would be the invisible deck of predetermined cards of the relationship between the museum and its outside, hauling within the confusion the marginalization of those children, the cloning of their rhythm and of the artists strength. For a short moment, the tendency to reproduce the clone of him-or herself, that such an exposed and prestigious scene could mobilize in the artist as well as in the children, is broken; instead, the power of art to criticize is reactivated in the artist, as well as the power of rhythm as an agent for building territories is reactivated in the children. An invisible quebra-quebra, macumba29 of the new times.
The ritual characteristic of Tungas exhibitions follows the tracks of the path opened by Lygia Clark, for whom the contemporary artist is the proposer of "a rite without myth." There will be neither rite, nor myth, established beforehand. The ritual will instead be commanded by the sensitive reality of the children, summoned into their souls and embodied in their gestures, in the sophisticated swinging of their bodies and in the way they explore known objects in that unknown universe, probing the feeling of strangeness mobilized by this ambiguity. The myth will be generated from the very ritual, immanent map of the singularity of those lives. It is this liberty to draw a map, tricking the cloning of their cartographies, that will be registered in the childrens soul, as a myth fitting into the contemporary, against the current of the eternity of the absolutized myths of the past, as well as the generic value of the disposable myths of the present.
On the completion of the instauration, the hope is that the happening will not calm down, and that the memory of it will remain vibrating throughout the duration of the exhibition, in the objects that constitute the installation: the remains of the ritual that occurred in that space, just as remains of despachos are left in the nature or in cities at crossroads, hoping the message will reach the orixás. Contaminated by the milieu where it has this time been produced, the work of art is revealed to be a despacho, carrying a magical power of energetic intervention onto the surroundings, where it will fight reactive forces and free creation. Imperceptible but effective intervention. And, like any despacho, in the work remains registered the memory of this experience: the affirmation of the political-poetical force in artistic practice, and the affirmation of the force of rhythm of a non-infantilized child in the subjectivity of these children memory of a deterritorialization line that hauled them both, which was only possible on a meeting between anomalous forces in each of them, and even so for a brief moment. It is impossible to say if this memory will be reverberating on these objects, if it will be heard and blessed by the orixás, or for how long it will remain on the air after the disassembling of the exhibition.
"There is no act of creation that would not produce any dislocation, or that would not pass through a liberated line," write Deleuze and Guattari.30 To promote something that looks like "an atmosphere, where only life can be generated,"31even ephemerally, is what Tunga wishes for his despachos in museums. And, even so, as he cautiously advises, "who knows what may happen . . ."
Despachos at the museum: Who knows what may happen . . .
Life in its different formulae of creation, is one of the most important aims of contemporary capitalisms investments. Capitalism extracts matrices to produce and commercialize clones not only from nature biodiversity, but also from the multiculturalism of the production modes of sense, of territories of existence, of subjectivity. On one hand, such a strategy means investing and expanding the power of creation, that invents new cartographies and makes current cartographies obsolete, is summoned and celebrated. However, on the other hand, when capital is the supreme principle that commands the direction of the products of such power, those products are dissociated from the vital sense which they have been created for the perverse vector of this system. A constitutive ambiguity.
One of the most important challenges of the contemporary artist is his installation in the very core of this ambiguity, associating to capital investment, but negotiating to maintain life as leading ethical principle, disabling thus its perverse vector. Some propositions of contemporary art follow this path. In some ways, these propositions offer leads to problematize the destiny of subjectivities today, their impasses, their inventions. Works whose existence constitutes itself as a critique and a clinic of our time.
What will be privileged here is the "instauration", a recurrent device in the work of Tunga, a Brazilian artist whose oeuvre has been circulating on international scene.
Brazilian words of "Despachos at the museum: Who knows what may happen . . ."
1. "Despacho" is a Candomblé ritual practice (an African Brazilian religion). It consists in making offerings to the orixás in order to realize wishes, nearby trees, rivers or springs in the country side, or at crossroads in cities (depending on which orixá the ritual is dedicated to). The rests of the substances and objects will remain where they have been used for the ritual.
2. "Instauration" is the name given by Tunga to a frequent strategy of his work: the incorporation into the work of art, of people who are strangers to the art world, who improvise a performance with rituals and objects suggested by the artist; the remains of the performance stay in the exhibition as an installation.
3. A phrase that sounds like Sem Terra, or "landless". In Brazil the landless movement (MST - Movimento Sem Terra) is one of the strongest and most singular social movements. The artist is playing with the ambiguity in Portuguese of the words cem, meaning "hundred," and sem, meaning "without": "Landless" becoming "Hundred Lands".
4. "Paulista Avenue" is a very well known and important avenue in São Paulo, a kind of financial district.
5. Literally, "the lords of coffee", as used to be call the landlords of coffee plantations in the State of São Paulo when they constituted the ruling class in Brazil. Paulista Avenue before being a financial district was the privileged neighborhood of those "lords of coffee" mansions..
6. Many workers in São Paulo come from northeast of Brazil, where it is customary to sleep in hammocks.
7. The Quiet in the Land II is a project created by France Morin (former curator of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and founder of Canadian art revue Parachute). In this project, seventeen contemporary artists from different countries developed a work, each one during one month and a half, with children who once lived in the streets of Salvador, the capital of Bahia, a State situated in the northeast of Brazil. In order to realize this project the curator joined the team of Projeto Axé, which has been working with this kind of children in Bahia since many years.
8. The people of Bahia.
9. One of the African origins of Brazilian people, who came as slaves during Brazils colonization.
10. "Orixás" are the divine forces in Candomblé.
11. Group which parades during Carnival.
12. Place of worship and rituals in Candomblé. The rhythm of the drums, the songs and the entranced bodies, is an important element of those rituals.
13. Popular spontaneous manifestations in big Brazilian cities in which large groups loot businesses and people on the beaches.
14. Generic name of all kind of African Brazilian magic religious practices, such as Candomblé.
1 "Despacho" is a Candomblé practice, an African Brazilian religion. It consists in making offerings to the orixás, divine forces, in order to realize wishes. (back)
2 Quest-ce que la philosophie?, "Percept, affect et concept", Paris: Minuit, 1991; p. 162. What is philosophy?, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994. (back)
3 Cf. "Toxicomanes didentité", a lecture of Suely Rolnik at Documenta X (Kassel, 1997). (back)
4 A differenciation proposed by G. Canguilhem, in his book Le normal et le pathologique (PUF, pp 81-82), mentioned by G. Deleuze et F.Guattari, in G. Deleuze et F.Guattari, "1730 - Devenir-intense, devenir-animal, devenir-imperceptible...", Plateau 10, de Mille Plateaux. Capitalisme et schizophrénie; p.298. (A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987). (back)
5 Instauration is the name given by Tunga to a frequent strategy of his work: the incorporation into the work of art, of people who are strangers to the art world, who improvise a performance with rituals and objects suggested by the artist; the remains of the performance stay in the exhibition as an installation. (back)
6 Already since Camera Incantate (Palazzo Reale, Milano,1980), a work in which Tunga uses different kinds of light, he includes the performance of two albinos and two black men, the light and the dark. One albino keeps saying that he has come to make an electric "installation" and that he has got no interest in this art business. After this first experience, instaurations will occur that will be repeated in different contexts, differing each time one from the other, constituting into series, like the artists installations. They are: Xifópagas Capilares (three times, in 1985, and three times, in 1989); Sero te amavi (three times, in 1992 and once in 1995); Caro Amigo (1996); Avant-Garde Walk in Venice or Debaixo do meu chapéu (at the opening of Venice Biennial, 1995, and then it returns incorporated into Inside Out, Upside Down, at the opening of X Documenta, Kassel, 1997). The series of instaurations always alternate with series of drawings, sculptures, or installations with no performances. Furthermore, the different types of series can be rearranged into new compositions, resulting in new works: for instance, Xifópagas Capilares with the installation Lagarto/Lizard/Lesarte (Congress of Psychoanalysis, Rio de Janeiro, 1985). (back)
7 This happens in Espasmos Aspiratórios Ansiosos (A.I.S. or Anxious Inhaled Startles; Rio, MAM,1996); An experiment on Keen and Subtle Physics or Avant-Garde Walk in Soho (New York,1996), that returns under another name in 1996, and again in 1997, incorporated then into Inside Out, Upside Down. (back)
8 It is the case of the instaurations: Cem Terra, São Paulo, 1997, that will reappear at Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2001; Tereza, at Johnny Walker Award, Museu de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro, 1998, that reappears the same year at Christopher Grime Gallery, Los Angeles, in 1999, and in 2000, at Centro Cultural Ricoleta, Buenos Aires, at Corean Biennial and at Lyon Biennial; and finally, the proposition for The Quiet in the Land II, Salvador, 2000, privileged here. (back)
9 It is the case of the instaurations: Sempre gostei de bagunça (I always liked mess) and Serei a? (Mermaids do exist), both for M.Officer fashion shows during Morumbi Fashion, São Paulo, 1997. (back)
10 "Paulista Avenue" is a very well known and important avenue in São Paulo, a kind of financial district. (back)
11 A phrase that sounds like Sem Terra, or "landless". In Brazil the landless movement (MST - Movimento Sem Terra) is one of the strongest and most singular social movements. The artist is playing with the ambiguity in portuguese of the words cem, meaning "hundred," and sem, meaning "without": a "Hundred Lands" becoming of "Landless". (back)
12 Literally, "the lords of coffee", as used to be call the landlords of coffee plantations in the State of São Paulo when they constituted the ruling class in Brazil. Paulista Avenue before being a financial district was the privileged neighborhood of those "lords of coffee" mansions. (back)
13 Many workers in São Paulo come from north-east of Brazil, where it is customary to sleep in hammocks. (back)
14 Blankets are torn to make ropes; with the ropes, braids are made that have the length of the blanket, and then, finally , they are bound one to the other to constitute the tereza. (back)
15 As shape, Tereza refers to Tungas sculptures, in which braids are frequent. (back)
16 Examples: As sobrinhas do Dr. Masoch (GB Arte, 1984); Enquanto... (XIX São Paulo Biennial, 1987); Barrocos de Lírio (X Havana Biennial, 1994), Vanguarda Viperina (1985, 1986, 1993 and 1995); Lagarto/Lizart/Lesarte (many times, all in 1989: Whitechapel Gallery, London; Kannal Art Foundation, Kortrijk; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Galeria Paulo Klabin, Rio de Janeiro; Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago). (back)
17 With respect to this subject, some anecdotes about Tereza are significant. When the instauration was first created, extras were recruited in Rio de Janeiro, many of them had a police record, perhaps ex-convicts most of them. When Tunga taught them how to make a tereza, they roared with laughter. The third time the instauration was set, in Buenos Aires, the protagonists were homeless people recruited by young anarcho-surrealists. The news of a vacancy, such a rarity for these people, spread very quickly all over the town, causing a huge line of candidates on the day of the selection. (back)
18 The Quiet in the Land II is a project created by France Morin (former curator of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and founder of Canadian art revue Parachute). In this project, seventeen contemporary artists from different countries developed a work, each one during one month and a half, with a group of children who once lived in the streets of Salvador, the capital of Bahia, a State situated in northeast of Brazil. The whole project lasted seven months, between 1999 and 2000. An exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia and a bilingual book/catalog with the resulting works have been organized in July 2000. In order to realize this project the curator joined the team of Projeto Axé, which has been developing a pedagogic and artistic work with this kind of child in Bahia for many years. (back)
19 Cf. José Gil, "A confusão como conceito", in Os anos 80. Culturgest, Lisboa, 1998. (back)
20 Cf. José Gil, "A confusão como conceito", in Os anos 80. Culturgest, Lisboa, 1998. (back)
21 State situated at north-east of Brazil. (back)
22The people of Bahia. (back)
23 One of the African origins of Brazilian people, who came as slaves during Brazil's colonization. (back)
24 "Orixás" are the divine forces in Candomblé, an African Brazilian religion. (back)
25 Group which parades during Carnival. (back)
26 Among the objects, Tunga privileges the ones made of tinplate, handicraft that imitate industrial aluminum tools and re-create in their own way in simple homes everyday life, a certain scenery belonging to wealthier neighborhoods funnels, graters, roasting pans, egg beaters, shovels found in market stalls to measure flour or sugar, oil lamps, glass and bottle cleaners, needles and threads. He will also put cotton objects: cotton rolls and Q-tips, as well as cloth coffee filters, and so on. And some more stuff, including workmens rubber gloves and rabbit tails (small talisman). Among the substances, waxes, flours and components of the same kind, more specifically three basins containing salpeter, sulfur and coal. (back)
27 Place of worship and rituals in Candomblé. The rhythm of the drums, the songs and the entranced bodies, is an important element of those rituals. (back)
28 Popular spontaneous manifestations in big Brazilian cities in which large groups loot businesses and people on the beaches. (back)
29 Generic name of all kind of African Brazilian magic religious practices, such as Candomblé. (back)
30 G. Deleuze et F. Guattari, "1730 - Devenir-intense, devenir-animal, devenir-imperceptible...", Plateau 10, de Mille Plateaux. Capitalisme et schizophrénie; p.363. (A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987). (back)
31 Cf. Nietzsche, Considérations intempestives, "Utilité et inconvéniant des études historiques", 1; quote by G. Deleuze et F. Guattari, in Mille Plateaux. Capitalisme et schizophrénie, "1730 - Devenir-intense, devenir-animal, devenir-imperceptible..." Plateau 10; p.363. (A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987). (back)