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Emilio Santisteban. Orígenes. 100 palabras sobre totalitarismo.

Origins: 100 words on totalitarianism is a project by Emilio Santisteban with the informed participation of Venezuelan citizens.

Conceived in 2015 within the framework of the South Caracas Biennial at the invitation of the Brazilian curator Angela Barbour, the project was not carried out in Venezuela (in unclear circumstances). Instead, it has been developed in collaboration with Venezuelan immigrants in Peru since January 2020 for an indefinite period of time, having started as part of the public program of the show Crónicas Migrantes. Common stories between Peru and Venezuela  (September 2019 - February 2020), conceived by the Venezuelan curator Fabiola Arroyo at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lima MAC — Lima.

​ The participation of Venezuelan immigrants consists of displaying, on a wall of their home or work space, the image-text shown above. Said exhibition does not necessarily entail its exhibition open to the public, but personal contemplation and between relatives and fellow immigrants, or with local friends who receive them and - if the participants so wish - the publication of the personal reflections that the image-text conducive.

The image-text shows a question of uncertain direction and of multiple and open answers: what if at the end? ,  question in turn composed of the hundred most used nouns in the text "Totalitarianism", which is part of the book The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt [1] . This selection of terms dialogues with Tania Bruguera's performance 100 hours of reading on totalitarianism , carried out by the artist in Havana (2015).


The words that make up the question, now detached from the discourse they formed, suggest certain emphases that hint at various forms that totalitarianism can take, such as the nullification of freedom in political totalitarianism, the alienation of life in economic totalitarianism, or xenophobia and aporophobia from which a kind of totalitarianism of a social and cultural nature emerges in practice, for which it is the population itself, deprived of citizenship, that exercises police action of control and oppression.

Adriana guerrero

Origins: 100 Words on Totalitarianism , 2015/2020

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