The Three Magii
Gabriel Vinazza is, possibly, one of the most erudite approaches to my work to date along with Hernan Vanoli (Revista Crisis) and Pedro Yague (Perfil). A little known coder, YouTuber, gamer and professor of philosophy, he intuitively recognised as performative my political aesthetic (minute 41). Even though, he can see with clarity my intervention as performative, he cannot see it as an artistic project that transforms art criticism into an instrument of actual social change, but as an expression of a mental health problem. A symptom. It is in this moral aspect that his criticism is different than Vanoli’s and Yague‘s who from a more modernist perspective separate author from work to extract meaning. Their reviews of Historia a Contrapelo del Arte Argentino published by Penguin Random House in 2021 came in 2022 proved that the scandal around the cancellation came handy because it made it a bestseller but at a high cost: its reading. Everybody bought it but only a few read it.
Hernan Vanoli has a subtle mind and a generosity of spirit that I am lucky to have encountered in order to, finally, be seen for what I do and not for the manipulated perception of it. It is at this point that the analysis has to adopt a Foucaultian twist with a feminist stir because someone from my class or my social origins is usually destined in my country to strive in the terms previously set for him or her to do so. Change is out of the question and social change, in particular, if suggested is punished with eradication or suicide. So I had two options: comply and try to be the best of my kind in the terms inherited by people with inheritance or publicly embrace the terms and vocabulary that the rest of society considers as “obscene”. I must confess that I had no idea when I started my blog of what would happen because I counted on certain basic understandings that were supposed to sustain a common ground through humor (in terms of self deprecation) and generosity of spirit (as good will). Needless to say that in academia or the art world neither of those are prevalent. Even more, they are on the way of disappearing. Knowledge or art without humor are sterile and, eventually, pointless. Regarding the generosity of spirit, it is something that comes with the tolerance of a margin for dissent, for difference, for specificity and for error. If I have to name one thing that in the 2010s I was not prepared for, it was to discover that my country or to be more specific, the cultural elites of my country had lost their sense of humor and their capacity to deal with allegories (in the Benjaminian sense). In other words, to be exposed to uncertainty through culture. As we know, the turn was towards a culture of the cancellation of ambivalence in the name of morality. Then came the Ni Una Menos and the rest is history. Culture as freedom and mischief was asphyxiated. One of the biggest achievements of my career is Hernan Vanoli’s patient deconstruction but blatant demonstration of the impossibility of talking about culture even in a cultural radio show. Vanoli had to channel a type of energy that melted morality into freedom by cutting the crap and saying that he agreed with me. Finally someone utters a verb and a direct object. It is as if the purpose of utterances got lost in Argentine cultural media. This happened after he had to waste half the allocated time for his review of my book in a radio show to answer questions about my integrity as a human being and as an intellectual that were not even questions but faces, grims, and adjectives without any specific accusation. Of the 30 minutes allocated to him, he had to dedicate more than half to answer the uneasy questions of a woman who happened to have an art historian friend who had doubts about something that she could not specify. Spectral Argentina. I can specify it: art history is dying as a discipline and the Conicet stopped being a place of excellence to become a warehouse or something like that. There is always something magmatic that prevents certain people inside institutions to read me for fear of losing something that is always linked to their integrity. My performative disruption was either so profound and traumatic that they just cannot read me or, which I think is the case, they use me as scapegoat for giving up on having to understand but, and this is the kick, in the name of academicism. At that point, we are not discussing “Canete, the intelectual” but the fears of a generation that could not access certain resources because of their class but instead dissolve their individualities into communities that demanded fixed identities. Mediocrity as the price of security. And do not get me wrong, this is not a Latin American problem but an Argentine one. Argentina spends fortunes in research and academics with only one condition, that they do not help society to understand what is going on. They are narcotic.
The Oracle of Roberto Jacoby
Unsurprisingly, the first one in the cultural elite that saw me as a real danger in 2012 was the founding father of that seminal wave of political conceptualism that dematerialised the work of art during the 1960s. Those were times of radio, television, the Cold War and cable telephones. Two decades later, that same practitioner did what I think is the last proper artistic project in Argentina: Proyecto Venus. In my book, I put him up high where he deserves to be. His name is Roberto Jacoby but he is too blind to see generosity of spirit when happens to him and it is probably too late for him to change. So his pay back for pointing at him as the best artist of the last 50 years was to steal the fragment of the chapter of my next book that obtained the Peter Marzio Award 2020 and publish it without my authorisation in his blog Jennifer, which is a failed attempt to compete with loveartnotpeople.org that I had to take as a compliment. What Jacoby saw was that my project presented what he could not because of the stasis that the demanding artistic public impose on the professional artist. I did not have to stage nor represent the political event. I just manipulated the mediatic energy for it to happen.
According to him he was the analogical view of political art that still believes that speaking to an art audience that, basically, already thinks like him, would make a real difference in the world. By contrast, he sees me as the digital version of that with a key difference that is that he considers the art world an obstacle for the unfolding of an aesthetics of change. It is as simple as that. If the parasitical art market and its sociality continue to occupy the symbolic space of art, people would become immunised to the visual as a terrain of change. What artistic institutions frame is a spectacle linked with the nostalgia of the romantic notion of art which, oh surprise, is precisely Dante Spinetta’s and much less clearer, Gabriel Vinazza’s. Jacoby is probably the person that, for good or bad, has had access to the conceptual debates that assured him, that when I smashed the art elite certainties or at least, certain portion of the audience’s perception of those, that their authority was not legitimate nor meant anything, or to say in more current terms, that they were unable to dictate what is cool and what is not, a new era in Argentine art begun and the Zero ground was 2012, year of appearance of loveartnotpeople.org as a genealogy that goes parallel to Martel’s cinematography.
Obscenity, ladies and gentlemen, is the condition of art in neoliberal times where victimhood and offense prevail. My blog gave way to a countercultural renaissance from the margins. Lobbying and in breeding as artistic practices were so inherent to the kleptocratic regime that generated the chaos and disappearances upon which denunciation, Kirchnerists like Jacoby construct identity. The problem is that this identity is not too distant from that of people with vision like Vanoli which makes his commitment to culture so much laudable. What was apparent in a blind country is that its art and culture were under siege. From one side the attack was the type of political clientelism that can only tolerate art when it becomes domesticated and it stops being art. In that case it depends on who is in power. In this case, identity politics demanded a feminist sociologisation of aesthetics were what was being said (for example, that there less wome in the cultural sector than men) was blatantly not true and that was the point: to make evident that artists were fake and they achieved this. From the other side, the attack came through the Art Fairs, the MALBA sociality, Belleza y Felicidad, Eterna Cadencia and the art market that demanded not only objects to sell but brands or names whose touch turns shit into gold. So the quest for the neoromantic genius started. So the days of art as we knew it were over. The melancholy of the gallery industry translated into even more delusion and galleries of many stories appeared in times of inflation and impoverishment raising poignant questions about lawfulness and money laundering. Until the MeToo movement the triumphant paradigm of artistic subjectivity was that of the national genius forged by Delacroix and perfected during modernism. In the new millennium, a new wave of romanticism emerged but giving up on artistic quality.
Vinazza’s intervention is performative and profoundly knowledgeable but filtered by a life lived under the aforementioned paradigm. Vinazza’s take on my interview with Dante Spinetta is positive but… at the cost not only of my integrity but my mental health (this, of course, from his point of view). He refers to Dante Spinetta by his forename but he distances from me by Cañeting me which is a form of respect but also of derision. It is important to clarify that both Dante and I, we are the offspring of famous people that were respected in their fields. The difference is of class and quantity but not at tall of quality. My ex centricity is my inheritance. My project disrespects distinction from above as something natural. The natives in Lucrecia Martel’s unspectacular truly spectacular decolonising manifesto called Zama says it all. One decolonises in action, only in practice and one does that by denaturalising the inherited and refusing to participate in the syntax or the language of the coloniser.
According to Vinazza, Dante’s problem is his percepticide or, in other words, his incapacity to see what he has in front of him. In fact, he says that I said what I did not say that, according to him, is the misunderstanding that triggers Spinetta’s fury. According to Vinazza is that I accuse him of mysogyny and racism but actually i find it coherent with his own career. But Vinazza instead of presenting it as a problem, refers to it as an acceptable and even valuable aspect of his artistry while, at the same time, discloses his credentials as a formalist in the most conservative way for coherence only in very few cases brings value to a work of art or to life, for that matter. Hitler was very coherent and look what his coherence brought to the world.
The problem is not what Vinazza says but what he leaves out. In my interview with Spinetta there were not accusations but indexes. I pointed at aspects of his work that had to do with content and not with form. If I have to name a target, mine was a veiled attack on Spinetta’s narcissistic Dorian Grayness and amoral post modernism when repeating without blushing that such a disruptive message had to embrace a position and cannot remain undefined for even if Corera’s video (attached to this post) was a parody of the Me Too, they should acknowledge as a political position or, at least, allow me to do so as a viewer. Any other attitude would be suicidal. The incredible path they chose was micromanaging the viewer’s reading by claiming their intentionality as holy.
Loveartnotpeople as Maradona’s Mischief: The Survival of the Talented Trying to Make a Living From Bellow
To my surprise, Vinazza melted everything in the air, transforming Dantes prejudices and ethical black holes into gestures without material consequences. To bring it down to earth, when an homophobic person acts against a gay person is, among other things, because he (for example) believes that his children could be in danger or, like the Spider Woman, the conniving loca would end up convincing the pater familiae of betraying his historical responsibilities of perpetuating the human race. It is all that kind of material consideration that Vinazza excuses Spinetta from, while at the same time, stating very clearly his adscripcion to materialism, at the beginning of the programme. So the question at this point is whether Vinazza understood what he read. In other words, what is the relationship between erudition and knowledge in Argentina today.,
The subtlety of the Vinazza’s monologue continues by a nonchalant pathologization of my criticism as not only obscene but, literally, insane while Spinetta is gradually excused. Vinazza starts suggesting, probably without realizing he is doing so that there is the possibility that Dante had to hung up on me not because he realized in front of the camera how ignorant and intellectually lazy both Corera and him are but because of my manners. Corera and Vinazza are not that far away in this discussion. What worries me is that they chose the path of invisibilising the crimes of those above. There are far more continuities than ruptures between the dictatorship and democracy in Argentina.
The trashing starts at the very beginning when, passing by and excusing himself as posting things that are actually, according to him ‘boludeces’ and I quote: ‘There are stories that are too big to reduce them to an Instagram post (…) Gaby Lorenzo, a DJ, asked for my reaction to the fight that was not conceived as a fight but as an event. Anyway, that always happens with Canete. I am referring to a video that, in any case, has not been watched by anyone’. To begin his analysis with this comment and teaching philosophy as he does, is, to say the least, weird. I watched his video a day later of its publication and it had 70 viewers. After I retweeted it got 158 while mine, in its two versions, passed 1000 within the same time frame. Why would he expose himself so early to a loss of credibility from his own “audience”. I could only find three reasons: envy, delusion or strategy. I think the right answer is a conflation of the three. His monologue is slow and subtle flattery that becomes an eradication in Boschian terms. I refer to Bosch, the XV century Flemish painter because as in the beginnings of modernity the insane is not someone to contain but to exterminate. But Vinazza is too connoisseurial for his own good because despite the fact that he was commenting on my accusations of Dante Spinetta’s misogynistic dematerialisation of women (which leaves him inches from the closeted homosexuale), he turns against me moralizing me for a breach to etiquette that he brings from other performative interventions but is inexistent in this particular one. For this reason, Vinazzas acknowledgment of the materialist and performative nature of a project that only recently started to consider itself as such is relevant and speaks of his intuitive intelligence but he says it in this terms: “At this point, when in rage Canete asks Corera, Spinettas phone number, his stance is that of a performance artist because that is what he is but one does not know whether this is to make up with Dante or to retaliate and go for more. Canete is extremely cynical and manipulative” (minute 54). Vinazza does not give me the benefit of the doubt. To him I am obscene but not even in the already unbearable but imperative to any lover of freedom the Marquis de Sade’s libertin kind of way but apparently in a more dangerous, sociopathic way. The problem with these statements is the visual evidence if we go to minute 54 and we see my attitude during the whole video. Far from what he describes, I performed Christ. My strategy was to let Dante implode to show the viewer what the 90s have left us.
There is an emotional subtext that Vinazza does not even think about, mainly, because as with my Cancellation he has not done his homework. So if he was going to go as far as the pathologisation, at least, he should have had the kindness or, in his terms, “good etiquette” of do some research. Before ending with my Christ- like performance, lets go to the way Vinazza understands it only to moralise it and cut another of my limbs. The first was my audience that in his imagination is inexistent. The second is the meaning of my cancellation and as a cultural analyst Vinazza is blind because he cannot link object and material context. He reads everything in literal way with the ethical stance of a 1930s housewife.
As I said before, he can see better than many the efficacy of my performative approach to art which consists in feeling the pulse of the media but when he makes my audience dissappear, he commits cultural suicide. My Cancellation by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston is my most accomplished aesthetic performative event to date becuse it made evident how the lobbying inside the world of art has only created a web of prostitution and corruption of different sorts that, in the end, become the tomb of its leaders. A bit like the labyrinth of the Minotaur from where no one can escape, not even its makers. The decision of the director of the ICAA, Maricarmen Ramirez to illegally rescind the prestigious international award that I had won in a fair competition without showing documental evidence or clear reasons in disregard of the unanimous decision of the jury in my favor (which, by the way, remained immobile and silent) comes at a huge cost. Today the ICAA has been dwarfed and Ramirez does not know what to do with it. This is the contextual information that Vinazza needed before jumping to the pathologising diagnosis of the melancholic exiled. In fact, the word he uses is “deterritorialisation” and at this point he proves that his understanding not only of reality but of texts is flawed. That word is at the outer borders of the poststructuralist take on psychoanalysis from a queer perspective in the 1980s. It was concocted by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in their seminal Anti-Aedipus as a form of, in two words, liquate the remnants of identiarian drive into something that is in constant state of becoming. If these conceptual frameworks are difficult to maneuvre within their original edifices, it is impossible to even imagine how Vinazza’s jump could work. It comes across as adolescent fireworks. Someone showing off his unprocessed readings to an audience he, obviously, despises and the feeling to be honest, has to be mutual. This is the reason why I decided to write in English while deepening my decolonial strategy. Not because I want to become cryptic and impossible for the Argentines to understand me but because the Argentines proved to have a limit that affected the quality of my interlocution. I dont want to waste my life teaching to those who refuse to learn. So that is the moment we part ways and specify new forms of patriotism by circumventing the disease.
There is something that Vinazza likes in me and he cannot allow anyone to see. He seems to genuinely appreciate my points but the way he pathologises me to excuse Dante Spinetta of his most self damaging racist and mysogynistic points is puzzling. My first conclusion is that the problem is the unbridge chasm opened between theory and practice in Vinazza’s mind and a culture of improvisation that makes them believe they understand what they don’t. He is a fetishist of theory and that does not make him wise but on the contrary, its opposite. His views are almost without exception unfounded and inmaterial. What he tries to do with me as an intellectual is analogous of what Dante does with women in a courtly love context. He calls my method “Socratic” which transforms the dialogue that Spinetta and I had into an actual dialogue which was exactly what his privileged hanging up prevented us to have. He entered the conversation with his mind made up. What I found alarming of Vinazza’s argument is the invisibilisation of that violence and of violence, at all levels. But now it is time to leave Vinazza behind and accept that my Christ-like performance was the real reason why I went to Hades to have a chat with such an idiot (Spinetta). I wanted to prove a point about the rhetorics of love and friendship in the extremely violent Argentina, today and I ended showing something darker. That will come in a different post.