Anagramatic ABC



With the shift from objected-centred art to conceptuality in the second half of the 20th century, the materials available for artistic practice have expanded to include almost anything: from the artist’s own body to space, from public cityscapes to natural landscapes, and anything therein contained. Reception has been radically altered too, through the incorporation of spectators into the work itself, or cooperation between artists and local communities. All this has contributed to enhancing the role of processuality, which is now an added internal dimension within many art works. Against the emphasis on easily marketable end-products, this approach privileges cognitive work and research, in consonance with the social and cultural context of art today. Specific objects or products may still be generated, but the aim is to develop a new form of production where social actors are acknowledged and involved. Processuality also redefines the timing and scheduling of artistic production, allowing for the incorporation both long-term time-frames, and short-lived experiences not necessarily translated into any particular material. For this reason, process-based methodologies usually require- and generate- documents of the events, actions or practices with which they are connected.

Genealogies of practice

  • Work Studies in Schools  (UK / Reino Unido) Darcy Lange, 1976
    In the 1970's, Lange documented the labor of British workers in factories, mines, and schools. The series Work Studies in Schools (1976-77) is a video documentary project with the intention of examining the British education system in relation to the production of class identity. Concerned with education as a hegemonic institution, Lange’s primary task is to offer a vision of youth being molded into the social order, to document their processes of learning to labor. Lange videotaped a number of classrooms at schools in the cities of Birmingham and Oxfordshire, carefully choosing institutions that would represent different social classes. Focusing on the teaching of art, history, and science, Lange first filmed each class in action. Afterwards, he would watch the tapes with the teachers and then the students, each time recording their reactions. This process allowed him to incorporate the reactions of his subjects into the video, enabling them to view themselves within their own environment with a degree of distance that might foster critical reflection.  

  • ¿Qué es para usted la poesía? / What is Poetry to you?  (Chile) Cecilia Vicuña, 1980
    This film was recorded in 1980 in Bogotá where she lived in exile as an opponent of the dictatorship ushered in by the 1973 coup in Chile that overthrew Salvador Allende. She stopped passers-by and asked them the same question: What is poetry to you? Workers, office workers, prostitutes, beggars, policemen, intellectuals, students, children, street performers, and artists among others, proffered their own definitions of poetry. Against the background of the city, this constituted an honest account of an individual - yet collective - attempt to express the fundamentals of human existence.


  • Modos de hacer. Arte crítico, esfera pública y acción directa. P.Blanco, J.Carrillo, J.Claramonte, M.Expósito (Eds.), 2001, Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca

  • Enquête sur le/notre dehors (Valence-le-Haut) [Investigación sobre el/nuestro afuera (Valence-le-Haut)]. Alejandra Riera. Francia-France 2007-2012,
    Based on a prolonged collaboration with the residents of the Fontbarlettes neighbourhood in the outskirts of valence (France), the project generates a documentary film and a publication exploring images of collective thought, and the idea of dwelling in a place and creating something in common. This project is part of the Nouveaux commanditaires inititative supported by the Fondation de France.  

  • In Arbeit (“In the works”). Cinéma Copains (Minze Tummescheit, Arne Hector), Alemania-Germany, 2012,
    In Arbeit is a documentary series, a filmic investigation of the reality, possibilities and limitations of collective action. The communicative process of researching becomes the films' focus. It begins with a series of interviews in several European countries. Members of the different groups then travel with the film crew to meet and engage with other collectives. Through nine different encounters, an image of cooperative practices in various areas of society emerges. We explore how self-organization is perceived, how it functions, and how each group pursues its principles despite practical constraints. Each episode uses a different filmic form appropriate to the context and the group portrayed.