Friday 17 April 2009


exhibition views of 'This is not America!' curated by Pablo Leon de la Barra at Beta Local

information table

Tony Cruz's 'Ley Organica Jones', Puerto Rico Constitution supported by scaffolding structure

Matthieu Laurette 'The Louisiana Repo Purchase'

Jeremy Deller 'Memory Bucket'

Carla Zaccagnini's 'Esto No Es America'

Susanne Bürner 'Vanishing Point: How to disappear in America without a trace'

Cristobal Lehyt 'Drawings'

Runo Lagomarsino's ‘The Denial’

Vangelis Vlahos work and Carolina Caycedo's IrakAmerica flag

Vangelis Vlahos ‘John Brady Kiesling’s Letter of Resignation’

Fernando Bryce ‘Juan Pablo Chang y Ernesto Che Guevara. Bolivia 1967’
Poster and take away photocopies

Julieta Aranda, 'No, You Can't', grafitti on paper

Aleksandra Mir, 'The End', digital reproduction of drawing with sharpies

Alfredo Jaar, 'This is Not America'/'A Logo for America', Times Square New York, 1987
digital images found on the internet and video on youtube

Carla Zaccagnini

Tony Cruz and Carmela

Maria Ines Rodriguez and Bronx Museum director Holly Block

Gloria and Hector Madera

Carla Zaccagnini, Runo Lagomarsino and David Waddington

Julieta Aranda

Maria Ines Rodriguez next to Aleksandra Mir's 'The End'

Mima Reyes and Carolina Caycedo's flag

Beta-Local's Critical Corner/El Descanso del Guerrero and the Centre for the Aesthetic Revolution present:

THIS IS NOT AMERICA an assemblage of works by Pablo Leon de la Barra with the participation of  Aleksandra Mir, Alfredo Jaar, Carla Zaccagnini, Carolina Caycedo, Cristobal Lehyt, Fernando Bryce, Javier Tellez, Jeremy Deller, Julieta Aranda, Matthieu Laurette, Runo Lagomarsino, Sean Snyder, Susanne Bürner, Tony Cruz, Vangelis Vlahos

Opening Friday April 17, 2009, 10am to 8pm.
Coffee at 11, Beers at 6pm.
Beta-Local, Calle Luna 208, corner with San Justo, Viejo San Juan, in the Free Associated State of Puerto Rico
Open during April and May, Wednesday and Saturdays and by appointment.

List of Works:

Aleksandra Mir
‘The End’
From the ‘Church of Sharpie’ series
Digital reproduction of drawing done with sharpie on paper.
Original drawing 482.6cm x 558.8cm
‘In May 2005, I gathered 16 assistants for a Sharpie-drawing marathon in a large temporary studio in the East Village, New York. We produced twenty huge (190" by 120") drawings outlining the map of the USA, each with commentary on subjects such as the Civil War, space shuttles, state flowers, the American bicentennial, the draft, road-tripping, love, God and the baby boom. Typically I would outline the drawings overnight, and the assistants would come in and ink my outlines during the day and evening, so there were always three shifts running. Over the course of the month, as we listened to the different music everyone brought in and shared lunches and stories, we also invented a language and developed a cult around this magnificent household marker. Words such as ‘Sharpologist’ were invented. A range of up to twelve Sharpie middle-tones was achieved with the fading marker, while ‘black’ took on a different meaning. My assistants, students and graduates from various New York art schools bore titles such as ‘The Supervisor of Paper Cutting and Protector of Fingertips’, ‘Manager of Middle-tones’ and ‘Secretary of Finesse’.’
Courtesy of the artist.

Alfredo Jaar,
'This is Not America'/'A Logo for America',
Times Square New York

Carla Zaccagnini in collaboration with Chiara Merino and Olga Casellas
‘Esto No Es America’
Translation of David Bowie’s song to Spanish
Courtesy of the artist.

Carolina Caycedo
Courtesy Espacio 1414/Berezdivin Collection, Puerto Rico

Cristobal Lehyt
Chalk on blackboard
‘Todos los dibujos son de las noticias Estadounidenses, son hechos para que gente en otras partes los re-hagan. Una traduccion de las noticias de EEUU... En principio no se explica cual es la foto original, se entienden pedazos - o no... Al final la gracia es lo de re-dibujar un dibujo de una foto. Son como reglas conceptuales criticas... un sin sentido de como relacionarse con las noticias... mostrar los filtros que hay entre el hecho y el espectador. Son como fantasmas conceptuales de algun vestigio de critica a la politica Estadounidense.
dibujo1: en el sur de eeuu la gente celebra en las autopistas la bandera de la confederacion
dibujo2: ninos en Centroamerica haciendo banderitas para mostrarle a la comitiva de bush cuando visito el pais (Guatemala)"
Courtesy of the artist.

Fernando Bryce
‘Juan Pablo Chang y Ernest Che Guevara. Bolivia 1967’
Poster and take away photocopies
“La imágen del Che y Juan Pablo Chang es la lucha política en acción y es ambivalente como imágen ya que representa en por un lado la derrota de una idea política específica por razones internas y externas, aunque más internas en mi opinión, es una imágen del heroismo perdido, en el sentido en el que lo analiza Badiou, y al mismo tiempo está ligada a la actualidad, como referente lejano en las formas pero actual en los contenidos si se piensa, como lo pienso, que los problemas básicamente siguen siendo los mismos que hace 40 años, en un contexto geopolítico distinto y en un mundo cambiado, ciertamente. Básicamente los mismos problemas también en Cuba por supuesto donde , en mi opinión, se ha demostrado que es imposible desarrollar cualquier proyecto emancipador sin empezar por garantizar libertades democráticas básicas que son necesarias como el aire para poder vivir.”
Courtesy of the artist.

Javier Tellez
‘One Flew over the Void’
Javier Téllez's project One Flew Over the Void involved a sustained engagement with psychiatric patients from the Baja California Mental Health Center in Mexicali to co- create a public event and to document its evolution and final performance. Inspired by the traditional human cannonball circus performer, Tellez explored the notion of spatial and mental borders in the context of Tijuana and San Diego and developed an event that involves sending a human cannonball across the border between Mexico and the United States. Through successive creative workshops and exchanges the world's most famous human cannonball, Dave Smith, the psychiatric patients and Tellez collectively devised the backdrop, music, costumes, print advertising, radio and television announcements and advertising for the event. The performance will occur on August 27 at the site where the Mexico/US international border fence disappears into the sea between Playas de Tijuana and Border Field State Park.
Courtesy of Arratia-Beer, Berlin

Jeremy Deller
‘Memory Bucket’
Memory Bucket 2003 uses documentary techniques to explore the state of Texas, focusing on two politically charged locations: the site of the Branch Davidian siege in Waco and President Bush’s home town of Crawford. Archive news footage is collaged with interviews, juxtaposing official reports with personal narratives.
Originally commissioned by Art Pace San Antonio
Courtesy The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow

Julieta Aranda
'No You Can't'
Courtesy of the artist.

Matthieu Laurette
‘The Louisiana Repo-Purchase’
Video installation. DVD, duration: 17 min. looped.
Made with a team from NOATV, the local cable access network in New Orleans, The Louisiana Repo-Purchase, 2003-2004, shows passersby being asked to sign a petition to keep France from buying back the Louisiana territories: "That's ridiculous!" "We don't like Louisiana, so sell it!" "Yes, I want to sign that. We live here now, and we're here to stay."
Courtesy of the artist.

Runo Lagomarsino
‘The Denial’
Computer print
‘The Denial’ is four pages printed out from the US State Department website regarding a myth apparently perpetuated by some Brazilians that the US and UN are now the owners and administrators of the Amazon rainforest.
Courtesy of the artist.

Sean Snyder
‘Casio, Seiko, Sheraton, Toyota, Mars’
Colour video transferred on DVD, sound
14 min 47
2004 - 2005
Casio, Seiko, Sheraton, Toyota, Mars (2004-05), involves material of a more recent date, incorporating as it does footage and still images deriving from the American-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the subjects of this work is the role of corporations within the colonisation of the two countries: as is made clear by the artist’s voiceover, which tracks a long history of brand involvement in the conflict zones. However, the last two decades have also seen the exponential development of communications
technology, and the video also explores journalistic conventions, and the staging and manipulation of images, in the era of consumer digital electronics. This powerful work, which combines material from amateur, government and journalistic sources, updates Snyder’s analysis of our image wars to the age of Abu Ghraib.
Courtesy Chantal Crousel, Paris

Susanne Bürner
'Vanishing Point: How to disappear in America without a trace'
Revolver/Toastink Press, 2006
“There are many good reasons to disappear from society. There are many bad reasons to want to. There are many good ways to disappear from society and there are many bad ways to disappear. While I won’t delve too deeply into the whys of disappearing, I will cover my opinions on how to disappear successfully. This essay covers what I consider to be most salient points on how to disappear and remain successfully hidden in American society.”
Courtesy Toastink Press, Paris

Tony Cruz
‘Ley Organica Jones’
Puerto Rico Constitution on wood structure
Courtesy of the artist.

Vangelis Vlahos
‘John Brady Kiesling’s Letter of Resignation’
Two posters
from the ‘Brady Kiesling Archive with three scale models of the US Embassy of Athens’
US diplomat John Brady Kiesling’s letter of resignation from his post at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens, sent to Secretary of State Colin Powell in March 2003 in open dispute with American policy in Iraq.
Courtesy Luis Augusto Teixeira de Freitas Collection, Portugal

About Beta-Local's El Descanso del Guerrero Critical Corner

Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention, through the restless impatient continuing hopeful enquiry ( we) pursue in the world, and with each other. (1)


THE CORNER will be an attempt to propel the interaction of individuals who, by their restless and impatient inquiry, are in the need/search of a social engineering structure that can empower self-organizing, generating subjective spaces of production that promote the creation, sharing, and dissemination of ideas around the subtleties of vernacular culture, such as concepts regarding new structures for the common good, and appropriation of past structures (re-interpreted for the present time; rethinking the commons).

Today, more than ever, hubs of creative activity can happen in non-physical space ( the Internet). THE CORNER searches for ways in which physical connections can occur, where experiments in an opinionated place can flourish, and where the actions of input/output can function as instrumentalizations of local needs.

THE CORNER dreams of the “What ifs” and their concretization. It dreams of the need to look for alternatives for different issues facing humanity: the need to look for democratic means of production; the need to look for responsibly throughout; and the need to sort out developments that solve local problems and foster local reality.

THE CORNER believes that introducing creative critical tools into otherwise lay noncreative processes can pull out of the box tired rutinary thinking, providing a new energy for optimism toward reality through alternative solutions. THE CORNER believes that bodies need to displace themselves, connecting isolated points, complimenting cerebral information-gathering with physical nonverbal presence, in terms of the human need to be together, generating permanent and temporary communities.

(1) Freiere, Paulo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, trans. Myra Bergman Ramos, New York, The Continuing International Publishing Group Inc, 1970, p.52 ( Quote found in the book of Lucy & Jorge Orta, patterned book.

..."Tampoco se cambia una organización o una asociación empezando a influir sobre sus miembros. Si se quiere cambiar una institución, una organización, cualquier corporación pública mundana, sólo puede renovar su constitución, sus leyes, sus estatutos y esperar que todo lo demás se dé por sí mismo."(1)

- mission - an agent of change
- tarea/homework - knowledge distribution
- job description for employees - facilitators of &/or for transitions ocurring in society
- construcción de un diccionario de palabras claves : ejemplo : corresponsabilidad
- mantain an archive of specific situations of individuals and create an added value by synthetizing them as a way to disperse the pulse of the moment
- mantener una bibliografía actualizada
- arquitecture to the service of the flow - mantener espacios para input / output de ideas
- search, adopt and foster random ideas floating in the system without host
- experimentation, fail and reconstruction are part of the evaluation system and should be engage in

..."Si esperar milagros es un rasgo del callejón sin salida que ha ido a parar nuestro mundo, de ninguna manera esta esperanza nos saca del ámbito poítico originario... No por que creamos en ellos sino por que los hombres, en la medida en que pueden actuar, son capaces de llevar a cabo lo improbable e imprevisible y de llevarlo a cabo continuamente, lo sepan o no."  (2)

(1) (2) excerpts from Hannah Arendt ? Qué es política?


  1. Julieta Aranda piece is on my mind...I love it. I wish I can hear her say it in her own voice.

    No, you can't!

    powerful exhibition..I can't wait to meet you one day.