A Semblance Of Politics: The Dematerialization Of Art And Labor In Argentina, Mexico And Chile
This dissertation studies the purported political radicalization of experimental art and design in the late 1960s and 1970s in Argentina, Mexico and Chile. Through the examination of artists, designers and critics including the Grupo Arte de los Medios, Oscar Masotta, Octavio Paz, Oscar Bony, Felipe Ehrenberg, the Groups Movement, Gui Bonsiepe and the cybernetic management project Cybersyn, I study how terms and problems such as the avant-garde, the socialization of art and the mutual implication of industrial design and management contemplated art's relationship to the social relations of production at a moment in which the challenge to art's traditional supports and the intensified socialization of productive labor made these two realms increasingly difficult to distinguish. In the Argentinean case, I show how Oscar Masotta and the Grupo Arte de los Medios pointed to the de-naturalization of ideology as the task of the avant-garde and, at the same time, to the limit of this same procedure in the inseparability of image and enjoyment. In the Mexican case, I argue that the Groups addressed the Revolutionary legacy of art's socialization by simultaneously inhabiting the form of the artists' collective and re-defining both art and artistic labor as cultural work within the social relations of production. The Groups thus point to the political potential inherent in their organizational form both through and against the muralist legacy. In the Chilean case, I argue that Cybersyn consummated the fraught relationship between art and industry that defined the avant-garde of the Bauhaus and Ulm School of Design by transforming the sticky question of style into the infrastructure of subjectivation in the management of the Chilean workforce. Style thus marks the thin line joining and separating auto-poiesis and praxis. Whether through the intervention into the mass media, the collectivization of cultural work or the making operative of style through the infrastructural function of industrial design, I argue that each case points to a form of ideological mediation that cleaves close to the figure and process of capitalist selfreproduction while still insisting on this slight subjective gap as the space of its potential politicization and critique.
avant-garde; conceptual art; 20th C. Latin American Art; Politics; Psychoanalysis
Waite, Geoffrey Carter W; McNulty, Tracy K.
Ph.D. of Romance Studies
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis