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Sweep , misfortune, 2007

Emilio Santisteban

Peruvian performance artist

Images © Aldo Cáceda and Romina Cruz

Arte de performance, arte da performance, performance art, Lima Peru Sudamérica América do Sul South America.

Misfortune [1] Barrer, July 24, 2007, Image Center. 28 de Julio Avenue, Miraflores, Lima. In express preamble to Alan García Pérez's report to the Congress of the Republic on July 28 and the anniversary of the Final Report of the CVR at the end of August.


In  Sweep, I offer my own blood, spilling it in respectful commemoration of the seventy thousand deaths that occurred during the internal armed conflict at the hands of criminals, both from insurgent terrorism and from State terrorism; violent outpourings that we intend to keep in oblivion and that thus, by a rather loving outpouring, are remembered.


Then assuming the roles of big business, decision-makers and influencers in State policies, and businessmen of the media, mainly though not exclusively, I sweep the spilled blood, which is now not mine but everyone's. - under a rug that, with the face of Alan García, tries uselessly to hide the undeniable. The bloody carpet, as is our State and the hands of many of us, reveals the face of Alberto Fujimori on the back.  


The  song of the Aprista and Fujimorista advertising refrains "Respects keep respects" and "We never had the opportunity, now we have the opportunity", are  allusion to the fact that fujimontesinismo and alanmantillismo are and always were two sides of the same coin with which we charge and pay daily: that of disrespect for many Peruvians who are not really considered citizens, and that of our complicity in impunity.


Infortunio Barrer has been alluded to in the Conference — performance Infortunio (or the ways the "performans" sucks),  Heterotopías Colloquium, UAM, Mexico City, October 20, 2016).


[ 1] Taking as an antecedent the notion built by John Austin from the philosophy of language (in his lectures published under the title How to do things with words in 1939), I propose to formalize the use, in the contemporary artistic field, of the term misfortune to denominate generically to creations that, pretending to be performative or advertising themselves as performances, fail in the attempt to establish the collective meaning that a performance implies, or are actually discursive symbolizations or mere representational semantics. When it comes to failures, misfortunes can occur, always following Austin, due to impertinence (misfortunes due to bad appeal or misapplication in Austin), due to inefficiency (in Austin, misfortunes of defective act or incomplete act), or due to inauthenticity (Insincere act or hollow act woes, in Austin's terms). When it comes to symbolizations or semantizations without a performative pretension, we are faced with what Austin calls a constative statement, only that if they are announced as performances, misfortune arises due to an unfortunate totality, since nothing is actually intended to establish (the performer seeks to express his thought, their sensitivity, etc., tell a story, present a speech, stage a dramaturgy, a choreography, a design of bodily activity, etc.).
In the case of Barrer, we are facing a misfortune of inauthenticity because although we tried to establish a performance, as I was able to verify later in dialogues with almost all the direct participants, they had decided to omit from their memory, in eloquent denial of all the meaning that was intended perform, the fragment “their blood”, which was repeated thirty-three times within the complete sentence “their blood, your blood, my blood”. There was an insincere act in the minds of the participants, in which the minds resisted the establishment of communitas with the victims of violence. Nothing had been performed.

Sweep, misfortune .

Image Center, Lima

July 24, 2007

Approximate duration of 30 minutes

Carpet, made by the Rosario designer Maria Silvia Piaggio

Human blood (2 liters  previously extracted to the performer).

Broom, stain remover, blotting paper, bucket

Advertising refrains of the government of Alberto Fujimori and  of the second government of Alan García.

Two ways of dressing (minimal simple clothing, suit and tie)

People locked in the basement (33 people)

Free spectators (300 people, approximately, upstairs in the garden, watching the action by direct transmission on a giant screen).

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