Universes in Universe / Columna de Arena / Nr. 64
URL: http://universes-in-universe.de/columna/col64/index.htm

José Roca:
Del Sueño al Hambre, and Back Again

There is a dialectical relationship between urban decay and plans to build an ideal society which is articulated by means of a grandiose and grandiloquent urban project, and which subsequently is built as a sign of its (future) crisis. Autoflagelación, Supervivencia, Insubordinación forms part of a project, different versions of which have been presented. For this project, Garaicoa managed to locate the architects who had designed buildings, which had subsequently been abandoned, and proposed that they make a survey of their present state with a view to collectively developing new projects on the foundations of the ruins. While it is possible to state that the case of Havana was present in the birth of this project, in Autoflagelación, Supervivencia, Insubordinación Garaicoa refrains from referring directly to the Cuban situation in favour of a more universal debate. The crisis of the modern project and the progressive arguments that give it sustenance – the eradication of poverty, hunger, social inequality, the achievement of political autonomy, etc. – is a phenomenon which is as prevalent in the Third World as it is in the First. Furthermore, the recent demonstrations against the oppression implicit in the spread of trans-national capital (Seattle, Melbourne, Washington, Prague and Genoa) or anti-war demonstrations show that the dark side of utopia, whether capitalist or socialist, is violence, and that the latter is not the sole preserve of underdeveloped countries. The buildings in Autoflagelación..., created not so much from reality but from an inner desire, point towards the establishment of a potential ideal community. Garaicoa makes a building out of knives, symbolizing the painful process of building a modern megalopolis; the city built from daily bread shows that the stability of such a project is only possible thanks to the sacrifice of its inhabitants. As in the favela, shantytown, bidonville, illegal settlement or whatever other name might be given to the dystopia of the modern project, self-flagellation and precarious survival breed insubordination. We live off adversity, but for how long?

[see the complete version in Spanish in Columna 64]

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Text and Columna de Arena: José Roca
Presentation in Internet: Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art, Gerhard Haupt & Pat Binder