Category: On the Precipice of Time – The Zapatista Forum

THE ZAPATISTA COFFE HOUR | common space

Location/Lugar Centro Cultural La Corrala Date/Fecha: from 3-4 pm 16 & 19 September  Access/Entradas: Free until full capacity, prior registration by mail to info@instituteofradicalimagination.org indicating name, surname and motivation from September the 1st.

A series of programmed interventions during the Zapatista Forum in Madrid alternates with more impromptu conversations during The Zapatistas’ Coffee Hour, a space-time where we can meet daily from 3pm to 4pm – inside The Provisory Learning Station, installed by artist collective Chto Delat at La Corrala – open every day from 3 to 4 pm to all those wishing to convene, discuss, study or simply share a free (Zapatista) coffee. The Provisory Learning Station provides tables and chairs, a printer, a computer with wifi connection, a temporary collective library, two flat screens and other tools to study, research and work together. Everyone is welcome to use the space to host conversations, presentations, workshops, films, books, and coffee times according to availability and scheduling. We hope this can be a way to continue weaving our relations and struggles, learning together – otherwise.

A PROVISORY LEARNING STATION | artworks & films & the Zapatista coffe hour

Location/Lugar Centro Cultural La Corrala Date/Fecha: 16 September – 15 October  Access/Entradas: Free until full capacity, prior registration by mail to info@instituteofradicalimagination.org indicating name, surname and motivation from September the 1st.

In one of the aisles of La Corrala, Chto Delat providesThe Provisory Learning Station for an open and porous research team to convene. 

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CUIDADO(S)! RAISING CARE | workshop & assembly

Location/Lugar La Villana de Vallekas Date/Fecha: September 19 12:00 Access/Entradas: Free until full capacity, prior registration by mail to info@instituteofradicalimagination.org indicating name, surname and motivation from September the 1st.

The crisis of care, a consequence of the correlation between patriarchy and the sexual division of labor, was redefined in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with the collapse of public institutions, citizens have organized autonomous care and support networks for precarious workers, migrants in an irregular situation, families without resources, etc. In this context, the collective assembly Raising Care emerged in 2020.
This assembly is made up of seven groups from southern and eastern Europe: Brigate Volontarie per l’Emergenza, Obiezione Respinta and the Institute of Radical Imagination (Italy); Skart (Serbia); Open School of Immigrants from Piraeus (Greece), Domestic Territory and the Association of Senior Citizens of Usera (Spain). All of them have worked, in virtual meetings, on the concept of assembly as a device for mutual care and support, and have approached care as a starting point for their political, activist, artistic position, etc. This has culminated in the publication of a fanzine used in the course of the workshop as a device for activating the knowledge gathered in the meetings: establishing and sustaining relationships from / to / for care, of other people and of oneself. The objective is to generate a fruitful conversation between all the participants, questioned by the question of the politicization of care, autonomous health and the philosophy of “good living”.

La crisis de los cuidados, consecuencia de la correlación entre el patriarcado y la división sexual del trabajo, se resignificó en el marco de la pandemia de COVID-19. Ante el colapso de las instituciones públicas, la ciudadanía ha organizado redes autónomas de atención y apoyo a trabajadores precari+s, personas migrantes en situación irregular, familias sin recursos, etc. En ese contexto surge, en 2020, la asamblea colectiva Raising Care [Cuidados en lucha]. Esta asamblea está conformada por siete colectivos del sur y el este de Europa: Brigate Volontarie per l’Emergenza, Obiezione Respinta y el Institute of Radical Imagination (Italia); Skart (Serbia); Escuela Abierta de Inmigrantes del Pireo (Grecia), Territorio Doméstico y la Asociación Mesa de Mayores de Usera (España). Todos ellos han trabajado, en encuentros virtuales, el concepto de asamblea como dispositivo de cuidado y apoyo mutuo, y han abordado los cuidados como punto de partida de su posición política, activista, artística, etc. Ello ha culminado en la publicación de un fanzine utilizado en el transcurso del taller como dispositivo de activación de los saberes recogidos en los encuentros: establecer y sostener relaciones desde/hacia/para los cuidados, de las otras personas y de una misma. El objetivo es generar una conversación fructífera entre tod+s l+s participantes, interpelad+s por la cuestión de la politización de los cuidados, la salud autónoma y la filosofía del “buen vivir”.

This workshop is carried out in collaboration and thanks to the support of the La Villana de Vallekas social center / Este taller se realiza en colaboración y gracias al apoyo del centro social La Villana de Vallekas.

Team/Equipo: Elena Blesa Cábez, Emanuele Braga, Sara Buraya Boned, Ana Campillos, Jesús Carrillo, Maddalena Fragnito, Pablo García Bachiller, Elena Lasala Palomar, Theo Prodromidis and Gabriella Riccio.

ART FOR UBI #3 | assembly

Art for UBI Terraforming, courtesy of Emanuele Braga

Location / Lugar Museo Reina Sofia, Edificio Sabatini Jardin Date / Fecha: September 17 19:00

with Andy Abbot, Emanuele Braga, Marco Baravalle, Érik Bordeleau, Ilenia Caleo, Anna Cerdà Callís, Kuba Szreder.

Third public assembly organized by the ART for UBI (Manifesto) an initiative born within the framework of the activities of The School of Mutation by the Institute of Radical Imagination. The Pandemic of Covid19 has been correctly defined as a syndemic. The term clearly shows how pre-existing conditions of social, race, gender and environmental asymmetries, influenced the impact of Covid19, exposing to serious consequences poor and precarious workers, women and lgbtqia+ subjectivities, racialized and indigenous people and those living in areas more subjected to pollution and extractivism. In Europe (and elsewhere) thousands of billions of Euros are allocated to respond to the crisis. Unfortunately, at least from European perspective, it looks like the vast majority of these funds will go to the supply side, in the vain hope that financing private companies will have an overall positive impact on society. The result will be a further polarization of global richness, and the progressive impoverishment of millions of people. Contrary to this option, It is time to support the implementation of forms of universal, basic and unconditional income. We believe UBI is a struggle of primary importance in order to finally achieve a fair remuneration for the value freely extracted from our lives on a daily basis (for example through platform capitalism and through the still invisible care work performed mainly by women). We believe UBI will have a radical impact on social life, not only in terms of reducing poverty and precarity, but also freeing time and energies to build worlds where care, mutual aid and the commons become priorities.

Using the ART FOR UBI [Art for Universal Basic Income] Manifesto as its starting point, the IRI has been proposing discussions on the role that art and the world of cultural production should play in the fight for financial redistribution based on mutualism, methods of self-management of resources, access to the means of production and other solidarity practices. This activity begins in the Museum’s Sabatini Garden, with a “performative round table” based on the proposal of the artist Anna Rispoli, who regularly works on topics such as remuneration, income and the UBI (universal basic income), mixing performance, social research and conducting real experiments on how to share assets and financial resources.

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UNA RENTA, MUCHOS MUNDOS | performance

image courtesy of Maddalena Fragnito

Location / Lugar: Museo Reina Sofia, Jardin Edificio Sabatini Date / Fecha: September 17, 18:00 Language / Idioma: Español Access / Entradas: Free until full capacity, free tickets available from Reina Sofia Museum website (here) from September 15

the performance introduces the Art for UBI #3 | assembly at 19:00

Using the ART FOR UBI [Art for Universal Basic Income] Manifesto as its starting point, the IRI has been proposing discussions on the role that art and the world of cultural production should play in the fight for financial redistribution based on mutualism, methods of self-management of resources, access to the means of production and other solidarity practices. This activity begins in the Sabatini Garden of the Museum, with “An income many worlds” performative round table based on the proposal of the artist Anna Rispoli, who regularly works on topics such as remuneration, income and the UBI (universal basic income), mixing performance, social research and conducting real experiments on how to share assets and financial resources.

A diversified group of people will perform a choral speech where the hypothetical impact on their lives of a universal, basic and unconditional income is analyzed on the background of the current pandemic crisis. Is UBI a “simple” financial measure, or is it an essential tool for a radical alternative to the neoliberal reality we are experiencing? What about earning money unrelated to jobs and working hours? What about the possibility to say no to the blackmail of precarity? What about putting and end to race and gender asymmetries so common in today’s labor market? What about detoxing the planet from ecologically dangerous jobs? What about care and mutual aid in front of the endless invitation to be competitive individuals? These are some or the questions inspiring the public dialogue.The performance will be followed by the panel Art For Ubi #3 at the Museum Reina Sofia. 

On this occasion, an IRI team has worked to adapt Rispoli’s proposal and carry out a dramaturgy that takes up these lines from dialogue with a group of people who live and work in Spain, and who have participated in a series of interviews that have given rise to the dramaturgy of this performance. This research phase is part of the DESVÍO Open Program, a tool for dialogue and collective work promoted by hablarenarte / Planta Alta that aims to actuate and affect our immediate context.

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SOMOS FRAGMENTOS DE LA LUZ QUE IMPIDE QUE TODO SEA NOCHE | exhibition

photo courtesy of Natalia Arcos, Acteal 2016

We are fragments of light that prevent everything from becoming night

Curators / Comisariado Natalia Arcos, Mao Mollona

Open / Abierto 15 – 30 September 2021, Mo-Sun / L-D 10:00 – 22:00 Location / Lugar Centro Cultural La Corrala – Museo de Artes y Tradiciones Populares, Calle de Carlos Arniches, 3, Madrid

The title of the exhibition is from the commentary to the film “Acteal 10 años de impunidad” (2008) made by Tzotzil filmmaker José Jimenéz Peréz to commemorate the infamous “massacre of Acteal”, in December 1997, when forty-six Tzotzil were gunned down by paramilitary militia, marking the attempt by the Mexican state to repress the Zapatista insurgency. By Embodying the memory of the massacre, the film is a form of struggle against state violence and institutional forgetting. Candle-burning in Mayan cosmology celebrates the world of shadows, and the human struggle against darkness and historical oblivion. In the Popul Vuh, a foundational sacred narrative of the K’iche’ people, it is argued that before the creation of the world – before the first true dawn – there was a flickering of “light from behind the sea”.  Subcomandante Marcos would often tell the story of Hunahpe and Xbalanque, the twin heroes of Popul Vuh, who defeated the Evil in the House of Darkness by keeping alive a candle and two cigars helped by a bright red macaw and an army of fireflies. The image of the candle, as a collective force consisting of fragments of beings fighting against the darkness of racial and patriarchal capitalism, returns in the communique that Zapatista women issued after their international meeting in 2018. Our proposed exhibition revolves around the dialogue between indigenous and revolutionary aesthetics in filmmaking in Chiapas, and the idea of cinema as material, spiritual and political assembly.

Fragmentos show not only the convergence between the revolutionary and the indigenous symbolical horizons – the milpa cycle as cycle of life and death, the reproduction of ancestral knowledge as a form of anticolonial struggle, and the entanglement between linear history and the circular temporality of the cosmos – it also highlights the modalities of assembly, communal decision-making and collective production – captured in the ethics of autonomia – that have historically sustained both revolutionary urban and peasant struggles and their aesthetics.  “Somos Fragmentos” reflects IRI’s commitment to revolutionary cinema, that is, a cinema of prefiguration and construction of a post-capitalist and decolonial imaginary and life. The idea of the assembly is replicated in the gallery space, which is divided in three cosmopolitical spaces – three journeys and forms of gathering of Zapatismo, from the EZLN’s base in the Lacandon jungle, to local indigenous villages, ending into the space of international solidarity. 

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CINEMA AS ASSEMBLY | debate

photo courtesy of Francisco Lion, 2018 ©

Location / Lugar Museo Reina Sofia Date / Fecha: September 15 18:00

The debate brings together curators Mao Mollona and Natalia Arcos with indigenous filmmaker from Chiapas Francisco Huichauqeo whose works together with María Sojob, Delmar Méndez-Gómez, Liliana K’an will be screened in the framework of the exhibitions Somos fragmentos de la luz que impide que todo sea noche & Pero la luz será mañana para los más

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AURELIANO & NAFTA | Mia Eve Rollow & Caleb Duarte

Somos Fragmentos de la luz que impide que todo sea noche exhibition – Open / Abierto 15 – 30 September 2021, Mo-Fr / L-D 10:00 – 22:00 Sa 10:00-14:00 Location / Lugar Centro Cultural La Corrala, Museo de Artes y Tradiciones Populares Calle de Carlos Arniches, 3, Madrid

An important aspect of creating “other worlds” through Zapatismo is the belief that each culture, each language and each individual creates its own understanding of beauty, normality, happiness and autonomy. The cultures of capitalism and consumerism introduced by NAFTA persuade large populations that there is only one way toward progress and prosperity. Here, Aureliano Martinez shapes his own image of beauty outside of the commercialization of the body.

20 YEARS AFTER NAFTA, 
MANY WORLDS ARE POSSIBLE

https://www.miaeverollow.org/creative-time-reports/4581907570

Caleb Duarte and Mia Eve Rollow from EDELO (En Donde Era La UNO/Where the United Nations Used to Be) explore the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement in Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state and the site of the Zapatista revolution sparked by the agreement.

Mexico was said to be one step away from entering the “First World.” It was December 1992, and Mexico’s then-president, Carlos Salinas, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The global treaty came with major promises of economic development, driven by increased farm production and foreign investment, that would end emigration and eliminate poverty. But, as the environmentalist Gustavo Castro attests in our video, the results have been the complete opposite—increased emigration, hunger and poverty.

While the world was entertaining the idea of the end of times supposedly predicted by the Mayan calendar, on December 21, 2012, over 40,000 Mayan Zapatistas took to the streets to make their presence known in a March of Silence. The indigenous communities of Chiapas—Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolobales, Choles, Zoques and Mames—began their mobilization from their five centers of government, which are called Caracoles. In silence they entered the fog of a December winter and occupied the same squares, in the same cities, that they had descended upon as ill-equipped rebels on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA came into effect.

In light of the 20th anniversary of NAFTA’s implementation and the Zapatista uprising, we set out to explore both the positive and negative effects of the international treaty. The poverty caused by NAFTA, and the waves of violence, forced migration and environmental disasters it has precipitated, should not be understated. The republic of Mexico is under threat from multinational corporations like the Canadian mining company Blackfire Explorations, which is threatening to sue the state of Chiapas for $800 million under NAFTA Chapter 11 because its government closed a Blackfire barite mine after pressure from local environmental activists like Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was murdered in 2009.

Still, one result of the corporate extraction of Mexico’s natural resources and displacement of its people that has followed the treaty has been the organization and strengthening of initiatives by indigenous communities to construct autonomy from the bottom up. Seeing that their own governments cannot respond to popular demands without retribution from corporations, the people of Mexico are asking about alternatives: “What is it that we do want?” The Zapatista revolution reminds us that not only another world, but many other worlds, are possible.

Original Title / Título Original Aureliano, 2012 Director / Dirección Mia Rollow y Caleb Duarte Running time / Duración 5:50′
Original Title / Título Original Nafta, 2012 Director / Dirección Mia Rollow y Caleb Duarte Running time / Duración 12′

Mia Rollow and Caleb Duarte are two American artists who traveled to San Cristóbal de las Casas from California in 2008 to settle there. In this context, they invited Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture of the Black Panthers of the United States, to carry out projects with the indigenous communities of Chiapas. From this encounter, ZAPANTERA NEGRA was born, an integration of the imaginaries of the Afro-American and Zapatista peoples in resistance and in organizing a new life in autonomy and freedom. In murals, embroidery, performances and videos, the images of the creative struggle of both communities on the north and south side of the Rio Grande border are intermingled. This interaction of imaginaries certainly has a political background that unites both struggles. But also, the reception of the indigenous communities towards this Afro-American proposal could be given by the “nahual” with which the Black Panthers present themselves to the Zapatistas. The nahual is a spiritual entity that corresponds to each person, town and territory and that takes the form of an animal. For the Zapatistas, the cultural identification with the jaguar and the bat is ancient and is revived as collective empowerment through the use of clothing elements that invoke these nahuales: the red scarf to the jaguar and the black balaclava to the bat. A black panther is then the nahual of another sister people, which communicates and empowers through the union of forces through images. In this sense, to understand the configuration of ZAPANTERA NEGRA, it is not only necessary to understand the political struggles but also the spiritual forces that are mobilized in the territories.

Mia Rollow y Caleb Duarte son dos artistas estadounidenses que desde California viajaron a San Cristóbal de las Casas en 2008 para establecerse allí. En ese contexto, invitaron a Emory Douglas, Ministro de Cultura de los Black Panthers de los Estados Unidos, a realizar proyectos con las comunidades indígenas de Chiapas. De este encuentro nace ZAPANTERA NEGRA, una integración de los imaginarios de los pueblos afroamericanos y zapatistas en resistencia y en organización de una nueva vida en autonomía y libertad. En murales, bordados, performances y videos, las imágenes de la lucha creativa de ambas comunidades al lado norte y sur de la frontera del Rio Grande, se entremezclan. Esta interacción de imaginarios  tiene por cierto un trasfondo político que aúna ambas luchas. Pero también, la recepción de las comunidades indígenas hacia esta propuesta afroamericana podría estar dada por el “nahual” con el que se presentan los Panteras Negras ante los Zapatistas.  El nahual es una entidad espiritual que corresponde a cada persona, pueblo y territorio y que toma forma de animal. Para los zapatistas, la identificación con el jaguar y el murciélago culturalmente es de antigua data y revive como empoderamiento colectivo a través del uso de elementos de vestuario que invocan a estos nahuales: el pañuelo rojo al jaguar y el pasamontañas negro al murciélago.  Una pantera negra es entonces el nahual de otro pueblo hermano, que se comunica y potencia a través de la unión de fuerzas a través de las imágenes.  En este sentido, para entender la configuración de ZAPANTERA NEGRA no solo hay que entender las luchas políticas sino también las fuerzas espirituales que se movilizan por los territorios.

Mia Eve Rollow was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1984. She received the Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship to attend the University of Maryland where she received her BFA in 2006. Rollow completed her graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago earning a master’s degree in 2009. Her artworks are often performative in nature, and due to her fascination with alchemy and shamanistic traditions, her work usually revolves the physical and spiritual world. A college classmate, Caleb Duarte, invited her to Mexico to work on an experimental project based around the Zapatista movement. She later moved to Chiapas, Mexico where she co-founded the EDELO arts collective along with Duarte. Mia Eve Rollow works in a variety of media including video, painting, installation, and performance art. In 2017, Rollow had a solo exhibition titled, Eve: A Series, which featured large-scale video projections of natural phenomena. She primarily produces art through EDELO in collaboration with its community members.

Caleb Duarte is best known for creating temporary installations using construction type frameworks such as beds of dirt, cement, and objects suggesting basic shelter. His installations within institutional settings become sights for performance as interpretations of his community collaborations. Duarte has created public works and community performances at the World Social Forum in Mumbai India, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, El Pital, Honduras, and throughout Mexico and the United States. He has collaborated with autonomous indigenous Zapatista collectives, communities in movement, and working children and refugees. Duarte is co-founder, along with artist MIa Eve Rollow, of EDELO, a Spanish acronym for (Where the United Nations Used To BE). EDELO was a house of art in movement and an inter-comunal artist residency of diverse practices in Chiapas Mexico. The project challenged the traditional artist residency and art spaces in that it placed residents alongside rural autonomous communities that have been using performance, theater, poetry, and a rich visual culture to demand drastic social, political, and economic change. The space invited collaborators to live and create within a period of time. Residents were from PHDs to jugglers, contemporary artist, activist, educators, rural farmers, and autonomous community members. Through EDELO, he is lead facilitator of ZAPANTERA NEGRA, in collaboration with Rigo 23, Emory Douglas and Mia Eve Rollow. Zapantera Negra united Zapatistas (EZLN) with Black Panther Party esthetics to investigate the use of the body and visual culture in both distinct political and artistic movements. Caleb Duarte is profesor of scupture at Fresno City College in Fresno California where he has his studio. He continues to work with Central American unaccompanied minors currently seeking asylum working in community performance, sculpture, film, and painting.