This article considers an aesthetic-political action: namely, an intervention of activists directed at the painted portrait of a bloodthirsty historical figure. Considering the inexorably aesthetic dimension of politics, this work articulates the constitution of socius and ethos according to Deleuze and Guattari with a singular reading of the concept of Duchamp's readymade. Thus, the article arrives at the conception of an effect of art. This theoretical base allows us to consider the specific political action that serves as the theme of the text as an example of the effect of art. This consideration occurs both within the context of an identification between artistic/cultural patrimony and the State, but also in the aesthetic-political resistances of a city submitted to the violent processes of gentrification.
Aesthetic-Political Action; Socius and Ethos; The Effect of Art; City; Aesthetics of Power and Resistance
Este artigo analisa uma ação estético-política: uma intervenção feita por ativistas na pintura do retrato de um sanguinário personagem histórico. Considerando a dimensão inexoravelmente estética da política, articularemos a constituição do socius e do ethos, segundo Deleuze e Guattari, com uma singular leitura do conceito de ready made em Duchamp; chegaremos assim à concepção de efeito de arte. Tal base teórica nos permitirá pensar a ação política tema do texto como exemplo de efeito de arte, num contexto de identificação entre patrimônio artístico/cultural e Estado, mas também de resistências estético-políticas numa cidade submetida a violentos processos de gentrificação.
Ação Estético-Política; Socius e Ethos; Efeito de Arte; Cidade; Estéticas do Poder e da Resistência
Cet article analyse une action esthético-politique: une intervention pratiquée par des activistes sur la peinture du portrait d'un personnage historique sanguinaire. Compte tenu de la dimension inexorablement esthétique de la politique, nous articulerons la constitution du socius et de l'ethos, selon Deleuze et Guattari, avec une lecture singulière du concept de ready made chez Duchamp, en arrivant ainsi à la conception d'effet d'art. Les esthétiques du pouvoir qui formatent les villes et les résistances esthétiques nous amèneront aux réflexions de Lefebvre sur le droit à la ville. Cette base théorique nous permettra d'envisager l'action politique, thème du texte, comme un exemple d'effet d'art, dans un contexte d'identification entre patrimoine artistique/culturel et État, mais aussi de résistances esthético-politiques, dans une ville soumise à de violents processus de gentrification.
Action Esthético-Politique; Socius et Ethos; Effet d'Art; Ville; Esthétiques du Pouvoir et de la Résistance
The Event (An Aesthetic-Political Action)
Based on three convergent perspectives - politics, sociology, and art - this text aims to reflect on an event from the end of July 2013, which we will identify as an aesthetic-political action.
This place of a relation - and, more than a relation, of an inexorably aesthetic constitution of politics, and an inexorably political effect of art - is a path that the authors of this text have all followed in a variety of different research projects. Therefore, we converge here around this paper. Our working method therefore predates the specific theme of this text: it is based on the assumption that the relation between artistic production and theoretical production cannot allow itself to be guided by a sort of subjection of art to theory. On the contrary, there also exists, for us, an effect of art that underlies theoretical problematization and the production of concepts. In other words, an artistic experience is capable of making it so that concepts are no longer the same, so that new concepts must be created. Art must irrigate theory when the latter closes upon itself and its own clichés. On the other hand, our theoretical studies fill us with aesthetic experiences. It is not by chance that all of the authors of this article possess a trajectory that passes through artistic productions, whether in the field of cinema and video, the field of photography, or the field of printmaking. Aside from these experiences, this conversation between aesthetics and politics passes through us by way of another practice: that of a political (and, therefore, aesthetic) activism that we always aim to seek out. Therefore, the act that we will characterize here as an aesthetic-political action attracts us as a theme for this study because although it has surprised and even enchanted us, it also forms part of the expectations and desires that we nourish, based on our readings of the authors who form part of our theoretical toolbox throughout this text. We would say that acts, such as the one we are studying here, already have a neighborhood of their own. In a certain way, they conspire with the inexorably aesthetic manner in which Deleuze and Guattari see the constitution of socius and of ethos; in the way in which they read the concept-action of the readymade in Duchamp; and in the way that Duchamp himself breaks completely with any notion of the autonomy of art, refusing the place of the artist for himself at the same time as he defends the social and political dimensions of art. Those who think of and about the city - a place that defines and constitutes itself, paradigmatically, through operations and struggles that are aesthetic-political (an expression that, for us, is redundant) - can also not be ignored. Therefore, we will pass through Henri Lefebvre's famous reflections on the right to the city, but we will also mention authors like Antonio Negri. If there is a method in this text, it is in the affective convergence of its authors. This convergence mixes with the convergence of theory and practice - which, for us, is also an affective convergence - in the texts we read, the artistic experiences we have (both together and separately), and the political activism we share. Incidentally, it is worth recalling that we are professors from Rio de Janeiro; as such, we were present at protests that took place in June and October of 2013. At the very minimum, the pepper spray, the tear gas, and the noise of the stun grenades had a very strong impact on our bodies, but so, too, did the joy and potency of the streets. Within our own singularities, we were part of these performances, part of the steps of those dances, and of the shared and interpotentializing desires (and fears and frustrations...). In order for us to be minimally honest with our readers, there is no other way for us to describe - as academic formalities demand - the methods and procedures of our research: in our complicit enchantment with the painted intervention carried out at the City Council Chamber of Rio de Janeiro and its effects; in the way in which we perceive how much this action entered into dialogue with the research that we were already undertaking; in the entire afternoons taken up by discussions of this subject; and in the exchange of theoretical influences, bibliographical recommendations, and reflections that we used to build this text. This was our working method.
The event to which we are referring took place in the midst of the immense street mobilizations that shook up all of Brazil in June 2013, at exactly the same time as the Confederations Cup, a soccer tournament that opened the way for the World Cup, which was to take place one year later. These protests continued intensely, albeit with somewhat smaller numbers, throughout the month of July 2013. They grew again in October of the same year, especially in Rio de Janeiro, where a strike by public schoolteachers mobilized the entire city, even beyond the teachers themselves. The event that we first identified here as an aesthetic-political action took place when several protestors entered the City Council Chamber and carried out an intervention on a painting, drawing horns on the head of Colonel Antonio Moreira César, as portrayed in a portrait by the Italian painter Gustavo Dell'Ara. The painting, which hangs in the main hall of this legislative body, does not seem to have been a target that protestors openly identified; in other words, the intervention probably took place in the heat of the moment during the protest. Besides, the protestors did not know whose face was exhibited in the portrait that they targeted, meaning that it was only soon after the intervention had been carried out - and after it had been publicized in the mainstream media in a tone of great disapproval, as a supposed proof of vandalism and of the disrespect shown to cultural patrimony - that the public learned that the portrait in question was of the aforementioned Colonel, and, above all, who this Colonel had been. This was when the public found out that Colonel Moreira César had been known as The Cutthroat Colonel, and that - among some of the many bloody and criminal facts of his past - he had commanded the repression of the Federalist Revolution (1893-1895) in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, which took place there and in the neighboring state of Rio Grande do Sul. During the course of this suppression, the Colonel ordered all types of tortures, executions, and revenge, some of which he carried out with his own hands, thereby earning the nickname Cutthroat. Soon afterwards, he was appointed to command the second military mission charged with crushing the Canudos Revolt7 1 A popular uprising that took place in northeastern Brazil between 1896 and 1897. Its brutal suppression ultimately resulted in the deaths of an estimated 25,000 people. (T. N.) after the first such mission had been repelled by insurrectionists. However, Moreira César was not victorious: his troops were defeated in another victory for the insurrectionists, and he himself was fatally wounded by a bullet that would kill him a few hours after the battle. Thus, we learn that this historical personality - who, at some point, was selected to be exhibited on the walls of the City Council Chamber, a house that ought to be a space of democratic representation - was, in fact, a state-sponsored genocidal killer.
The fact that this same City Council Chamber was a permanent target for the protest movements of 2013 is intimately linked to the first question raised at these movements' beginnings: namely, that of urban mobility. This issue has long been a problem in Rio de Janeiro, a city dominated by a cartel of bus companies. This cartel, for its part, is closely related to the way in which the urban space - with its social and biopolitical distribution - is organized in our city. In that moment, despite the diversification of demands being made by protest movements throughout Brazil, questions of how mega events lead the state to intervene in cities without any consultation of communities or of citizens gained a decisive focus. Not only in Rio de Janeiro, but also in other cities throughout Brazil, a politics of gentrification was taking hold that, at its most extreme, led to violent processes of forced evictions, in a context in which urban space was offered up to private initiatives and treated exclusively as a place for the production of profits and of surplus value.
However, as we know, the movement began initially because of an increase of 20 cents in bus fares in the city of São Paulo, which led the Free Fare Movement (Movimento do Passe Livre - MPL) to organize a protest that was then violently repressed by the São Paulo state Military Police (PM). Indignation at this repression and solidarity with the movement's demands led to a new, much larger protest in São Paulo, as well as in other cities in Brazil. From this point on, many new issues were added to the transportation demands (it's not just for 20 cents), and the protests presented strikingly exponential growth throughout the entire country.
In the case of Rio de Janeiro, part of the movement insisted on the question of bus fares, questioning the cartel that controlled the city's bus transportation and demanding the creation of a formal parliamentary inquiry (CPI) in the City Council to investigate the relationship between this cartel and the public authorities. The City Council initially rejected the inquiry, which provoked a strong reaction: it was at exactly this moment that the protest we referred to above occurred. Soon afterward, under strong pressure from the streets, council members who had refused the inquiry changed strategies and created an Inquiry Commission. However, they ensured that they themselves would control the Commission's decisions. At this same point - that is to say, soon after the intervention was carried out on the painting of Colonel Moreira César - activists occupied the Chamber, only to be removed a few days later through a judicial order.
What we want to suggest and analyze here is that an aesthetic-political intervention promoted by protestors had a greater artistic effect than the painting that suffered the intervention, even though this effect could not have happened without the painting itself contributing both the content of the portrait and the place that it occupied. We know, of course, that by the end of this text, we must clarify two things more precisely: first, what an effect of art is; and second, how the expression aesthetic-political that we have chosen to use to identify the action (or the intervention) that we are examining here is, to a certain extent, redundant.
Before advancing, however, it is worth telling another short story: in truth, it is a story of a fact that did not occur. Moved as we were by the action of activists in the Rio de Janeiro City Council Chamber, we thought - somewhat provocatively, and still without being certain of the pertinence of our idea - of suggesting that some artists might position themselves in favor of maintaining the portrait in the main hall as it remained after the intervention: in other words, with the horns drawn on the forehead of this Colonel, whose past was replete with cowardly, bloody acts. Therefore, we asked a few renowned artists what they thought of this idea; an idea that, given our own doubts, was not even a proposal yet. They immediately resisted, arguing that it would be very problematic to defend the destruction of a work of art, even though some agreed that the artistic dimension of the intervention was greater than the mediocrity of the original work. We will therefore guard these facts.
Ethos and Socius: An Aesthetic Operation
The problem that we present in the above section might already have offered clues about our thoughts regarding the field that - in a more or less generic way - can be defined as belonging to contemporary art. In fact, we are not part of the field of autonomy of the work of art or of artistic genius, even if - in the period that begins with Kant, it passes through German Romanticism, and continues until Adorno's Critical Theory - these concepts have been defined and redefined in diverse ways. Obviously, we do not ignore the creative force and the unprecedented quality of aesthetic experiences that the project of the artwork's autonomy liberated, in a sort of creative delirium. It is only that we see, for example, that when an artistic object was defined as a particular kind of sensitive being - notably in the case of painting and sculpture in the visual arts - a sort of restriction and limitation led to the exploration of these forms of artistic expression to their limits. This opened a series of sensitive experiences to us, and revealed a series of aesthetic possibilities: "making invisible forces visible," as Paul Klee defined so well (Deleuze; Guattari, 1980DELEUZE, Gilles; GUATTARI, Félix. Mille Plateux: capitalisme et schizophrénie 2 Paris: Lês Editions de Minuit , 1980., p. 422). Actually, in certain definitions, the autonomous work of art was not by any means synonymous with a pure and apolitical art, as Adorno himself emphasized; on the contrary, for Adorno, an artistic form of expression must necessarily guard its characteristics in order to intervene in the world to the best of its possibilities (Rancière, 2007RANCIÈRE, Jacques. Será que a arte resiste a alguma coisa?. In: LINS, Daniel (Org.). Nietzsche e Deleuze: arte resistência. Tradução: Mônica Costa Netto. Rio de Janeiro: Forense Universitária, 2007. P. 9. Disponível em: <Disponível em: www.sescsp.org.br/sesc/conferencias
>. Acesso em: 01 fev. 2016.
www.sescsp.org.br/sesc/conferencias... ). Aside from this, the very fact of maintaining a field of production distinct from the organization aimed at the production of merchandise - as was the case of the beginning of modernism - had its own political importance, even if, through other paths, the art produced at that time was captured by schemes of production and the accumulation of value as organized by capitalism and the state.
However, it was Marcel Duchamp, who did not even want to be called an artist - although he constantly intervened and created tension in artists' environments and in institutionalized art spaces - who spoke emphatically of the previously forgotten social character of art. This took place during a talk in which he referred specifically to painting, opposing himself to what he called the retinal dimension, which predominated in this discipline since impressionism and which, according to Duchamp, still remained in Cubism (Cabanne; Duchamp, 2002CABANNE, Pierre; DUCHAMP, Marcel. Engenheiro do Tempo Perdido. São Paulo: Perspectiva , 2002.). The invention of readymades is perhaps Duchamp's most significant aesthetic-political operation. It drags us away from the delineated spaces of artistic institutions and throws us into the heart of social relations of production, even if in Fountain - the most celebrated readymade - these are the relations that attempt to invade the heretofore immaculate space of an art exhibit. As we know, Duchamp chose a product of industrial fabrication - a urinal - changed its position, signed it with a pseudonym (R. Mutt) and baptized it as Fountain, giving it a new expressiveness and a new quality through the very act of this turning. Then, without identifying himself, he sent the piece to the Salon of the Society of Independent Artists (of which he himself was a member), which refused to exhibit it. The readymade is, in this sense, much more than an act, an action, or an object. It expresses itself through a sort of intervention in something that has presented itself as a given; in other words, in a being that supposedly has a well-delineated essence and social function. Therefore, it provokes a deterritorialization, first of this object, but also of its surroundings: of the conjunction of relationships, and of the ethos and the socius that were supposedly intrinsic to the object. This is why we can refer to it, in a somewhat redundant way, as a readymade-act. It is an action that, in the case of Fountain, is characterized by an intervention, a deconstruction, and a deterritorialization of the exhibition space itself. It was as though a strange force had invaded that space, as was the case of the Mangueira samba school, which Hélio Oiticica tried to have parade through the Rio de Janeiro Modern Art Museum (MAM) in 1965, although his attempt was impeded by the directorship of that institution. In this case, however, we are not speaking of any prosaic object, but rather of a sort of "minor art" for artistic institutions. Beyond the lineage of the history of art, the samba school seemed to Oiticica to be especially potent for demolishing the limits of that institution. In spite of their clear differences, Oiticica is comparable to Duchamp because he perceives very well how the delineation of the work of art and the artistic object leaves out a series of aesthetic possibilities. The samba school was something that already resisted these predetermined places of the social relations of production, since the samba school itself produced a powerful effect of art. Samba was the art of those who, according to the status quo, ought not to make art. But there is also a third aspect: beyond redefining object and space, Duchamp redefined art itself by inserting - among objects that represented the presumptions of what ought to be considered art - a prosaic object; in other words, an apparently banal piece of the world of industrial products and merchandise. In the same movement in which the urinal becomes - to a certain extent - art (even if Duchamp no longer wanted to be called an artist and was rejecting the artistic object), the institutional space in which Fountain was to be presented (and from which it was refused) began to implode. For us, this is exactly where the act that we call throwing art back to the world resides: in an act that was radicalized by other Dadaist experiments, as well as by initiatives that, some decades later, took up this type of action once again.
Duchamp threw art back to a world that, in point of fact, art itself had never left. This is not only because, even in high modernism - and even among some of the movements that preceded it, were part of it, or coexisted with it - the separation between industrial production and artistic production were not taken as a presumption, as in Arts and Crafts or the Bauhaus (Rancière, 2010RANCIÈRE, Jacques. Política da Arte. Urdimento: Revista de Estudos de Artes Cênicas do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Teatro da UESC, Florianópolis, n. 15, p. 51, 2010. Disponível em: <Disponível em: www.sescsp.org.br/sesc/conferencias
>. Acesso em: 01 fev. 2016.
www.sescsp.org.br/sesc/conferencias... ). It is especially because the world has always been, or perhaps can only exist, as an effect of art. But here, we must exercise caution, so as not to return to the point from which we intend to depart. That is, if we arrive at some sort of a definition that sets art in the place of a founder, we will inadvertently bring ourselves closer to some of the presumptions of German Romanticism - decisive for certain definitions of the autonomy of art - which the artistic experiences that interest us have broken. The movement that interests us, on the contrary, is of going in the direction of that which, in life, is inexorably aesthetic, without letting this quality serve as an affirmation of any type of transcendence. In other words, we are not here to place Art (written in this solemn way, with an uppercase "A") in a transcendent place similar to that in which Western rationalism places Reason: namely, a transcendence opposed to the body and to the senses, which this same Western rationalism takes to be epistemologically mistaken, morally negligible instances. We are not, however, exalting any special type of human, whether the Philosopher or the Artist, the latter of whom - along with the supposed artistic genius of German Romanticism - is taken to have the natural gift of mediating between the finite and infinite8 2 In this text, specifically in reference to the thought of the romantic philosopher Friedrich Schlegel, the Brazilian philosopher and critic Gerd Bornheim (2005, p. 93) writes: "[...] the artist, the poet, becomes a sort of priest for men, because he is the one who best manages to make the finite communicate with the infinite." (Bornheim, 2005BORNHEIM, Gerd. A Filosofia do Romantismo. In: GUINSBURG, Jacob (Org.) O Romantismo. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 2005. P. 75-111.), thereby assuming a place previously designated for philosophers; even if, paradoxically, it was philosophers who created the conceptual character of the genius.
However, our movement here is toward immanence. If art or aesthetics are words that still interest us, it is because we are simultaneously beyond and within any sort of autonomy of works of art and artistic objects, and any special distinction of the people who ought to be considered as artists. For us, aesthetics is like a condition in which we find ourselves, since we constitute ourselves beginning with our bodies and the relations that they establish with other bodies. However, more than this, and before this somewhat anthropocentric centrality that makes us organize a world for ourselves and around ourselves - we humans- there is a sort of body behind our bodies, a material that has not yet taken shape and that will be part of the very organization of bodies, of the relations they establish among themselves, and of the socius and ethos that they create for themselves.
Therefore, the mode in which Deleuze and Guattari avail themselves of the Duchampian concept of the readymade calls our attention. They take the turn that the Dadaist carries out on the urinal, thereby requalifying it, as a decisive action not only for the formation of what they call a block of sensations - which, in a general way, is how they define art - but also for the constitution of a ritornello, understood as a territory: that is, as the ethos to which we have already referred. It is material that is therefore qualified - or re-qualified - and gains expressiveness. In this way, Duchamp's readymade, taken as an act, is - as he himself defined - something that has to do with all artistic experiences, and not only those experiences that take place merely within the field of contemporary art. For example, in order to make a painting, a painter must first obtain a tube or can of paint. But paint, in a general sense, is a material of prosaic use: we paint our houses and our cars; we dye our clothes. The painter therefore carries out a turn upon the paint - re-qualifying it and transforming it into expressive material - in order to create a painting. In this sense, the paint is the painter's readymade. Or, better yet: by pulling paints away from their prosaic, more or less predictable functions, the painter undertakes a readymade act.
For Deleuze and Guattari (1991DELEUZE, Gilles. GUATTARI, Félix. Qu'est-ce que la Philosophie? Paris: Lês Editions de Minuit , 1991.), the readymade establishes a new field of forces and a new territory. For them, therefore, it is not the flesh9 3 In relation to Sartre, Merleau-Ponty seems to have taken a position in search of immanence that negates emptiness, and, consequently, negating negativity and placing flesh in this sort of ontological place that inaugurates perception. However, for Deleuze and Guattari, he continues to maintain transcendence by making his mole's work in immanence, when he affirms that there is a difference between the my flesh and the flesh of things. (Furlan, 2011FURLAN, Reinaldo. Carne ou Afecto: fronteiras entre Merleau-Ponty e Deleuze-Guattari. Revista Dois Pontos, Curitiba/São Carlos, v. 8, n. 22, p. 99-130, 2011.), as a certain phenomenology would have it, but rather this house - this ethos - that is decisive in constituting the experience of a sensation. For Deleuze and Guattari, the organization of a territory through a sort of collection of forces that are in the cosmos - whether amorphous or as shapes to be redefined (as Duchamp did with his Fountain) - is the creation of an effect of art. At the same time, it also constitutes this sort of world: a world that we create for ourselves. The ethos is formed, then, in an artistic operation that, before being described by humans, is described by the authors among animals. Art is therefore present in an animal that creates a mark, a standard or a flag for itself: a territorial sign (Deleuze; Guattari, 1980DELEUZE, Gilles; GUATTARI, Félix. Mille Plateux: capitalisme et schizophrénie 2 Paris: Lês Editions de Minuit , 1980.). This is why Deleuze and Guattari raise that hypothesis that, among humans, architecture is the first of the arts (Deleuze; Guattari, 1991DELEUZE, Gilles. GUATTARI, Félix. Qu'est-ce que la Philosophie? Paris: Lês Editions de Minuit , 1991.). But it is important for us to ask until what point we can identify ethos with socius, as we did a short while ago. In fact, to a certain extent, socius is like a territory, a world that we organize for ourselves. It is, to a certain extent, our house. And since all of this theoretical discussion relates to an aesthetic-political intervention that took place in the midst of a city's political struggles, we can identify the city itself as this ethos, given that the city is also a block of sensations. Carrying this logic further, the city is, in and of itself, an effect of art.
However, when Deleuze and Guattari speak of the constitution of socius, it appears in a somewhat distant manner from what we have just done. It remains, however, an eminently aesthetic operation; that is, an operation that pertains to bodies. Both authors read Nietzsche's second essay on the Genealogy of Morals10 4 Deleuze and Guattari have a disquieting reading of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals, which they describe, in the chapter "Savages, Barbarians, Civilized Men" of Anti-Oedipus, as "the great book of modern ethnography." (Deleuze; Guattari, 1972, p. 225). (Deleuze; Guattari, 1972DELEUZE, Gilles; GUATTARI, Félix. L'Anti-OEdipe: capitalisme et schizophrénie 1Paris: Lês Editions de Minuit, 1972. , p. 225), in which he describes, as an ethnographer, the process of the formation of socius in a more acute way than had ever taken place in the history of philosophy.
For Nietzsche, the aesthetic operation that constitutes socius articulates itself with the constitution of morals that, for their part, articulate themselves with the creation of a memory that exercises the function of consciousness. It is a process of marking and inscribing bodies that functions as a registry to condition them, because it codifies the desiring production (Deleuze and Guattari's concept) that characterizes bodies. Nietzsche called this process the internalization of the instinct, at times using the word instinct, at other times, the word trieb. A short time afterward, Freud also used trieb, which is often translated in his works as pulsation. For Deleuze and Guattari (1972), this internalization of instinct occurs through the codification of flows of the desire that - in marking bodies - contains within itself a series of productive potentialities and possibilities that it directs and potentializes toward well-delineated social functions. This determining of social functions, which Marx called distribution, becomes - following Nietzsche - a process that takes place through the operation of inscribing bodies. This binds us to a sense, to an order of causalities, given that our action is conditioned by a debt; in other words, it is tied to a memory, to a consciousness created from the codification of our desiring flows. Thus, for Nietzsche - in contrast to the plans of a significant part of ethnography - the socius is not formed with an eye toward social exchange, but toward a debt. This is decisive for Deleuze and Guattari's political thought: this debt will assume distinct shapes in different modes of social organization, and it will determine the mode in which social relations and exchanges occur.
We begin here with the impression of facing two distinct aesthetics. The first one constitutes a territory, an ethos, through the appropriation of materials, and therefore, of bodies that become matter of expression even if they are not necessarily masterpieces; they contain earlier modes of expressiveness that have been transformed, as in the readymades. In other words, this first aesthetic is described from the point of view of a creative repotentialization, of a creation, of inventiveness. The effect of art is created through the selection and reorganization of forces of the cosmos (or, as Guattari would have it, the "Chaosmos") in order to create this territory; an ethos that functions as a block of sensations. Meanwhile, the second - although it carries a description that presents us with a process that is also evidently aesthetic - seems to account for something that is characterized much more by focusing on the body in a painful, even violent way, so as to contain it and separate it from its capacities (Nietzsche even relates a series of processes of punishment). However, qualifying and giving expression to a body is to potentialize it, to produce it as a producer, to create it, all the while moving it away from certain potentials. At the same time, marking a body and codifying it also implies potentializing its productive force in a determined direction. Thus, ethos and socius constitute themselves within a balancing act between production and unproduction: between potential and impotence.
The Productive, Political City: Aesthetics
We take up the city, then, as both a socius and an ethos. We consider that the process of a city's formation is, in this sense, as much aesthetic as it is political, given that everything that we have said until now allows us to consider an ethical and political operational as being, invariably, an aesthetic operation. In other words, we do not work according to a determined reading of the Frankfurt School, which describes the aestheticization of power as something negative. On the contrary, we think that if politics, taken as the very organization of socius (and, therefore, as the organization of production) is invariably aesthetic, aesthetic combat - like a political combat - exists to be locked down. The lack of attention that the bulk of political activism pays to this fact not only leads it to a series of political defeats, but also to the emptying out of its potential for political transformation, inasmuch as it becomes imprisoned to a certain monophony. In other words, it becomes imprisoned to regimes of majoritarian signs, generally determined by the logic of the signified/signifier; that is, by an absolute belief in the word as a sort of superior sign: an extreme logocentrism.
Politics and the city, as we know, become confused. It is not our intention here to construct a genealogy of the logocentric politics that has triumphed in the West or, better yet, of an apparently logocentric hegemony. This is because constituted powers know very well - and esoterically - how to use diverse semiotics, and, therefore, diverse aesthetics. However, we cannot go without recalling episodes such as those that Jacques Rancière needed to cite in order to speak of the sharing of what is sensitive. Here, we refer as much to the famous expulsion of artists - most notably, of poets - from the Republic conceived by Plato as to the law, held for many years in the ancient Greek polis, determining that artisans were not fit for political activity. Such fear of the figure of artist, along with subsequent attempts to delegitimize this figure, appear to us to be clear proof, in and of themselves, that the Greeks perceived artists' activities to be eminently political. In other words, they understood very well both the aesthetic dimension of politics and the political dimension of the arts.
The city is therefore a decisive question for us, both in this impressive liberation of productive flows that characterizes capitalism, but also in the reversal of these flows that is typical of this form of the social relation of production; that is, in the implacable manner in which capitalism captures, qualitatively empties, and reduces production to form-merchandise, the city emerges as the great staging ground of this dispute. We must therefore consider that the city, as Antonio Negri emphasizes, becomes the great contemporary space of capitalist production, substituting a production heretofore concentrated on the factory floor (Negri, 2010NEGRI, Antonio. Dispositivo Metrópole. A Multidão e a Metrópole. Revista Lugar Comum, Rio de Janeiro, n. 25-26, p. 201-208, 2010., p. 201). But it is for this reason that the city is also the great space of the major contemporary social struggles. Henri Lefebvre perceived this reality well in his meaningful and powerful writings on The Right to the City (Lefebvre, 2001), in which he locates the city and urban space as central stages of the collision of different political and aesthetic narratives.
Lefebvre's importance becomes clear when he develops a study of the Paris Commune, published in 1962, thereby entering into conflict with the orthodoxy of the French Communist Party (PCF) for having been inspired, to a certain extent, by the theses of the Situationist Movement11 5 A group of intellectuals and artists who founded the International Situationist, defending a revolutionary vision of art and an absolutely aesthetic reading of politics. The French thinker Guy Debord was among the group's leadership. The Situationists played an important role in the events of May, 1968 in Paris. In a general sense, they defended the creation of revolutionary situations instead of traditional forms of struggle. These situations took place through aesthetic-artistic interventions, derives, happenings, and other strategies that would cause a certain shock (such as posters, graffiti, and specific chants). The Situationists were also characterized by their discussion of the capitalist city, in opposition to urbanism as it has been structured in modernism; this discussion resulted in a series of actions and interventions in the city, of which the derive has become the best known. . In a traditional form, the PCF understood that the avant-garde force for revolutionary transformation must reside with the factory-based proletariat, rather than urban workers, as the latter were different in their class formation. They were fragmented and divided; had multiple aspirations and necessities; they were generally itinerant, much more disorganized, and fluid.
Currently, the city is configured far beyond any one of these forms of expressions of social production. Even if we can still characterize these forms as projections of the reality of a society upon a geographical territory "at the same one and the same time the place and the milieu, the theatre and the stake of these complex interactions." (Lefebvre, 1996LEFEBVRE, Henri. Writings on Cities. Translated and edited by Eleonore Kaufman and Elizabeth Lebas. Blackwell Publishers: Malden, USA, 1996., p. 105), doing so promotes transformations in everyday life that modify urban reality in a radical way. "[...] the city is an oeuvre, closer to a work of art than to a simple material product." (Lefebvre, 1996, p. 101); that is, it is a mediation among mediations, between people and social groupings that carry out this work in historical conditions, and that produce the city through the conjunctional interactions - whether conflictive or not - of social relations.
It is with the rise of industries, Lefebvre says, that cities pass through profound morphological transformations. The installation of factories - as a function of the search for a work force, for capital, and for the market itself - together with the processes of industrialization in the areas surrounding cities, were agents of the implosion of bygone political and commercial content, emptying out that potency. As a consequence, the explosion of peripheries and marginalized ranks of the city accrued through the effervescence of everyday factory-based relations. From this double process of implosion-explosion, the generalization of relations based on the value of exchange in relation to the value of use was established, the direct effect of which was the substitution of jobs (production) for product (merchandise). Therefore, from among these contradictions provoked by the process of industrialization, a new reality emerges: the reality of the urban space.
For Lefebvre, urbanism becomes social practice; "[...] planning has gone beyond partial techniques and applications (regulation and administration of built space) to become a social practice concerning and of interest to the whole of society" (Lefebvre, 1996, p. 96). Within the problematics of the city, urbanism is the (ideological) doctrine that "[...] was born of the superstructure of society into which structures entered a certain type of city" (Lefebvre, 1996, p 98). It is interesting to perceive that the form-city that inscribes itself through the superstructure of the capitalist mode of production takes its liberal/positivist model from two aspects of urbanism: the mental and the social.
Mentally, it implies a theory of rationality and organization whose expression dates from around 1910, a transformation in contemporary society (characterized by the beginning of a deep crisis and attempts to resolve it by organizational methods, firstly the scale of the firm, and then on a global scale). It is then that socially the notion of space comes to the fore, relegating into shadow time and becoming. Planning as ideology formulates all the problems of society into questions of space and transposes all that comes from history and consciousness into spatial terms (Lefebvre, 1996LEFEBVRE, Henri. Writings on Cities. Translated and edited by Eleonore Kaufman and Elizabeth Lebas. Blackwell Publishers: Malden, USA, 1996., p. 98-99).
Through urbanism, the city takes on the ability to be conceived of as a normalizing, harmonious space; in counterpoint, it has a capacity of discerning what the production of any space is, or which spaces ought to be harmonious and normal. "The city and the urban cannot be understood without institutions springing from relations of class and property." (Lefebvre, 1996LEFEBVRE, Henri. Writings on Cities. Translated and edited by Eleonore Kaufman and Elizabeth Lebas. Blackwell Publishers: Malden, USA, 1996., p. 106). The city and the urban space are projections and practices of the relation between society and the state. These, in turn, are relations of conflicts and contradictions based on hierarchical social organization; of the despotic continuities of the inheritances of the elites; of the political-administrative ascension in the interior of the state; or perhaps in following the mantra of meritocracy, however difficult this may be. But within the city - itself a construction and result of heterotopias - and within the urban space, discontinuities and irruptions also operate: in everyday life, in the existence in and making of the city, they inscribe modes of life that decentralize and irrupt in aspirations, desires, and wills toward the reconstruction and reformulation of social organization. They present themselves, with certain radicalism, in the context of streets, plazas, and throughout the urban space, in such a way as to interfere in political processes,
[...] delineat[ing] liminal social spaces of possibility where "some thing different" is not only possible, but foundational for the defining of revolutionary trajectories. This "something different" does not neces sarily arise out of a conscious plan, but more simply out of what people do, feel, sense, and come to articulate as they seek meaning in their daily lives (Harvey, 2012HARVEY, David. Rebel Cities: from the right to the city to the urban revolution. London: Verso, 2012., p. 18).
However, with the city of Rio de Janeiro's immersion into a planning aimed toward the market and by the market, following the neoliberal cartel with policies of revitalizing degraded areas - policies that intensified with the arrival of mega events (the World Cup and the Olympics) - the phenomenon of gentrification began to arise, expelling entire families from so-called "degraded" areas and their surrounding regions. The creation of the model of Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) is an example of the control of bodies and of the modes of life that remained in the city's favelas and peripheries, and that, therefore, demanded surveillance. It is not by chance that the great majority of UPPs are allocated to the tops of the city's hills, like guard towers in a prison; or that, through this model of security, a "watched" freedom is imposed on the life, and the political and aesthetic practices of these regions.
However, the city is, in and of itself, an arena of disputes, of focal points of resistance, and of the revolts that irrupt and inscribe themselves on urban surfaces. These are heterogeneous, transversal, multiple modes of resistance that establish, first and foremost, their own constitution as social subjects in relation to the organization of work, of social divisions, and of the production of the city. They include movements for the right to living space, ranging from the Homeless Workers' Movement (MTST) and the Movement for Struggle in Neighborhoods, Villas, and Favelas (MLB) to the National Movement for the Struggle for Living Space (MNLM); movements for the democratization of transit and for free fares, such as the Free Fare Movement (MPL); the World Cup and Olympics Popular Committee; the "Mothers of May" movement; the Youngsters' Movement (MovimentoMoleque); the Rio de Janeiro State Forum for Youth; as well as the taggers, performance artists, and video artists who act throughout the urban space and the streets, among others.
It seems to us that movements and struggles for the Right to the City - this force of urban workers, in the context of contemporary capitalism - are places of redefining power. These redefinitions pass through a transformation that imposes itself on traditional institutions of representation within political struggles, even - or perhaps especially - among those institutions that take up a discourse for more profound reforms or social transformations. Here, we are most interested in investigating the extent to which this combat is aesthetic, and the extent to which it intervenes in a conception of the city conceived of by a bourgeoisie that, sooner or later, needed to enter into a political pact with the proletariat (in its classical conception). Among the institutions of political representation, members of the bourgeoisie had their seats, and their suit-and-tie-wearing congressmen; they frequented those magnificent buildings, participating in and helping to fetishize that ritualistic milieu. The very notion - so beloved on the left - of a class consciousness slipped into a morals of work that subjectifies bodies, imposes strict hours, and subjects form-businesses in a biopolitical way. However, if work and production in general have been freed from the factory floor, if the very circulation through the city is immediately a question of production, this inevitably implies that other political aesthetics are at work, given that we are already faced with another organization of the socius: with another politics. Thus, the palaces of representation, in both a literal and metaphoric sense, become strangers in new given social relations. These relations, for their part, may be new, but they are not, as a result, less capitalistic. They therefore bring with them new forms of power and control, as well as new forms of producing surplus value:
When we say that this new force of labor cannot be defined within a dialectic relation, what we mean is that the relation it has with capital is not only antagonistic: it is also beyond antagonism. It is an alternative to and constitutive of a different social reality. This antagonism presents itself as a form of constituting power that reveals itself to be an alternative to existing forms of power. The alternative is the oeuvre of independent subjects; that is, it constitutes itself in the plane of potency, and not only power (Lazzarato; Negri, 2001LAZZARATO, Maurizio; NEGRI, Antonio. Trabalho Imaterial: formas de vida e produção de subjetividade. Rio de Janeiro: DP&A, 2001., p. 36).
It is not by chance that the movement and the specific act to which we refer needed to intervene in these palaces, which they occupied multiple times. It is not by chance that these changes in the organization of production, which are aesthetical and political in and of themselves, generated new forms of political struggles: new forms of occupying and of performing the street that opposed the antiquated aesthetics of street protests led by political parties and unions.
Thinking of the Fact
How and when a determined scheme of actions, with all its choreography and foreseen discourses, will manifest, extravagantly, the aesthetic condition that underlies the human condition - which perhaps is a pre-human dimension - will always be a irreducible surprise within any inventory of senses. The political protest in which the invasion of the City Council Chamber took place, and that left, as its most meaningful traces, the horns on the counter-example of the hero - the bloody cutthroat Colonel - may be considered to be an example of a collective action whose operations obey an a priori known script. This is applicable even in terms of the reactions of the always foreseen pushback of repression and violence at the hands of the police. However, within this dance, no matter how unchoreographed it may be in advance, there will be another unknown dance that unnerves the visible dance. This dance will not always manifest itself eloquently, but it will oftentimes be decisive in the aesthetic event in progress. We think that the example of a dance, specifically of a collective dance, is the most useful example here as we once again take up the movement of an enormous contingent of teachers at the protests, accompanied by thousands of supporters in their claims and their demands. This is especially because the form of the protests, like the majority of this type of action throughout the world, occurs through a certain type of movement: it vibrates with a determined, established sound, and mixes discontent and joy in an almost indiscernible form. We will note here, however, that in this type of act, there is always a contagion of a force within the collective body that fulminates the surface of the protest in unforeseen intensities. In fact, in many of the actions and events that we saw during the protests of 2013, this aspect overflowed in a notable way. It consisted, truth be told, of a new form of performing political activism, with a distinct aesthetic that pointed us toward a politics beyond the field delineated by previously existing politics. In other words, it moved beyond the repetitive and moribund rituals of the established forms of political representation that not only do not succeed, but that organize themselves in order to turn back against the social expressivity that comes from outside of palaces and constituted powers.
As in a clandestine dance that subverts, here and there, its planned choreography - which, for some analysts, is a manifestation of the multitude's irrational nature - we prefer to characterize this movement as liberation from the imposition of a disciplinary pattern of behavior through the reintroduction of the collective body. This body constitutes the greatest threat to capitalist operations and their resources of control and order, of which the structures of political representation are especially exemplary. Without extending our digression, it is worth recalling that capitalism's success depends on the evermore acute nature of individualism. Therefore, the collective body that amalgamates socius and ethos is a body that ought to be avoided and repressed when it manifests itself, to whatever extent is viable. Nothing is more threatening, apparently, then breaking with the reason that is fine-tuned within the individual so as to create another body sparked by unforeseeable aesthetic potencies, a body absolutely deaf to the admonitions and commands generated in the individual's frequency. A notably fascinating aspect of collective manifestations of public protest is the recuperation of the fragmented body, and the consequent expression of its inexorably aesthetic base condition. The repressed tribal body (Maffesoli, 2006MAFFESOLI, Michel. O Tempo das Tribos: o declínio do individualismo. São Paulo: Florence Universitária, 2006.), when it is extorted to manifest itself, arises as an ungovernable nomad, subverting the very logic of political planning generated and justified on a rational plan. We maintain that it is important to think about what underlies the adhesion to the multitude beyond plausible and evident arguments. In other words, we aim to reflect on the force that acts clandestinely together with political motivation in calling out to the collective, as well as in the eventual invasion of one space or another. This force underlies all transgression: it comes into being when the irreducibly physical participation of an incarnate body recuperates as a body gigantically greater than the rational, individual ordination that results from one exposition of motives or another. The individual, diluted in the nerve of the insurgent multitude, will face new possibilities of aesthetic experience, and of the consequent creation within the order of the poetic. The hands that drew the horns on the Colonel, before belonging to the individual who carried out the act, belonged to a giant body, a body without frontiers, a body whose physical plasticity is as unlimited as its creative force.
We observe, then, that one of the traces that this invasive multitude left is as expressive as it is enigmatic. As controversial as the denomination of "artwork" may be for the work in question, the intervention that it underwent - in an unauthorized act, and in the midst of a popular protest - generated a certain degree of reservation and perplexity. This is especially the case in academic areas dedicated to Arts, culture, and related areas.
It may be interesting to mention, at this point, what happened in the city of Vitória, the capital of the state of Espírito Santo, during the same protests in 2013. This mention comes to us through the narrative of a research group in the Arts program at Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES) called the Conjunctive Plan of Spatialities (PLACE). This group did not remain restricted to academic spaces; instead, it acted as a collective for artistic intervention (Oliveira; Ribeiro; Lopes; Melo; Riguete, 2013OLIVEIRA, Silfarlem de; RIBEIRO, Gisele; LOPES, Diego Kern; MELO, Jéssica Magalhães; RIGUETE, Heitor. Re-ação: Abraço. Revista do Colóquio de Arte e Pesquisa do PPGA-UFES, Vitória, v. 3, n. 5, p. 222-234, 2013.)12 6 Further information and a deeper reflection about the event, including the action/intervention of the artist-researchers involved, can be found in this text. The research group, which in this case was also a collective for aesthetic-political invention, is called the Conjunct Plan of Spacialities - PLACE, within the Art and Politics research area (CAr/UFES) . Like so many other capital cities throughout Brazil, Vitória was the stage for dozens of protests, many of which were brutally repressed by the police; in turn, protestors often reacted to and resisted this repression. In a certain moment, these protestors occupied the state's Legislative Assembly and used the painting The Resurrection of Lazarus, by the painter Levino Fanzeres, as a barricade. Soon thereafter, in a protest that reached Anchieta Palace - an architectural conjuncture that is the seat of state government - protestors, facing strong police repression, decapitated a sculpture, The Boy and the Dolphin, by the sculptors Pedro and Fernando Gianordoli. They also damaged the staircase, as well as several of the palace's windows. Police repression of protestors resulted in injuries caused by rubber bullets, nightsticks, stun grenades, tear gas, and pepper spray, in addition to the detention or arrest of 71 people.
In response to these protests, the Union of Professional Fine Artists of the State of Espírito Santo promoted the "Embrace Against Vandalism Act", during which the union president declared that the worst injury sustained during the protests was suffered by the fine arts. In reaction to this declaration, certain members of the aforementioned research group organized an intervention called Re-Action: Embrace, in which they stamped the word patrimony on the bodies of artists, activists, and protestors in general; especially on their arms, as though these might function as shields. This action alluded clearly to the commotion of the local artists' union, acting in chorus with the state's largest communications corporation (TV Gazeta, affiliated with Rede Globo)13 7 A seemingly monolithic television conglomerate that dominates the majority of the Brazilian broadcast market. (T. N.) and with constituted powers in general, in response to the damage, or supposed damage, caused to cultural patrimony during the protests.
The extent to which the hegemonic notion of public cultural patrimony is confluent with bourgeois values - values that reflect the naturalization of this bourgeoisie imposing its own aesthetics and tastes - is clear. This is the case no matter how unsustainable these aesthetics and tastes have become, and in spite of the circulation of the studies, such as those used throughout this text, that explains how the urban project and its agenda implicate themselves in the relations of the inhabitants of its physical and symbolic spaces. In the midst of the values, naturalized over time, that sustain the bourgeois program for the city resides the idea that the values dear to a certain dominant group will be recognized and preserved by the entire population that lives or survives in the city. This is how all kinds of predatory exploitation of public spaces by governments, generally aligned with private interests, take place: through a faith postulated in the aesthetic values of a city constantly renewed by façade-events and possibilities for embezzling profits. However, the logic of unvalued people within this programmed process stalls the city's machinery with every manifestation of its images and every reverberation of its sounds. Even when these manifestations and reverberations are continually erased, edited, captured, or silenced by the city government, they reactivate themselves at any given opportunity. Graffiti tags of the urban epidermis add themselves to homeless peoples' performances, which contaminate multitudes in protests, which in turn cause injury, here and there, to the swindling elegance of the city enslaved by and to events. In a time thoroughly crossed over by the incommensurable harassment of visual images, the traces left by multitudes or by their individual members - whether in the streets' exteriority or in public buildings' interiority, whether in the opportune anonymity of restrooms or the daring conquest of an old painting in a high-class space, such as in the galleries and salons of the Rio de Janeiro City Council Chamber - offer elucidating clues as to the aesthetic potency that surpasses all normatizations of the pretentious commercial and political environment of the arts. Likewise, they impose a re-dimensioning of those contemporary artworks granted to the public space. After all, the murderous Colonel resisted time through the same ideological mechanisms and through the same regimes of truth that sustained the infamous relationship between a certain conception of art and the market. Therefore, the horns left on the front of the murderous soldier do more than demonize, derisively, this character that was almost lost to time. They signal, in the first place, the impossibility of establishing power over the city. But they also make clear that the victory of the multitude in protest cannot be measured through officially conquered gains, but rather through the event of being together in reordering the spaces and values of art and the city, and of the interchange of one within the other, no matter how provisory this may seem.
Thus, the situation exposed through the protestors' action on the painting configures a scene, a state of almost caricaturist violence, which leads us to an example of the effect of art. The municipal parliamentary building is a space that ought to be public, a place of the city's political representation. Here, the enunciations of power that are usually produced in the semiotic operation of erecting palaces full of art - frescos, paintings, sculptures, railings, windows - in a resourceful administration, and through the capture of equally resourceful creative flows, become surplus value for the state: they wind up opening wide the bloody violence of this state on the extreme periphery of capitalism. Even if it is difficult, today, to hold up as a constant reference that old capitalist division between center and periphery, it is exactly what this building contains in terms of historical contents and patrimony that unleashes the horror of a past that insists on marking us physically. This is a past that follows us and marks us through daily violence exercised by the state and/or by proto- and para-state power, both macro- and micropolitical. In point of fact, through forms that are often, but not always, different from what occurs in capitalist countries in the Global North - which guarantee the production of surplus value through a profusion of productive flows that generate a truly aesthetic inflation - we in Brazil have often been victims of the worst types of violence. These types of violence impede many of these same productive/creative flows, so that only a few might persist. It is true that, today, one cannot say that there is a reduced number of productive flows in Brazil to the same extent that there was in the period that preceded our industrialization. However, to a certain extent, a notable violence still exists that acts against the series of movements of subjective and objective production that occur beyond the oligarchies that insist on not losing their political and economic control. In capitalism's central countries, this creative/productive profusion manifests in an exemplary form within the so-called fine arts. These, in turn, are part of a paradigm and expression of the intensification of social production to its limits; in other words, of the decodification and liberation of flows of desire that singularize the capitalist socius in relation to what came before it. The fine arts have been objects for both material and libidinal stockpiling: a seminal act of the state that thereby constitutes a sort of semiotic surplus value, an encoded surplus value of itself. In this way, these forms of the vainglorious pride of the bourgeoisie and of its people are assembled in a skillful semiotic construction of identitary symbols of the people of the state in its cities and its palaces. And, as we have known since Hobbes, the people are constituted when subjects relinquish their singularities in the name of a transcendent instance, such as the state, or sovereignty. However, in countries like Brazil, and some of its neighbors, this condition appears to suffer a type of exhaustion, a type of weakness that - paradoxically and tragically (in the most joyful sense of the word) - might even be freeing to us, or at least might reveal something.
We have no doubt that something pathetic was encrusted in the painting of the Colonel, even before he had horns scribbled on his head. To begin, we might consider that, as in any capital of or any city in a modern, Western country, the building that houses the Rio de Janeiro City Council Chamber was built in search of the usual equation of modernity. Which is to say, a public building (or would it merely be a palace of the state, or of power?) is equal to artistic-cultural patrimony. However, as soon as the painting, supposedly so historically and culturally valuable, was installed in the heart of the palace, it revealed something that might horrify even the good manners - the good culture and the good education - of those who worked for this sort of theologization of art as part of the sacrilization and reification of power14 8 Here, Benjamin relates the emergence of theories that defend art for art's sake as a reaction to the emergence of the first technique of reproduction that, for him, is truly revolutionary: in other words, photography. According to Benjamin, art foresaw the emergence of a crisis here, and it reacted to this threat by creating what, for Benjamin, would be a theology of art, a theology that spread into a negative theology, rejecting all social functions of art. (Benjamin, 1994BENJAMIN, Walter. A Obra de Arte na Era da Reprodutibilidade Técnica. In: BENJAMIN, Walter. Magia e Técnica, Arte e Política. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1994. P. 165-196.). This is because the personality, the historical figure chosen to be painted, portrayed, and exhibited on the walls of the municipal legislative house, was (or is) that of a colonel personably responsible for commanding the massacre of two popular uprisings; for overriding all laws, and all of the most basic principles of democratic rights; and for ordering and committing cruel tortures and executions against rebels with his own hands. The action of the political activists who scribbled horns on the soldier's face - and who probably did not know the historical figure portrayed on that painting deconstructs the semiotic operation that, in Brazil, as in all modern nations, constructs the aforementioned relation between power (especially the symbolic headquarters of power) and artistic historical patrimony. However, it also highlights the failure of this operation, which already resided in the fact that a state-sponsored genocidal killer, a coldblooded murder, had been chosen to be exhibited in what ought to be the headquarters of democratic representation. It is in this sense that we see a tragic element through which - as is typical of tragedy - a violent and destructive force can free for itself a potential for inventiveness and social re-creation.
The horns, in this sense, served as a sort of readymade produced by the protestors. This was also the case with Duchamp's urinal, which ought to have been part of an installation, was subsequently refused, but that nevertheless succeeded in carrying out an intervention in this institutional space of art. The tracing on the portrait of the Colonel, painted by an Italian artist, reveals how a certain ethos organizes itself as a cliché: as a closed sensory-motor scheme, a bond of predefined and well-determined sensations and signs. We see this in the monumentality of the building; in the repetitive vocabulary, closed in on itself, of the political rhetoric of the mechanisms of representation; in the way in which both of these aspects compose the aesthetic structure, including aspects of semiotics; and in the rituals of instances in which political power, as in ancient magical rites, makes its decisions - its truths and its sentences -appear at the rites' end.
There can be no doubt that a palace of arts - like a building of power, or a cultural patrimony as a headquarters of the state - produces, in and of itself, an effect of art. Here, we know very well what potency and creative freedom are necessary to bring these into existence. This potency and freedom take on distinct forms of expression that are joined in these spaces, no matter how autonomized they might be. In fact, even modernist painting, which is quite distinct from a portrait of an historical personality; even sculptures such as those by Rodin or Brancusi, which were not made to occupy these palaces; and even sculptures in the amplified field, and the installation of contemporary art have, in many cases, come to accessorize these beautiful, monumental - not to say splendid - houses of power. And our exaggeration of these adjectives is intentional: it exalts all of this patrimony, which is to say that all of us have so often experienced the inventiveness contained herein; every one of us who, in conjunction, wrote this text.
We recall, inevitably, Michel Foucault's reflection, and the perspicacious way with which he saw that diverse forms of power cannot resist for long if they are not capable of producing the most diverse forms of pleasure, or of making these forms of pleasure available. In fact, the state intimidates not only through horror, but also through the sublime sensations that it is capable of providing and that - especially in relation to capitalist production - pass through its management, through a process of capturing, through the aforementioned stockpiling of artistic production, and through the fomenting of this production. This, in turn, may generate dangerous and much-welcome lines of flight. It is not by chance that Deleuze comments that religious painting, in its most varied searches for the body of Christ, manages to be more profane than even modernist painting hoped to be.
The artistic intervention, the aesthetical-political action of the activists who drew the horn on the front of Colonel Moreira César, the genocidal Cutthroat Colonel - was the reversal of marvels and of intimidating horror: it was an effect of art in the inverse sense provided by the palace and by the painting. This opportune action took place in the midst of a city where the reality of mega events makes the most contemporary dispositifs of surveillance and security increasingly constant components of the violent actions of police authorities, especially the Military Police. These authorities are so barely civilized that they seem to take figures like Colonel Moreira as their inspiration.
The revelation of a genocidal killer in a space of representation - meaning a space where, theoretically, the political and social production of the city ought to converge - clearly reveals, thanks to an artistic intervention, not only that mechanisms against democracy are born from the very heart of political representation, but also that all of this aesthetic monumentality projects itself against the city. The equation that we see in Rio de Janeiro is both curious and reckless. Palaces of the arts and sciences arise, like the infamous Museum of Tomorrow on Praça Mauá; the authorities do not even need to construct headquarters of political power in order to exercise the functions of the state. These buildings project themselves, in a sort of performative architecture, onto one of the regions of the city undergoing the most violent gentrification. A few years before, also on Praça Mauá, while some artists drank sparkling wine with the most powerful local and national politicians, hundreds of police, including some riot squads, impeded artistic collectives from carrying out their interventions. This was the inauguration of the Rio Museum of Art (MAR). We are faced with an art that is not merely ornamental: it is also a foundation of the shock of order15 9 "Shock of Order" is municipal public improvement program in Rio de Janeiro. Modeled on "zero tolerance" initiatives in other cities, it targets misdemeanors and other minor offenses as a means of deterring criminal behavior in general. (T. N.) , part of the biopower that separates bodies, that cleanses. It is aesthetics against the poor, the ugly, and the uncultured, even if the poorly disguised catholic compassion of our supposedly enlightened intellectuals points to these figures as victims of a lack of investment in education. And the hygienism is not only a molar operation, coming from the center of the state; it also disseminates itself in a micropolitical way through the fascism of groups, of militias, of proto- and para-state mafias. It was not exactly the state or the military police, but instead a local militia that recently caught and tortured a group of graffiti artists in a popular commercial area in downtown Rio de Janeiro.
But there is no break it down, no mandatory vaccine16 10 A reference to the mandatory yellow fever vaccinations that sparked a violent popular uprising in Rio de Janeiro in 1904 (T. N.). to completely defeat this virus. Hélio Oiticica knew very well what he was doing when he tried to get the Mangueira samba school to enter the Modern Art Museum in 1965. In a similar way, the composer Tom Zé recently compared the distortion of funk music to the aesthetic innovations of bossa nova, a profanation of something that has become a symbol of good taste and sophistication for the local and national bourgeoisie. As a result, he suffered a sort of public execration. In one way or another, these were interventions in spaces of art, which recall Duchamp sending his Fountain to the Salon of Arts. However, the graffiti artists and taggers returned the next week; they returned by the dozen, as a re-action against the tortures that their comrades had suffered. They painted, tagged, and grafitti'd various buildings in the city center in a sort of reversion of this hygienism, a counter-legacy of the mega event that has become another legacy, through a shock that has nothing to do with order. Meanwhile, in the City Council Chamber, the horns were removed, and the portrait restored. The transport cartel continues to control the city, and almost all of the urbanization and construction laws planned for the World Cup and the Olympics were approved. However, if a small plaque had been placed alongside the painting, while the scribbled horns were still there, naming it as art, we might have - even with all these contradictions - some sort of legacy of the counter-legacy. In any case, there is another virus - the Zika virus - that is currently circulating through the hygienized city in an expression of a counter-aesthetic that is at once material and symbolic. It is a counter-effect of art that now threatens the Apollonian bodies, so disciplined and healthy, of the athletes who will arrive for the Olympics.
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This unpublished text, translated by Raphael Soifer and proofread by Ananyr Porto Fajardo, is also published in Portuguese in this issue.
A popular uprising that took place in northeastern Brazil between 1896 and 1897. Its brutal suppression ultimately resulted in the deaths of an estimated 25,000 people. (T. N.)
In this text, specifically in reference to the thought of the romantic philosopher Friedrich Schlegel, the Brazilian philosopher and critic Gerd Bornheim (2005BORNHEIM, Gerd. A Filosofia do Romantismo. In: GUINSBURG, Jacob (Org.) O Romantismo. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 2005. P. 75-111., p. 93) writes: "[...] the artist, the poet, becomes a sort of priest for men, because he is the one who best manages to make the finite communicate with the infinite."
In relation to Sartre, Merleau-Ponty seems to have taken a position in search of immanence that negates emptiness, and, consequently, negating negativity and placing flesh in this sort of ontological place that inaugurates perception. However, for Deleuze and Guattari, he continues to maintain transcendence by making his mole's work in immanence, when he affirms that there is a difference between the my flesh and the flesh of things.
Deleuze and Guattari have a disquieting reading of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals, which they describe, in the chapter "Savages, Barbarians, Civilized Men" of Anti-Oedipus, as "the great book of modern ethnography." (Deleuze; Guattari, 1972DELEUZE, Gilles; GUATTARI, Félix. L'Anti-OEdipe: capitalisme et schizophrénie 1Paris: Lês Editions de Minuit, 1972. , p. 225).
A group of intellectuals and artists who founded the International Situationist, defending a revolutionary vision of art and an absolutely aesthetic reading of politics. The French thinker Guy Debord was among the group's leadership. The Situationists played an important role in the events of May, 1968 in Paris. In a general sense, they defended the creation of revolutionary situations instead of traditional forms of struggle. These situations took place through aesthetic-artistic interventions, derives, happenings, and other strategies that would cause a certain shock (such as posters, graffiti, and specific chants). The Situationists were also characterized by their discussion of the capitalist city, in opposition to urbanism as it has been structured in modernism; this discussion resulted in a series of actions and interventions in the city, of which the derive has become the best known.
Further information and a deeper reflection about the event, including the action/intervention of the artist-researchers involved, can be found in this text. The research group, which in this case was also a collective for aesthetic-political invention, is called the Conjunct Plan of Spacialities - PLACE, within the Art and Politics research area (CAr/UFES)
A seemingly monolithic television conglomerate that dominates the majority of the Brazilian broadcast market. (T. N.)
Here, Benjamin relates the emergence of theories that defend art for art's sake as a reaction to the emergence of the first technique of reproduction that, for him, is truly revolutionary: in other words, photography. According to Benjamin, art foresaw the emergence of a crisis here, and it reacted to this threat by creating what, for Benjamin, would be a theology of art, a theology that spread into a negative theology, rejecting all social functions of art.
"Shock of Order" is municipal public improvement program in Rio de Janeiro. Modeled on "zero tolerance" initiatives in other cities, it targets misdemeanors and other minor offenses as a means of deterring criminal behavior in general. (T. N.)
A reference to the mandatory yellow fever vaccinations that sparked a violent popular uprising in Rio de Janeiro in 1904 (T. N.).
Publication in this collection
25 July 2016
Date of issue
07 Feb 2016
24 Apr 2016