Anagramatic ABC



Inasmuch as representation defines or establishes the truth of things, it also grounds a concomitant set of power relationships.Thus representation- in both the aesthetic-cultural and the socio-political senses of the term- raises formidable epistemic and ethical questions: Why and how are certain subjects represented (or not)? Who has the power to represent themselves and others? Is it possible/ desirable to represent others? How? All these issues have gained pressing importance in the context of the crisis of representative democracy that intensified after the 2008 financial meltdown. From a variety of perspectives, different discourses such as feminist and queer theory, post-marxism, or postcolonial and decolonial thought, have examined this crisis of representation. Although an element of representation may always be inherent to any artistic work, it is nevertheless essential to question the aesthetic strategies involved in terms of power and control, laying bare the socio-political logic inscribed in the apparatus of image production.

Genealogies of practice

  • Nightcleaners (Part 1).  (UK / Reino Unido) Berwick Street Collective, 1972
    A documentary made by members of the Berwick Street Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphrey Trevelyan), about the campaign to unionize the women who cleaned office blocks at night and who were being victimized and underpaid. Intending at the outset to make a campaign film, the Collective was forced to turn to new forms in order to represent the forces at work between the cleaners, the Cleaner's Action Group and the unions - and the complex nature of the campaign itself. The result was an intensely self-reflexive film, which implicated both the filmmakers and the audience in the processes of precarious, invisible labour. It is increasingly recognised as a key work of the 1970s and as an important precursor, in both subject matter and form, to current political art practice.

  • Art Is Political  (EUA) Carole Condé & Karl Beveridge, 1975
    Art Is Political is a series of nine black and white images that narrate Condé and Beveridge’s journey from a formalist to a politicized art.The images are based on taped conversations the artists had with each other during the summer and fall of 1975 in which they questioned the art market and the ideological assumptions behind it. The work was influenced by both Chinese propaganda musicals of the 1970's and the New York modernist dance of artists such as Yvonne Rainer.


  • Subalternidad y Testimonio John Beverley, marzo-abril 2012, Revista Nueva Sociedad nº 238

  • La representación de la realidad. Cuestiones y conceptos sobre el documental. Bill Nichols 1997,
    Representig Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bill Nichols, 1991. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

  • The Nightcleaners (Part 1). Rethinking political cinema. Claire Johnston 1976, Londres: Jump Cut, no. 12/13

  • Imágenes públicas. La función política de la imagen.  Martha Rosler, Jesús Carrillo (Eds.) 2007, Barcelona: Gustavo Gili

  • Read the Masks, Tradition Is Not Given.  Annette Krauss y Petra Bauer, Holanda 2009,
    Part of an ongoing project of the same title, which questions the Dutch tradition of Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The feast of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is one of the most celebrated Dutch traditions. Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands by boat to deliver gifts to the children, and with him are his servants, numerous Zwarte Pieten, black-faced assistants with red lips and dark curly hair. The problematical aspects of the figure of Zwarte Piet have only rarely been discussed in the mainstream media. The project included an installation with placards and banners at the Van Abbemuseum, and a (eventually cancelled) protest march / performance in the streets of Eindhoven which would have publicly given voice to a long-marginalised and suppressed critique of the Zwarte Piet phenomenon.