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Trama: Artists’ Initiatives and the Politics of Autogestión in Contemporary Argentina

Pérez González, Iberia (2015) Trama: Artists’ Initiatives and the Politics of Autogestión in Contemporary Argentina. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This dissertation analyzes the unprecedented phenomenon of autogestión which proliferated in the Argentine contemporary art scene in the aftermath of the economic crisis and popular revolts of December 2001. Premised on the notion that the crisis encompassed significant transformations in all spheres of life, the thesis examines the key role of artists’ initiatives based on autogestión in the reconfigurations within the art field. By focusing on the specific case of Trama – a project for cooperation between artists that evolved into a national and international network of artists’ initiatives (2000–2005) –, the study argues that autogestión became a legitimate artistic practice that gained visibility and strength within the artistic landscape in Argentina in the post-crisis period. As such, it challenges local art historical discourses which, all too often, limit discussions of the political to a rhetoric of art activism or artists’ collectives. Drawing on Henri Lefebvre’s multifaceted conceptualization of autogestión, the study also aims to reinvest the term with its political connotations: autonomy, democracy and self-determination. Relying on Lefebvre’s theoretical framework as an heuristic tool, it examines the ways in which Trama functioned as a political strategy by enacting ethical concerns and values, and by generating a set of conditions within the art field with regard to the social, the subjective and the spatial; these are analyzed in turn in the thesis. Emphasizing these inter-related registers – and guided by an interdisciplinary approach –, this research illustrates the ways in which Trama was not only implicated in, but resonated with the broader socio-political processes and transformations taking place in Argentina at this historical conjuncture. Steering the focus away from the ‘art work’ to ‘artistic practice’, this thesis offers a valuable insight into the discipline as it identifies a new area of investigation – artistic autogestión –, while arguing for the need for more sustained and comprehensive scholarly research on this topic.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Iberia Perez Gonzalez
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2016 13:38
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2016 13:38

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