Entrevista Miguel Ventura, Cecilia Delgado. Catálogo “Cantos Cívicos“.
mv: Today, the world is still fascinated by fascism, although it condemns it. I perfectly understand this condemnation; obviously my project is not a defense of National Socialism at all. On the contrary, I am interested in pointing out the hypocrisy there is in this condemnation of Nazism, one that sees it as if it were just an episode that happened at some point in history and for some reason we don’t fully understand it lead to such brutal events. But Nazism is part of a Western capitalist structure that still exists today in many forms. Maybe no longer as concentration camps, even if we all know they are still there. When you start reading the lyrics of these songs, you find they are not so different from those of many anthems. I find the melody of “Die Fahne Hoch” just beautiful, and I can understand German people: it’s like a lullaby you sing to children before they go to sleep. As Walter Benjamin thought, this kind of political art leads to some sort of mass manipulation.
cd: Let’s return to the main features of the project: why do you use rats and other animals, alive and dead?
mv: There will be some stuffed animals that belong to the Biology Institute collection. Why rats? Because they possess this duality, especially the lab Wistar rats that we’ve been using. There are many sides to these animals. They aren’t your regular sewer rats, those we hate; this species started being trained and cultivated in Boston in the early nineteenth century for us to live with it and use it. This refined and helpless albino animal represents the good side of an animal that also has a dirty, disgusting face.
But rats also have a charming, seductive side to them, a charismatic side that is part of folklore in stories, songs, cartoons, and posters for children’s bedrooms. It’s an appealing, cute, and childish animal, one that plays an important role in many fantasies about the animal kingdom.