Is Tucumán still burning?
Looking at a radical experiment crossing art with politics Talk by Ana Longoni
Monday April 4th, at 7:30pm
The very rapid process of radicalisation which the Argentinean avant-garde underwent in 1968, culminated in the collective artistic-political work Tucumán Arde (Tucumán is Burning), which today is undeniably a constantly recurring reference, the landmark in Argentinean art which has had most written about it, not only by art historians, curators and critics, but also by political activists. What is noticeable is that such abundance of writing covers some very different takes on the work, conferring on it occasionally antagonistic meanings.
This talk will look back at what Tucumán Arde actually was, what space it actually occupied within that itinerary of interventions, actions and definitions in search of a "new aesthetic" which took place that year, and why its abrupt ending led the avant-garde to take the irreversible decision of g¡ving up art.
It will also give brief outlines of the opposing or dissimilar readings, the different takes on the work which are currently circulating – many of them attempts to trivialize or mythologize it, others simply nonsensical, and still others critical. "Tucumán is Still Burning" appeared as stencil graffiti on the walls of Buenos Aires last year. The question is, what kind of sparks are still flying up from it, and what is actually left of that experiment in contemporary artistic-political practice?
Ana Longoni is professor of the Philosophy and Arts Department and the Social Sciences Department of Buenos Aires University. She is co-author of the book "Del Di Tella a 'Tucumán Arde'. Vanguardia artística y política en el '68 argentino", Buenos Aires: El Cielo por Asalto, 2000 (in collaboration with Mariano Mestman).