Lucia Sanroman part of XI SITAC’s 11th international symposium on contemporary art theory

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August 29th, 30th, and 31st, 2013.
Polyforum Siqueiros Ciudad de México

Artists, theorists, writers, achitects and specialists invited to the XI SITAC are José Arnaud-Bello, Mario Bellatin, María  Berrios, Daniela Castro, Vitor Cesar, Tony Chakar, Maria Chehenodskih, Helena Chávez Mac Gregor, Övül Dormuşoglu, Candice Hopkins, Pablo Lafuente, Tobi Maier, Manuela Moscoso, Rafael Ortega, Fernando Palma, Public Movement, Matthew Rana, Suely Rolnik, Lucia Sanromán, Vladimir Safatle, Marko Stamenkovic, Eduardo Thomas, Asta Vaičuilytė and Sofie Van Loo.

Moderators: Mónica Amieva, María del Carmen Carrión, Miguel López, Marcela Quiroz and Emliano Valdés.


Power is neither exterior to the members of a collective [collègenor interior to each one of them, but rather consists in the collectivity [collégialitéas such.

Jean-Luc Nancy, Être singulier pluriel, 1996.

Old frontiers are being dissolved while new ones are built. We are witnessing the end of the idea of art as aesthetic contemplation and returning to something that the West has long forgotten: the rebirth of art as collective action and representation, and the rebirth of their complementary opposite, solitary meditation.

Octavio Paz, “Invención, subdesarrollo, modernidad”, 1967.

There are many ways of being-with-one-another, many ways of sharing a specific time and space. The experience of mutuality that these particular ways generate is part of the public domain, producing social relations and enticing meaningful interactions among people.

The notion of community is the central subject matter for SITAC XI. The word/phrase used as a title for this project is an idea developed by the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy in his book Être singulier pluriel (Being Singular Plural, 2000), and is used here in an attempt to deal with diverse relationships and possible associations between socio-cultural phenomena, and artistic practices. Nancy’s thought is inscribed within the philosophical discussions of the 20th and 21st centuries regarding the overall understanding of the “self” and its possibilities of “being.” His writing aims to separate “singularity” and “individuality;” as well as the politics surrounding an autonomous being. According to Nancy “[…] Being itself is given to us as meaning, being does not have meaning. “Being itself,” the phenomenon of “being” is meaning that is in turn its own circulation—and we are this circulation.”i

Using this word/phrase and all that it entails as a starting point, the symposium is divided into three days during which various discussion panels and presentations are to act as axis / nucleus / constellations / biomes / trajectories/ families / clues / islands / choreographies attempting to answer specific questions.

To talk about community is a thematic both central and urgent within our time: given the context of recent social mobilizations and collective organizations—(the Arab Spring, student movements in Latin America, the Occupy movement in the United States and other countries, #yosoy132 in Mexico, the Passe Livre movement in Brazil, massive protests in Turkey and Egypt, among many others)—we are interested in reflecting upon what is happening on the streets, but also about what is going on behind closed doors. To understand the notion of being-withone- another it is necessary to encompass that which is present in the visual politics of social protests and performative collectivities, up to contemporary urban rituals—which are, in their own way, the sectarian and invisible counterparts of this circulation of meaning. Setting us apart from any tribalistic stereotype, we think that stability in art is quickly changing. Thereby what must be investigated are forms of renewed convivialities—relations that are absolutely unstable from their very core, and which are constructing our present reality.

On the other hand, how can we imagine a shift traversing thought produced in the cities to the country, (not metaphorically, or in a metacritical approximation, but as a “living reality”)? Making both visible and viable other poles of action, and starting to dilucidate other possibilities for launching any type of transformative action based on considering ourselves as the circulation of meaning.

This symposium intends to trace dialogues and debates rooted in this being-with-one-another directed at exploring the circulation of meaning and of something “post-environmental,” from collective mobilizations (public, secretive, revolutionary, student associated). A theoretical-artistic investigation of sorts, where the speakers are to jointly construct an understanding of this being-with-one-another within the symposium’s given time and space. It is about joining differentiated visions, fertile for the interpretations of this concept that, seems to us, provides a theoretical frame, which becomes, nonetheless, ever complex once it is discussed under the light of concrete experiences.

Sitac XI extends this reflection to the editorial domain by means of two compendiums of texts and reference material, put together for this edition by Marcela Quiroz and Mónica Amieva, lector(es)_SITAC XI: hacer tiempo [reader(s) _SITAC XI: to make time], edited by Marcela Quiroz, tracing a genealogy of the subject matter of community in literature, philosophy, theory and poetry. It is a compilation commented and printed in four volumes, divided into subsections as follow: cuerpo(s) / comunidad(es) / otro(s) / hospitalidad(es) [body(ies) / community(ies) / other(s) / hospitality(ies)]. On the other hand, Nosotros [WE], edited by Mónica Amieva, is an online compilation ( of texts and videos, amplifying the discussion regarding the notion of community in terms of contemporary art theory and political philosophy— thereby contributing to the present philosophical and aesthetic debate.

Campo de pruebas 1 + 1 = 11 [Proving Ground 1+1= 11] is a project concieved by Plataforma Arte-Educación, reformulating the symposium’s educational platform as a site for reflection and critical speculation. Therefore—the week previous to the symposium—a group of guest speakers and participants will elaborate on the theoretical discussions regarding the symposium throughout three days. Branching out, there will be a series of collaborations with other organizations through which some of the speakers will be giving workshops, conferences and presenting several publications in Mexico during these dates.

Finally, the Polyforum Siqueiros, a space designed and built by the Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) between 1966 and 1971—towards the end of his life, will enact as a stage for temporal community we aim for. The Polyforum marks a distinct late moment in Mexican Muralism, contrasting with diverse conceptions about artistic creation in Mexico—developed during the same decade—regarding collective projects and collaborations, such as the Espacio escultórico (1977) at the Centro Cultural Universitario, UNAM, pervading geometrical abstraction and a notion of art as research. Therefore we also invoke the Espacio escultórico, for we find these two venues as ambitious urban interventions—both intervening the urban landscape by proposing circular spaces for gathering and contemplation.

being-with-one-another calls for creating—from the very conception of this project—an axis of dialogue that runs through the entire continent searching for affinities in research procedures and affective encounters, historical and contextual resonances allowing to reconsider art and its current unfoldings:

The common means space, spacing, distance and proximity, separation and encounter. But this ‘meaning’ is not a meaning. It opens precisely beyond any meaning.ii

Paola Santoscoy y Marcio Harum

Mexico City / São Paulo, 2013

i Jean-Luc Nancy, Being Singular Plural (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), pp. 2-3. Being itself is given to us as meaning, being does not have meaning. “Being itself,” the phenomenon of “being” is meaning that is in turn its own circulation – and we are this circulation.” Traducción al español de Juan Manuel Garrido Wainer.

ii Jean-Luc Nancy, “‘Communism’, the word”, The Idea of Communism, Costas Douzinas / Slavoj Zizek ed., Londres, Nueva York, Verso, 2010, p. 153.