Why is the issue of governance considered relevant in an artistic context? What role does art play in political demands? What function do museums perform in all of this?

Roger Buergel, curator of this expanded exhibition that took place in a series of public spaces around Barcelona, turned to Foucault’s concept of government to explore this issue. Michel Foucault recovers the pre-modern meaning of the term: to govern is to guide people. According to Buergel, it’s “to exercise power in an indirect, mediated way – to act in order to direct or circumscribe the actions of others”. This relational model favours interaction among artworks, individuals and their environment, and bring about new readings and images of the local society in dialogue with the global.

How do we want to be governed? enacted as a programme of seminars, lectures, screenings and exhibitions at three main venues: IES Barri Besòs high school, Palo Alto and Centre Cívic de la Mina, and in other improvised spots in the Poblenou-Besòs area.

Institut Barri Besòs
Opening: September 22, 2004, at 7:30 pm.
Exhibition: until October 7, 2004

Palo Alto nau XYZ
Opening: October 7, 2004, at 7:30 pm.
Exhibition: until October 21, 2004

Centre Cívic de La Mina
Opening: October, 21 004, at 7:30 pm.
Exhibition: until November, 7, 2004

The exhibition "How do we want to be governed?" is presented in various public spaces in the Poblenou-Besòs district in Barcelona and is articulated as an itinerary through the city. This itinerary has not only a spatial dimension but also a temporal one that unfolds in time. The different spaces that house the exhibition open and close successively like a stage setting that is in the process of permanent change. Moreover, the exhibition's flow generates a context for public programs (debates, lectures, performances, screenings) that take place in the exhibition spaces as well as in other venues throughout the district.
The exhibition begins in a public education center, the Instituto Bachillerato Barri Besòs, which performs the important labor of providing public services to the neighborhood and also acts as a meeting place for the district's social movements. Next, among other places, the itinerary continues to a historically industrial area that has been reconverted for tertiary production—Palo Alto, in the valuable urban ensemble found on Pellaires Street—and goes on to the Centre Cultural de La Mina, a cultural space characteristic of Barcelona's new social-democratic urbanism of the 1980s. The center is situated in a neighborhood that materializes the insufficiencies and inequalities of existing public policy in the metropolitan area. Finally, in its last stage, the itinerary proceeds to the Centro Comercial Diagonal Mar, a commercial center that emblematizes new public spaces' privatization but also their unforeseen forms of appropriation. This itinerary, with its discontinuities and tensions, is a reading of the city's history that contrasts with the dominant imaginary. It thereby attempts to make visible other images and reconstruct subaltern histories that have otherwise remained at the margin of the modern metropolis's hegemonic construction.

The content of the exhibition unfolds along three themes:
First, modernity is understood as a category that is not exclusively universal but as one that incorporates specificities and aberrations through the manner in which it is produced in different parts of the world: industrialization, urbanization, secularization, individualization, bureaucratic administration, etc.
Secondly, there is neoliberal immanence and the passage to postfordism. What types of postfordist points of view do we face in various parts of the world? What lessons can we extract from the local within a transnational dialogue? In relation to this theme, of particular interest is the revival of premodern phenomena such as radical regionalism. Yet the focus is not on ethnic neighborhoods within multicultural metropolises but above all on the relations between diasporas and origins.
The third theme is the state of exception as the rule—the total mobilization of subjectivity in postfordism or, pace Paolo Virno, "subjectivity put to work"—as well as the discourse of the radical subject.

Without a doubt, "How do we want to be governed?" is a type of expanded exhibition that includes seminars, lectures, and film screenings and that has two principle objectives: to reinvent the museum's presence in a former industrial neighborhood in the process of transformation and to relate the museum's presence to what has been described as the mobilisation citoyenne mondiale—that is, to the creation of a global public opinion that reclaims planetary democracy and the just distribution of common goods. What is the function of art in all of this?

PARTICIPANTS: Sonia Abian (Misiones/Argentina), Ibon Aranberri (Bilbao), Maja Bajevic (Paris), Sergio Bologna (Milano), Alice Creischer (Berlin), Ines Doujak (Wien), Patrick Faigenbaum (Paris), Harun Farocki (Berlin), Peter Friedl, Grup OCHUB (Barcelona), Grupo Play-Back (Barcelona), Sanja Ivecovic (Zagreb), José Francisco Marín (Barcelona), Ramon Parramón (Barcelona), Carlos Piégari (Misiones/Argentina), Precarias a la deriva (Madrid), Florian Pumhösl (Wien), Alejandra Riera (Paris), Joan Roca (Barcelona), Dierk Schmidt (Berlin), Jordi Secall (Barcelona), Allan Sekula (US), Andreas Siekmann (Berlin), Colectivo Situaciones (Buenos Aires), Minze Tummescheit (Berlin), Olivier Zabat (Paris) and the artists from Ex Argentina.

ACTIVITIES: Within the context of this project, various events are programmed such as lectures, roundtables, performances, workshops, debates and screenings that will take place in the exhibition venues as well as in other places throughout the same district. The exhibition's diverse spaces thus open and close successively like a stage setting in process. Also, in relation to this project, the museum presents "To think in images," a film program of the work of Harun Farocki, from October 26 to December 16 (at MACBA).

Curator: Roger Buergel
Production: Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)


29 NOV. 2004 - 30 JAN. 2005 Miami Art Central
22 SEP. - 07 NOV. 2004 IES Barri Besòs, Palo alto, Centre Cívic de La Mina