Most viewers to an exhibition do not see this framework that emphasizes not only the autonomy of the artwork, but that of the spectator. Not unrelatedly, these types of displays can enhance a viewer's sense of an idealized, ahistorical independence and even free will -- characteristics associated with the mythology of the modern humanist subject. Displaying works isolated and in neutral-colored interiors became a convention from the s to the late s, and by much of the diversity of institutional display practices that had characterized the early years of modern art museums diminished.
This was when conceptual, site-specific, inter-media and installation-based art proliferated. Each time such work was presented, it would be re-interpreted to suit the particular site and audiences. These were the years when Muntadas began exhibiting. In the s, Muntadas was producing primarily paintings. In , however, he wrote a "declaration of intention" to do work that was less passive and more participatory and he stopped painting. In , Muntadas also began doing actions -- what he described as "sensorial experiences" -- exploring smell, touch and taste that were documented first in super 8 film and then videotape.
Muntadas often conceives of this private and public dynamic as "the micro" and "the macro," which is a polarity found in much of his work. Recalling some of these events thirty years later, Muntadas stated that conceptual practices were new to Spain in the early s and he reviewed the way the Spanish artist community did not have "first-hand" experience of the international shows during the final years of the authoritarian Franco regime.
The last international thing was pop and with a strong emphasis on abstract painting There was no tradition for this type of work. For some of the things to be manipulated -- structures made of wood and a series plastic bags hanging with different textures inside of them -- a kind of vandalism occurred But some visitors became confused Some of the work was destroyed. I think this is related to the repressive situation" In Spain , at that time, "everything was very directed. It was not a participatory situation, which was related to it not being a democratic situation All of these were proposals for the visitors and there was no tradition to participate in a country where you couldn't vote.
In the film, Muntadas floats the newspaper La Vanguardia's front-page close-up of Francisco Franco in the beautiful aqua water of a pool, and then the image "drowns. By , Muntadas had expanded his thematic interest in international and cultural site-specificity to include such concerns on a structural level by actually presenting a work in different locations. On the opposite wall was large publication rack displaying local newspapers.
The only thing that changed in each site was the publications and the type of gallery -- in Mexico the event took place in a university gallery for example, and in Caracas at a modern art museum. What Muntadas witnessed as he stood there in the dark could be interpreted as a tutorial in cultural translation. He remembers extremely different audience reactions.
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In Caracas , "they reacted as if it were a cocktail party or an opening. People kept talking and socializing and didn't pay much attention to the work. Someone lit it on fire. I saw newspaper burning, then another person grabbed a fire extinguisher, it wasn't working, and then someone got a bucket of water and threw it on the fire It was amazing. They were reacting totally to the media and this was very, very different from the other audiences' reactions to the same thing. Of course, all of this is a reduced, subjective interpretation My interpretation. Considering Muntadas's career -- comprising scores of projects, installed in sometimes a dozen sites -- it is not coincidental that he has now chosen to foreground "translation," which could be said to be a foundation of his entire body of work.
However much Muntadas's work may seem to be characterized by social rather than the personal concerns, any creative endeavor is, in a sense, a self-portrait of its maker. The origins of another major piece of his, The File Room , lay in the artist's personal experience, and it actually contains an autobiographical reference. He was given access to the archives of Spain 's only network, TVE. It was part of my past and my native countries' background It was a work dealing with forty years of Spanish history It was made for a specific context and audience, the Spanish audience.
As is the case for many such broadcasts, Muntadas had initially signed a contract that gave TVE broadcast rights and the artist rights for cultural presentations and screenings.
But this contractual situation prevented the tape from ever being broadcast. It was at this point that Muntadas began thinking about doing a piece about censorship. Now considered one the classic early works created for the Internet, The File Room is an archive for cases of censorship to which anyone can contribute. Similar to so much of Muntadas work, The File Room functions on "micro" and "macro" levels. The artist admitted that producing The File Room was "an exorcism" of his frustrating experience with censorship. Muntadas also described it as a reaction to the political and cultural controversies in the United States , with such cases as those of Robert Mapplethorpe and Andrea Serrano, in addition to the public debate about the Internet and freedom of speech in the public domain.
The initial physical installation consisted of a gallery filled with black metal file cabinets, holding drawers. Seven computer monitors were installed in the file cabinets and in the center of the room was a desk with another computer where visitors could view the site and add censorship cases. All the terminals were linked to The File Room web site, which is now at www. A significant aspect of the initial installation was the visitors' access to the Internet at a time when a relatively small percentage of the U.
The gallery, with black-metal-file-cabinet walls and lit by the light of computer monitors, can be seen to evoke associations with oppressive institutional memory and authority.
Enigmas y misterios de la Segunda Guerra Mundial (Unknown History) (Spanish Edition)
Muntadas's interest in censorship is related to an essential aspect of his work. Censorship is a crude, blatant realization of social restraints.
Such repression when public, forced, and obvious is censorship, when internal, automatic, and unconscious, it is ideology. And as the artist also commented, censorship is a "negative form of translation. Although arranged according to four categories -- dates, locations, grounds for censorship, and medium -- not all the listings in the categories are alphabetized.
Entering the web site, there is a statement that "the project does not presume the role of a library, an encyclopedia, or even a copy editor, in the traditional sense This is one of the elements that makes The File Room such an effective piece. That it's theme is censorship is appropriate considering the mythologies and realities of the Net, which has been seen both as a vehicle for individual freedom of expression and an instrument for commercial and governmental control.
The File Room serves as a lens, clarifying issues related to paradigms of the modern era, such as individual liberty, freedom of speech, internationalism, the mass media, and information and communication technologies. The peripheral or invisible element, which has characterizes so much of Muntadas's work, took human form in At a month-long workshop proposed by Muntadas in San Sebastian , twenty-five artists, writers, activists, art historians, anthropologists, and sociologists from different countries gathered to investigate urban interventions.
Many of the participants were, on the other hand, not fluent in all three languages and used headphones to hear translations. During the discussions Muntadas began to notice that the participants were smiling at odd moments and there seemed to be "some misunderstanding.
This small moment -- when Muntadas saw the potential power of this marginalized activity -- was what lead him to begin to directly and self-consciously investigate an issue that had been implicit in all of his work. And with this description of the origins of On Translation , this essay will end.
Nova Societat? Examining the etymology of "translation" reveals its earliest documented meanings from the 14th century include: "transference; removal, or conveyance from one person, place or condition to another," and "to change in form, appearance or substance, to transmute," as well as the meaning " Simpson and E.
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Weiner, Volume 18 Oxford: Claredon Press, , When reviewing Jameson's description of "political unconscious" for these notes, I discovered that he not only defines this in terms of "the repressed" and "the ideological" which is what I chose to remember but he also states on the first page that "texts come before us as the always-already-read; we apprehend them through sedimented layers of previous interpretations," see pages 20, 12, and 9 respectively. I had forgotten that Jameson's definition of "political unconscious" also includes an emphasis on interpretation, or what Muntadas would describe as translation.
By modernity, I am referring to the past years, and the period when the modern, liberal, democratic, capitalist state consolidated. Other configurations of the modern era include art for art sake and the museum.
Enigmas y misterios de la Segunda Guerra Mundial
Jill Lepore, for example, discussed the way a single French dialect came to be favored by printers and that became the national standard in France in her lecture based on her book A is for American on 26 February at the U. Library of Congress, which was broadcast on the U. Knopf, After the revolution, many desired the development of a U. Among such proponents was Noah Webster who was supported by such figures as Benjamin Franklin.
Webster became a proponent of a U. Such an attempt failed and only a small number of Webster's U. S spellings survive, such as "favor" instead of the British "favour. See Lepore lecture, Ibid.
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This is the complex and potentially infinite terrain that Muntadas explores in On Translation. Constituted in , The EU has gained prominence during the past decade, with such enhancements as the adoption to the Euro as the standard currency: "The process of European integration was launched on 9 May when France officially proposed to create 'the first concrete foundation of a European federation. Today, after four waves of accessions Denmark , Ireland and the United Kingdom ; Greece ; Spain and Portugal ; Austria , Finland and Sweden the EU has 15 Member States and is preparing for the accession of 13 eastern and southern European countries.
Interview with Muntadas, 11 May Muntadas asked each of his "translators" to display their notes for their process next to Muntadas's original notes, so that the viewers to the exhibition could compare and better understand these interpretations. The entire video archive will eventually be available for viewing at a public cultural institution. It's so easy, just click the download button and i get the most wanted book.. It only needs under 5 minutes. Get a free 7 day subscription by clicking below!
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