A Delirium Narrative
I. The trajectory of a critique
For at least ten years, the Puerto Rican-Mexican-American artist Miguel Ventura has been interested in creating a fictitious oppressive institution that ironizes the political and economical neoliberal domination in an international context. Ventura developed a psychotic half-person, half-corporation called
(New Interterritorial Language Committee).
NILC is a colonialist entity that controls and brainwashes subjects. The
NILC’s purpose is to create a parody of a New World Order, analyze the individual’s
processes of introjection and question the ideological norms of institutions–such
as language, education, social values, aesthetic models, the dominant political
agenda, etc. This is done in order to challenge the dominant stereotypes in a
globalized world; for example gender, race, sexual behavior, or political
representation, to name but a few. This critique is also constructed on an
aesthetic that is a reaction to the minimalistic mainstream in contemporary
art, represented by artists such as Sol LeWitt, Dorothea Rockburn, Robert
Morris, or Joseph Albers. “These artists would become canonical figures of the
reductive, Protestant art in the US during the 1970s,” says Ventura.
NILC organization exposes the use of children as a strategy
for integration, education and marketing in society. This tactic is purely
ideological and tries to recruit imaginary new young devotees. The educational
pledge of the Committee has been fundamental to its colonialist ambitions. In
order to achieve these high objectives, the appearance of the NILC has
been produced carefully and in detail through a seductive apparatus that uses
images, music, promotional articles, children’s textbooks, videos, etc. The NILC
creates a world based on highly specialized marketing tools – such as colors,
songs, and materials for children, playful structures and objects made from
foam – to seduce followers. Using one of its video installations the NILC
succeeded in producing its own creatures.
Through a gender transformation, one
of its male patients became a pregnant mother and ends up as a fertile alien
creature. In the art historian Olivier Debroise’s words, the
artist “…takes possession of President Daniel Schreber’s transsexual delirium
and transfigures himself into Mademoiselle Heide Schreber, an incarnation of
the Cold War clichés and of German otherness including all its cultural background
(Santa Claus, Halloween and Heidi) incorporated into the ghost of ‘white’
democracy and into the inversion of the Puerto Rican diaspora’s Afro-Caribbean,
Hispanic, and Catholic roots inscribed in Ventura’s own body.”
Here, it should be added that Ventura was born into a military family, and during
his childhood he moved around the US, Puerto Rico and Europe, notably Germany. In
this context, the NILC evokes the stereotypes and clichés found in The Sound of Music (1965, Robert Wise),
which were taken from the works of Hitler’s famous filmmaker, Leni Rienfenstahl.
With the use of Nazi paraphernalia, Ventura questions the characteristics of an
idyllic state. Also, in NILC’s work, language is taken as a crucial tool
of power, the primary medium of control and repression. Ventura developed the system
of language notation used by NILC on the basis of the hair-dos and
braids of a homosexual Heidi.
Over the years, the
NILC has developed a
formula that puts into play the codes of a “legitimate” organization that uses
“sinister and contradictory philosophies that sabotage any interaction with
reality.” “It’s amusing, being a gay man, to parody these male figures –posing
as a role model or as the president of NILC– through transvestite
transformations and the use of an absurd rhetoric. That’s also why I find it even
more amusing to think of myself as Nazi, being a Puerto-Rican gay man.”
In short, Ventura’s work is based on the amalgamation of large-scale visual essays originating in insights into the deployment of a politics of representation through different social apparatuses. Moreover, it serves to analyze how these combine to form a repressive economic system.
II. A work in bad taste
In November of 2008, the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC) opened in the Cultural Center of Mexico’s leading public university, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The MUAC was presented as the largest public institution in Mexico to host a collection of national and international contemporary art. The museum’s architecture and size met the expectations of a specific political context in Mexico City. The leftist party won the governance of the city in 1997 with Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas as the first mayor of the Federal District. Since then, the left-wing party has held power continuously, introducing numerous changes, mainly in terms of security, private and public transportation, and the passing of progressive laws. In this scenario, the leftist political inclinations of the UNAM have never been disguised. Consequently, for some political and cultural intellectuals in the city, the MUAC was seen as one of the biggest achievements of these series of successes in the city’s cultural milieu. The museum’s opening was supposed to confirm the city’s progressive, socio-political, avant-garde status.
Teodoro González de León, one of Mexico’s most prominent architects was commissioned to design the building. In the institution’s own words: “…González de León developed a project created with the intention of enhancing the visitor’s experience. The museum’s interplay with nature, the use of light, the open spaces and all kinds of features, make this a unique museum that uses the most avant-garde technology, and provides optimum conditions for the artworks.”
Sharing the space with three other exhibitions presented during the opening, Ventura was selected to make an installation in the museum’s main gallery. For the MUAC the artist designed a gigantic rats’ labyrinth of almost 9,600 square feet. Cantos Cívicos [“Civic Songs”] was based on a previous work produced in Castellón, Spain in 2007, at the Espai d'Art Contemporani de Castelló (EACC). A general overview of the work might describe it as an uprooted underworld of the museum’s aesthetic expectations. Thus, Cantos Cívicos invaded all the concepts of orientation, conservation and Mexican values of light and unity described above.
Contrary to the institution’s expectations, Cantos Cívicos reflected Ventura’s interests. Over the past years, he had drawn attention to the similarities between the neoliberal global economic models (those of Milton Friedman and the Chicago University school) and the languages and practices of contemporary art in terms of the connections between critics, artists, museums, and galleries. In an interview describing his ethical posture within the global artistic scene since 2001, he said: “On the one hand there was the destruction of two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, and on the other, the value of art was increasing; the growing importance of the world of art and culture was plain to see. So, I saw a contradiction there.” Meanwhile, in a talk held at the Americas Society he argued: “The legitimacy of our governments and the notion of democracy feel somewhat hollowed out by the ongoing military economy and financial machinery, and art seems more like the superfluous icing decorating a rotten and foul-smelling cake.”
As such, Cantos Civicos consists of a huge chrysalis with a tunnel–shaped entrance situated outside of the main gallery. The tour begins in the rat’s tail that could be seen from the lobby. The little entrance forced people to walk on all fours in order to see what was inside the animal’s belly. In the middle of the tail, a video of the artist shows him on hands and knees, dressed as a Nazi soldier transforming into a rat. By then, the piece is making an important point: the fact that, in a manner of speaking, we are all subjugated to his oneiric playful narrative.
After this, the piece can be explored at will. The main arrangement of the space consists of narrow corridors that connect small amorphous galleries, which the visitors encounter in their journey through the labyrinth. In a sense, each gallery represents the artist’s reflections on the themes he is referring to. Inside the rooms different images present a severe critique of neoliberalism and the art system. Walls and floor are crammed with multicolored foam magnets of
NILC’s logos and NILC’s letter shapes, bucolic paintings, newspaper photographs of socialites,
stag horns, stuffed animals, and painted portraits of German civilians from the
World War II era. Right next to these components there are huge
corporeal penises, photomontages of Mexican maids, a spread photographic
archive documenting the artist’s daily bowel movements, photos of leading
Mexican art patrons, swastika symbols, photos parodying eugenics, notably a
photographic series about Carl Sofus
Lumholtz’ research on the Tarahumara
population in Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century, scenes
of dead U.S.-nationalized immigrants in the Iraq war, icons of money, and
complicated drawings of excrement. One of the sides of the labyrinth contains little
folk-art dolls enclosed in a vertical chain of transparent plastic baubles, arranged
according to the classification of a caste system, where white dolls occupy the
highest positions and black and indigenous ones are at the bottom. At one of
the entrances, the name of a fictitious character, the artist that represents the
NILC’s aesthetic project, Gottfried Ohms, appears surrounded by logos of
museums from all around the world.
At the core of the space, there is a highly specialized animal facility with eighty live rats.,Ventura’s discourse draws attention to the way some populations are treated by societies and governments; that is, with racism and prejudice, despite their specific role in maintaining the system. The rats are trained to find chocolates in their plastic labyrinth of tubes. Their activities are synchronized with musical performances, so that every time the rats find the candy, a specific song is played, in an action that inverts the human-rat relationship. Thus, a parody of democracy is created.
III. The institution’s reaction
In a lecture, the Spanish curator of the piece, Juan de Nieves, said: “More than any work of Miguel’s before it, Cantos Cívicos is conceived as a battle, rather than a dialogue, with the space.” Ventura created this exhibition after more than thirty years of living in Mexico. For him, this was a final response to the dominance of the cultural elite expressed through colonial practices. According to him, the MUAC had been facing “politics of ideological purification”; but as he has said: “…this is also a form of a society that can not afford to face its problems of colonialism, racism, tradition and hypocrisy. There is an apartheid state in this country.” That was the way he illustrated his critique in Cantos Cívicos.
The following paragraphs will analyze the problems that this piece presented in the context of the institution’s main concerns. The first thing that the MUAC was confronted with in a studio visit at the beginning of 2008, was a photo by Annie Leibovitz that Ventura took from a Vanity Fair magazine, showing Gabriel Orozco, Chuck Close, Cindy Sherman, Patricia Phelps Cisneros, among others. The picture was modified, making a parody of Orozco’s Atomist (1996), and was also juxtaposed with Nazi and dollar symbols. The curators of the institution did not like this, and it caused a falling out with the artist during the following months. In addition, during the museum’s opening, a woman who was a potential candidate for becoming a patron saw her picture in the piece, and left the museum feeling very angry. Thus, Cantos Civicos posed a real threat. In an interview, Vanessa Bohórquez, the Education Communication Coordinator of the museum at the time, said that after the incident with the woman, the people in charge of giving information to the public were placed at the entrance to some of the labyrinth’s galleries in order to introduce a detour that would bypass the personal photographs. The sensitive content for some visitors was the one that criticized museums, as well as the migrants dressed as marines and photographs of socialites. But while the museum was trying to conceal part of the content, it sentenced it to silence. According to Bohórquez: “They weren’t protecting the artist but the patrons.”
The second thing that was problematic about the artwork was that it actually questioned the financial network behind the investment in the museum. There were photos of the politicians and businessmen that had ruled and controlled the country for almost a century. For example, in one visual, the personal relationship between the ex-president Miguel Alemán and the Nazi agent Hilde Kruger was exposed. In this respect, Ventura was told by the director’s museum that the use of the image of Miguel Alemán in relation with the Nazi was uncomfortable. Here it is worth mentioning that Alemán’s son led the first fundraising campaign for MUAC. There were also some other leading patrons who were shown with
NILC, dollar and
swastika signs juxtaposed – like the rest of the exhibition’s components. Accompanying these, Milton
Friedman appeared wrapped in spaghetti–shaped excrement emerging from a spoon. Finally, it was apparent that
the photos of socialites taken from magazines posed the biggest threat
for the museum’s authorities, exposing the personal nature of the conflict.
Due to these incidents, several months before the opening, the staff of the museum and university asked the artist to change some parts of the installation. The museum’s director, Graciela de la Torre, and other significant figures, such as the director of the UNAM’s Department of Cultural Activities, started making arguments and thinking of ways to rid the institution of Ventura’s project. From that time onwards, the museum made several attempts to alter, postpone or cancel the exhibition. At the beginning there were a number of fruitless phone calls and meetings. Later, several academics, theorists, and curators visited Ventura’s studio, which was supposed to generate debate in favor or against the piece. But whatever came of these discussions, it was never passed on to the artist or the curator. At one point Ventura offered to disguise the identity of the public figures, but De la Torre declined the proposal. Then the artist wrote a letter to her saying: “In recent years, it has been one of my goals to make projects that cannot be packed or labeled for tiny market niches, but that are developed by their own energy according to the place where they are produced. This is a theoretical, political, ethical, and aesthetic decision.” For Ventura, culture has become a kind of delirium, where censorship reflects the numbness of a society that passively accepts the reality created by the powerful elite. In the institution’s point of view, this wasn’t censorship but an attempt to communicate to the artist that his work was insulting people. Nonetheless, the artist and the curator threatened to present the case at an international level, a move which ended the institution’s attempt at censorship. “We would never consider opening a contemporary art museum with a censorship scandal”, said the Director of Programming and International Affairs, Julieta Giménez Cacho, in an interview.
Furthermore, contrary to the MUAC’s intention, described by the director as a museum that could “…move away from grandiloquent and nationalist artist discourses”, the
NILC used the UNAM’s motto “Por mi raza hablará el espíritu” (Through my race, the spirit will speak) in
some of the exhibition corridors, and drew attention to the Nazi inclinations
of one of Mexico’s most influential figures in education, José Vasconcelos. In
the installation, Ventura quoted phrases from the Timón magazine –a publication that Vasconcelos directed in the
forties. “Just like the Germans, the French, English, Belgians, Scandinavians,
Americans and so forth will recognize the greatness of Hitler…”
was one such phrase.
In this sense, a privileged Jewish Mexican group asked for the exhibition to be censored after it opened. Alongside their claims, the Mexican historian, Enrique Krauze –purportedly one of the leading authorities on Vasconcelos in Mexico– was one of the fiercest critics of Cantos Cívicos. Because Krauze’s argument was similar to that of many of the writers who displayed opposition to the work, it would be helpful to make an evaluation of his claims.
The historian maintained that there were three missing elements in the piece. The first of these referred to the absence of elements from the totalitarian communist outcomes, and their victims. However, as will be argued, this concern arose from the implicit assumption that the work was a leftist piece of ideology. As stated at the beginning of this essay, the arrival of the left-wing party in government characterized the political milieu of the city. On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Krauze has been known for being a sympathizer of liberal democracy and the federal government. Krauze’s reading was based on the assumption that there was a leftist partisan attitude, trying to minimize the errors made by communism. In recent years, he has pointed out that a new type of anti-Semitism has started to appear, mainly in the academic sphere and some organs of the press: “the leftist anti-Semitism.” His perspective was focused on the fact that Nazism and anti-Americanism in Mexico –seen as a leftist tendency– were culturally related. But regardless of political affiliations, the purpose of the piece was to unmask the perverse relationships between images and the dominant ideology in the country; unveiling what in Lacanian terms could be named the return of the repressed. According to the Lacanian analyst Manuel Hernández, Cantos Cívicos was not referring to Nazism in its historical manifestation, but rather constructing a parody of it. He has stated that: “Nazism will not happen ever again under the historical form in which it occurred because it emerged from a multitude of historical, political, ideological, and economical conditions, which are very specific, and non-repeatable. But an analogue phenomenon could still emerge. And that is why it is important to question Nazism in its operational form.”
The second absent element was the lack of differentiation between Hitler and Milton Friedman or the Nazi horror and the “injustices attributable to the market economy or American troops in Iraq”. In this point, Krauze was criticizing the juxtaposition between dollar and swastika sings. Other political analysts described this analogy as superficial, simplistic, and Manichean. But as the art historian Irmgard Emmelhainz has pointed out, the Mexican Muralists had made this association before. For example, José Clemente Orozco, Leopoldo Méndez, or Chávez Morado, at the Taller de Gráfica Popular. As she has explained, this juxtaposition appeared in Diego Rivera’s mural at the National Palace. In the section of class struggle Marx is the central figure in the dramatization. In Cantos Cívicos Milton Friedman is represented in a similar way. But the difference between this association and that of Rivera comes from the components of Ventura’s installation. It refers to the combination of those elements and their relation with pornographic images. This alludes to what the philosopher Beatriz Preciado stated in her book Testo Yonqui (2008): “The true raw material of contemporary productive processes are excitement, the erection, ejaculation, pleasure, and the feeling of self-indulgence and omnipotent control. The true motor of contemporary capitalism is the pharmacopornographic control of subjectivity.” In that context, even money can be turned into a psychotropic abstract signifier. In this sense, according to Preciado, the addict and sexual body, sex and all its semiotic-technical derivatives, are the main sources of post-Fordist capitalism. According to the words of Manuel Hernandéz, in Cantos Cívicos: “When the swastikas are set out in continuity with the dollar sign, it is not just about prestige, but the solution that the hyper-technological postmodern world gives to the crisis produced by the fall of the metanarratives: money. Through money shares of power are obtained, and power establishes truth and legitimacy criteria, that at the same time generate money.”
Finally, Krauze mentions the total absence of the Holocaust’s “images, numbers, texts”. In his point of view, a critic of Nazism has the obligation to refer to the Holocaust. In synthesis, according to Krauze, what was ignored was the pain: “The pain is not in the exhibition. That pain is concealed in the exhibition.” However, in his critique Krauze fails to notice the dead bodies of U.S.-nationalized migrant soldiers in Iraq. Moreover, Emmelhainz has analyzed Krauze’s argument, responding that: “…creating a ‘parodic archeology’ of the visual culture of National-Socialism, and juxtaposing it with neoliberal and neo-colonialist motives (among others), Cantos Cívicos unveils the virtual actualization of radical evil: that postulates (in a discursive inversion), not the Holocaust as the unthinkable, but National-Socialism as a group of values, political practices, aesthetics and social forms inherent to a collective unconscious, the product of a certain vision that contains radical evil.” In Emmelhainz’s opinion the missing element in Krauze’s argument is the omission of the colonial elements in the piece. According to Bohórquez, the response of the institution was to hold a lot of parallel events, such as a film program about the Holocaust. This gesture showed that there was a feeling of guilt within the institution.
IV. The mixture
As has been stated, the
NILC was interested in breaking
several moral and aesthetic rules. Thus the mixing of the innocents and the perpetrators
featured heavily in the arguments against the work. The piece was tagged as an
by Soledad Loaeza (Political Sciences professor and researcher); as a
“confusing carnival of signs in which everything is equal and all is the same”
by Krauze; or as “a jumble […] of mixed and confusing, useless things”
by Leo Zuckermann (political expert). Actually, Ventura himself described Cantos Cívicos as cheap, “in bad taste”
and poorly manufactured.
Like a blender, the
NILC liquefied the signs owned by the
ruling power, with the social remainders of that same power’s operations. The misery
expended in the realm of production is usually in a state of exclusion, however,
this time it was represented in the installation. In this way, in Cantos Cívicos the expenditure, in a Bataillean
sense, was present. War victims or images of excrement were contrasted with the
symbols and expressions of an extremely luxurious society, or the art world.
The exclusion of misery is problematized by the French thinker, Georges
Bataille, who wrote: “As dreadful as it is, human misery has never had a strong
enough hold on societies to cause the concern for conservation… misery was
excluded from all social activity. And the miserable have no other way of
re-entering the circle of power than through the revolutionary destruction of
the classes occupying that circle – in other words, through a bloody and in no
way limited social expenditure.”
Thus, in Ventura’s work, the symbolic re-entry of misery in social activity
comes as a sumptuous expenditure. Luxury, as filth, is the accursed share that
flew out from a wound; it implies the sacrifice and the loss. It provides the
appearance of an end, a necessity of the production system. This, according to
Bataille, dominates the concern for unproductive expenditure.
In his work, L’abjection et les formes misérables Bataille points out how societies are constructed necessarily on a social order, where the abject things constitute the foundation of collective existence. He links abjection to “the inability to assume with sufficient strength the imperative act of excluding”. Taken from its Latin root, the term abjectus (abiicêre) derives from iacere: to throw. The abject brings together a mixture of diverse concepts such as the low and despicable, the ignoble and miserable, the extremely unpleasant and degrading, or the self-abasing. According to Bataille, the abject is the outside getting in or the inside getting out. The abject is the negative, the mixed, the immoral, the contrary, and a threat to one’s existence against the other’s. The abjection is an opposition to ‘I’ (moi), because the subject finds the impossible in itself. In conclusion the abject brings about the dilution of identity.
The aesthetics of Cantos Cívicos did not respect the established rules of representation imposed by minimalism, abstraction, or other mainstream conventions. Here of course, we should include the Museum as part of the mixture. Ventura’s architecture was unacceptable because it was loaded with sexual and death desires at once. As the French philosopher Julia Kristeva writes: “Defilement is what is jettisoned from the ‘symbolic system’. It is what escapes that social rationality, that logical order on which a social aggregate is based, which then becomes differentiated from a temporary agglomeration of individuals and, in short, constitutes a classification system or a structure.”
NILC made an association between a system and the
production of its remainders. It articulated an excluded problem of a reality imposed
by the ruling class in Mexico. Thus, what the critics were asking of the piece
was order, structure, and over all, respect for their symbolic system.
The norms of procedure in a society reflect social desires. In turn this process reflects a desire for a totalizing form of reality. This reminds us of what Bataille said about museums: “According to the Grande Encyclopédie, the first museum in the modern sense of the word (that is to say the first public collection) would seem to have been founded on 27 July 1793, in France, by the Convention. The origin of the modern museum would thus be linked to the development of the guillotine.” In the museum, the executioners are the critics who are trying to confirm a symbolic order where a mixture could be considered obscene. In this sense, Ventura performs an intensive overflowing of affectivity: “…which disrupts the functioning of the law in order to demonstrate the aesthetic mechanism of the contemporary desiring machine: capitalism” in the words of Mexican art historian José Luis Barrios.
V. Institution versus the individual
When the exhibition opened its doors to the public, several requests to cancel it were made by different groups, such as Emilio Azcárraga Jean, the son of the founder of Televisa Group. The Jewish group mentioned above managed to have the exhibition blacklisted by all Mexican synagogues. But the strongest reaction was that the MUAC and Miguel Ventura were sued by one of the women whose photograph appeared in the exhibition. Moral damages against her person were claimed, with compensation sought of eight hundred thousand dollars.
The museum never released a public statement in response to all the media attention. In the only declaration the director made, she affirmed: “I accept full responsibility.” This is ironic, if we consider that the way UNAM absolved itself from the legal case was, precisely, with a letter signed by Ventura freeing the museum of any responsibility regarding the content. When Ventura refused to alter the exhibition, the institution asked him to sign a contract in which he would take full responsibility in the event of any legal complaint. In this way, the museum would be released of the content and from the artist’s opinions and posture. The argument used by the institution in the legal document read: “…the defendant Miguel Ventura, in the fourth clause… promised to release my client [the MUAC] from any complaints that could be presented by any physical person or legal entity that may be affected by the exhibition of the work… entitled Cantos Cívicos.”
From that period there remains a sign at the main entrance of the building that reads: “The Museum refuses any liability for the content of the exhibitions. The works therein exclusively reflect the point of view of the artists.”
VI. Other people
Nonetheless the piece was a huge success. Bohórquez remembers very long lines of people waiting to get into the installation, while the rest of the exhibitions attracted much less visitors. The public: children, indigenous groups, Orthodox Jews, politicians and intellectuals, families that came back to see the exhibition for the second or third time. In her own words: “It was a piece in permanent change. It was alive. People were taking the magnets and touching them all the time. The majority of people didn’t even notice the public figures, who were recognizable only to the ruling class.” In this sense, the piece was speaking on different levels to diverse publics. At a time, it attacked the bond with ‘powerful’ people and it played-out its seduction to ‘powerless’ visitors.
To return to Hernández’s argument, Cantos Cívicos pointed out “…that for factual and legitimate powers, the actual victims are the children.” According to Hernández, the piece put into question the notion of pedagogy itself, that is, the perverse aspect of “leading children” according to which even adults let themselves be treated as children in a society of the spectacle, where the cultural industry is not the exception. Even though, from Bohórquez’s perspective, people understood the main argument and remember Ventura as an artist who took risks, and who was always there to face the visitors’ questions. According to her “Ventura was never attacked by the public but by the museum. The aggression came inside the museum, not from the people.
Therefore, several questions remain open. We should ask ourselves what the implications are of working with institutions that set out to free themselves of responsibilities. Does this really imply a pluralist or an inclusive scenario?
In my personal view the experience with the piece asks questions about whom art is directed towards and in what way its critical discourse can be operated. But what comes into play is the construction of a narrative. Cantos Cívicos confronted the discourse of an institution and its ideal of continuity. Because it is an act of self-annihilation, Ventura –as many have let him know– cannot now find spaces to show his work. It is an inside movement that takes as its enemy its own system; there is no way of recreating it that does not entail a gesture of destruction that feeds on the crisis in order to overcome the frontiers that account for its own existence. Irreconcilable antagonism is the scenario for the revolt. Ventura’s work has signaled more than once that to believe in freedom is only a belief; it would be a mistake to think otherwise, while we are subjugated to dominant class narratives. And here is where
NILC’s question raises its voice: “which
language will be the new reductive asshole?”
· Bataille, Georges. “The Notion of Expenditure”, Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985.
· _________. “Museum,” in Encyclopedia Acephalica: Comprising the Critical Dictionary and Related Texts, eds. Georges Bataille, Isabelle Waldberg, and Robert Lebel, trans. Iain White (London: Atlas Press, 1995), p. 64.
· Bohórquez, Vanessa. Personal Interview. March 26th, 2013. My translation.
· Cantos Cívicos Blogspot, November 5th, 2009. Web. April 5th, 2013.
· Cantos Cívicos. Un proyecto de NILC en colaboración con Miguel Ventura, Mexico City: MUAC-UNAM, 2008
· Cedillo, Juan Alberto. Los Nazis en México, Mexico City: Debate.
· Contestación de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México a los agravios presentados en el Juicio Ordinario Civil con EXP.:275/2010 Dirigido al C. Juez Trigésimo Segundo de lo Civil del Distrito Federal, March 30th, 2012. Cláusula 1ª.
· Cordero Reimann, Karen. Personal Interview. March 18th, 2013. My translation.
· “Da Krauze su vision de Vasconcelos”, Reforma, November 15th 2011. Web. March 18th, 2013
· De Nieves, Juan. Personal Interview. March 22th, 2013. My translation.
· _________. Written email communication with Graciela de la Torre. August 20th, 2008.
· “El MUAC. Lo sumado hasta hoy”, MUAC, UNAM, n.d., Web March 15th, 2013.
· “Estatuto de Gobierno del Distrito Federal” Consejería Jurídica y de Asuntos Legales. Gobierno del Distrito Federal. July 26th, 1994. Web March 15th, 2013.
· Giménez Cacho, Julieta. Programmer and International Affairs Secretary at the UNAM. Personal interview. March 22th, 2013.
· Hernández Manuel, “La trampa.” Non-published document. A smaller version can be found at Des-bordes.net.
· “Inicia actividades el patronato del MUAC”, El Universal, September 12th, 2012. Web. April 5th, 2013-
· “Judge Oks Hostess’s Twinkies, Ding Donss Sale.” FOX Business, n.d. Web. April 5th 2013.
· Kristeva Julia, The Powers of Horror, New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.
· Krauze, Enrique. “Cantos Nazis”, Reforma, February 8th, 2009. Web. March 18th, 2013.
· _________, “Contra un graffiti, Reforma, October, 9th, 2005. Web. March 18th, 2013.
· Loaeza Soledad, “Exhibición”, La Jornada, January 20th, 2009. Web. April 2nd, 2013.
· León Medina, Mariana. “El MUAC: lo único que le faltaba al Centro Cultural Universitario”, CANAL 22, Web. March 18th, 2013
· “Mejía Montes, Martha Matilde- ZIMAT Consultores”, Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales, n.d., Web. March 18th, 2013
· “MUAC: Teodoro González de León”, Arquitectura Muy Mexicana, n.d. Web. March 15th, 2013
NILC. New Interterritorial Language Committee. DATE Mexico City:
Trilce, 2003. Print.
· Oxford Dictionary. Web. March 29th, 2013.
· Parish Flannery, Nathaniel, “From Bullets to Bistros: the Mexico City Miracle”, February 5th , 2013. Web.March 15th, 2013.
· Preciado Beatriz, Testo Yonqui Madrid: Espasa, 2008, 36.
· “Semblanza Crítica e Histórica de Gottfried Ohms” Cantos Cívicos Blogspot, n.d., Web. April 4th, 2013.
· “Señal de Paga Eleva Ganancias de Televisa”, El Economista, February 25th, 2013.Web. March 26th 2013
· Televisa, n.d. Web. March 26th, 2013.
· Timón. Revista continental, vol.1 num. 7, 1940, 7 quoted on Cedillo, Juan Alberto. Los nazis en México, Mexico City: Debate, 114.
· Toussaint Florence, “Televisa y Azteca ¿Duopolio Televisivo?” Proceso, January 30th, 2012. Web March 26th, 2013.
· Ventura, Miguel. Letter to Graciela de la Torre. August 8th, 2008.
· _________. Personal interview. March 20th 2013. My translation
· _________. De Nieves, Juan, “Americas Society talk. Miguel Ventura / Juan de Nieves.”
· “Yo disiento de Cantos Cívicos” El Universal, Thursday, March 12th, 2009. Web. March 30th, 2013.
· Zuckermann Leo, ““Juegos de poder, Una mala decisión de la UNAM.”Excélsior, January 13th, 2009. Web. April 2nd, 2013
crossed out in the same way as the Lacanian subject is divided, and also
crossed out; in Ventura’s discourse the great Other, and the symbolic order
itself is also crossed out, due to the absence at its heart.
 Albores, Monserrat. “Are Gays Really Retarded? (And the Anaesthetics of Belonging).”
NILC. New Interterritorial Language Committee.
DATE Mexico City: Trilce, 2003. 173. Print.
 The PMS Dilema (2003), produced in the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil México, D.F.
 Debroise, Olivier, “Enigma-Ventura”,
 This language was based on a Swahili manual published by a real Interterritorial Language Committee in 1929 – a British colonial institution that aimed to establish Swahili as the lingua franca within the British colonies of southeastern Africa as a tool of domination within this territory. Thus for the
creation of a lingua franca was the
necessary next step to attain its goals.
 Albores, 176.
 It was not until the late 90s that the residents of the city could directly elect the mayor and the representatives of a single-chamber Legislative Assembly by popular vote. In 1987 the Federal District received a degree of autonomy, with the elaboration of the first Statute of Government (Estatuto de Gobierno), and the creation of an Assembly of Representatives. The statute of Government was declared by the Union Congress and approved by the Mexican President, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, on July 26th, 1994. “Estatuto de Gobierno del Distrito Federal” Consejería Jurídica y de Asuntos Legales. Gobierno del Distrito Federal. July 26th, 1994. Web March 15th, 2013.
 Crime in Mexico City has decreased considerably since the 90s with the implementation of security cameras and other kinds of programs and laws. Parish Flannery, Nathaniel, “From Bullets to Bistros: the Mexico City Miracle”, February 5th, 2013. Web. March 15th, 2013. Also, numerous initiatives have been adopted, such as the expansion of subway lines, the Metrobus public transport network, a second level for the city beltway, and diverse laws have been approved; for example, abortion was legalized in 2007, and same-sex marriage in 2010.
 “El MUAC. Lo sumado hasta hoy”, MUAC, UNAM, n.d., Web March 15th, 2013. In an interview, Gustavo Avilés, the architect in charge of the lighting project of the MUAC said: “We took a decision to use natural light as a message of renewal and the hope that things will endure. […] Our interest is in recovering the original values of light […] and the way this impacts our social orientation […] Mexicans are linked to this, we are a culture of the sun, our ancestors were extraordinary designers of illumination.” “MUAC: Teodoro González de León”, Arquitectura Muy Mexicana, n.d. Web. March 15th, 2013.
 Ventura, Miguel. Personal interview. March 20th 2013. My translation
 Ventura, Miguel. “Americas Society talk. Miguel Ventura / Juan de Nieves.” Cantos Cívicos Blogspot, November 5th, 2009. Web. April 5th, 2013.
 This contrasted with the exhibition at the EACC where the entrance was situated outside of the museum, as the artist requested. However when the request was made of MUAC it proved impossible to construct.
 Here the artist constructs an imaginary globalized world in which some critics, also imaginary, make the argument about the relationship between economic and cultural dominance. “Semblanza Crítica e Histórica de Gottfried Ohms.” Cantos Cívicos Blogspot, n.d., Web. April 4th, 2013.
 Animals were taken care of by students from the University Veterinary School and demanded 3 to 4 hours of care a day. Ventura, Miguel. “Americas ...”
 Because of the requirements for the rats to live in suitable conditions, it wasn’t possible to install the animal facility in Castelló. However, this led the artist to begin a close relationship with psychologists and animal surgeons at the UNAM. Idem
 Each tube represents a pre-determined song. By a series of motion detectors and lights, the human choruses would know which songs to sing, while standing on movable tiered benches pushed by helpers. A total of 24 original arrangements were sung by a chorus of 30 children in their original versions, arranged by the Mexican composer Alejandra Hernandez, while 20 adults sang
NILC versions of the
same songs, which consisted of arrangements made of inverted and missing notes
so that at times the compositions have nothing to do with their original
versions and resemble dodecaphonic compositions. Idem
 A repertoire of 12 songs such as Que será será, Edelweiss, Bless the Beasts and the Children, Live is Life, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, Ben, other popular hits like Omochano Cha Cha Cha from Japan, No controles from Mexico, two Nazi songs: Die Fahne Hoch-the Nazi Party hymn and Es zittern die morschen knochen (The rotten bones are trembling)-a song of the Hitler Youth, and two Spanish Falangist hymns-Falangista soy and Juventud. Idem.
 De Nieves was the director of the EACC who invited Ventura to produce Cantos Civicos in Spain.
 De Nieves Juan, “Americas …”
 Ventura, Miguel. Personal...
 This was one of the first times that curators were confronted with the piece because in the exhibition done at the EACC, only a technician was sent. De Nieves, Juan. Personal Interview. March 22th, 2013.
 Bohórquez, Vanessa. Personal Interview. March 26th, 2013..
 In Mexico, the majority of public institutions have found a way to get money from private investors by forming Civil Associations in order to get the money faster, and without having to pay taxes. Principal donors include the Televisa Foundation, the largest mass media company in Latin America and in the Spanish-speaking world. Recently, Televisa has created a media duopoly in the country (Televisa, n.d. Web. March 26th, 2013. // Toussaint Florence, “Televisa y Azteca ¿Duopolio Televisivo?” Proceso, January 30th, 2012. Web March 26th, 2013.// “Señal de Paga Eleva Ganancias de Televisa”, El Economista, February 25th, 2013. Web. March 26th 2013.); the Foundation owned by Alfredo Harp Helú, a Mexican businessman of Lebanese origin, and as of 2013, on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people with a net worth of $1.5 billion; and Martha Mejía Montes (who was an Advisor to the Board of Mexican Business, and worked for Monsanto as a consultant. She was recently part of the transition team for the current President Enrique Peña Nieto – the election he won has been questioned due to his relationship with Televisa, which is seen as complicit in the excessive management of his image and the news they broadcast during the election period) (“Mejía Montes, Martha Matilde- ZIMAT Consultores”, Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales, n.d., Web. March 18th, 2013). At the end of the last year, the MUAC announced the creation of the “Fondo de Arte Contemporáneo, A.C.” (Contemporary Art Fund), whose founding members include Aimée Labarrere De Servitje, wife of the owner of the biggest baking company in the world, Bimbo (“Judge OKs Hostess’s Twinkies, Ding Dongs Sale.” FOX Business, n.d. Web. April 5th 2013). On the other hand, the museum’s program of acquisitions for 2012 was 60% made up of “the UNAM strategic alliances”, and 40% by the Chamber of Deputies. (“Inicia actividades el patronato del MUAC”, El Universal, September 12th, 2012. Web. April 5th, 2013)
 Ventura, Miguel. Letter to Graciela de la Torre. August 8th, 2008.
 Miguel Alemán Velasco (a former governor of the State of Veracruz and the son of a former president of Mexico). It is worth mentioning that during the 60s a statue of Alemán’s father was knocked down by a student uprising.
 Cordero Reiman was part of the Academic Committee at the MUAC by then. Cordero Reiman, Karen. Personal Interview. March 18th, 2013..
 Ventura, Miguel. Letter...
 He also said: “I am not a young artist, I’m 54 years old, so I don’t have the same expectations that a younger artist would have from a gallery, museum and the other tantalizing galaxy of dealers and collectors lurking out there as well as the tempting material profits we all know about. On the contrary, I am distrustful, in this post 9/11 world we live in, of the excessive commercial activities of galleries and the art world in general and the dubious liaisons between galleries, critics, museums and artists. On the one hand, the art world mimics Milton Friedman’s ideal scenario of the open market on a predatory scale, and on the other, it shares the superficial trivialities and passing whims of the fashion world.” Idem.
 Giménez Cacho was the Director of Programming and International Affairs at the UNAM at the time. Giménez Cacho, Julieta. Personal interview. March 22th, 2013.
 Once a final warning threatening cancellation of the exhibition was sent by the director, De Nieves answered her: “I request that you officially inform me of this decision so I can communicate this to the international artistic community”. De Nieves, Juan. Written email communication with Graciela de la Torre. August 20th, 2008.
 León Medina, Mariana. “El MUAC: lo único que le faltaba al Centro Cultural Universitario”, CANAL 22, Web. March 18th, 2013
 Timón. Revista continental, vol. 2 num. 15, July 1st, 1940, 29.
 “Da Krauze su vision de Vasconcelos”, Reforma, November 15th 2011. Web. March 18th, 2013
 “Since the seventies, after several decades of agreement with regard to the Jewish subject (sum of genuine compassion for the Holocaust and sympathy for the State of Israel, or at least for its utopian and socialist roots)…” Krauze, Enrique, “Contra un graffiti, Reforma, October, 9th, 2005. Web. March 18th, 2013.
 “That current had to do more with an old feeling of anti-Americanism than with a particular aversion towards the 40,000 Jews, who had peacefully and productively come to the country.” Idem.
 Hernández Manuel, “La trampa.” Non-published document. A smaller version can be found at Des-bordes.net.
 Soledad Loaeza (2008), Suckermann (2008) and Krauze (2008).
 El circo politico (1936-1939)
 Libertad… para asesinar al pueblo (1938)
 La risa del pueblo (1939)
 Emmelhainz, Irmgard,
 Preciado Beatriz, Testo Yonqui Madrid: Espasa, 2008, 36.
 Hernández Manuel, “La trampa…
 Krauze, Enrique. “Cantos Nazis”, Reforma, February 8th, 2009. Web. March 18th, 2013.
 According to the author, because of this, “Ventura produces not a denouncing, but a trivialization”. Idem.
 Loaeza Soledad, “Exhibición”, La Jornada, January 20th, 2009. Web. April 2nd, 2013.
 Krauze Enrique, “Cantos Nazis”, Letras Libres, February 10th, 2009. Web. April 2nd, 2013.
 Zuckermann Leo, “Juegos de poder, Una mala decisión de la UNAM.”Excélsior, January 13th, 2009. Web. April 2nd, 2013
 Ventura, Miguel. Personal...
 Bataille, Georges. The Accursed Share, 30-31.
 Bataille, Georges. “The Notion of Expenditure”, Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985, 172.
 Kristeva, Julia, The Powers of Horror, New York: Columbia University Press, 1982, 64.
 Oxford Dictionary. Web. March 29th, 2013.
 Kristeva. Op. cit. 65.
 Georges Bataille, “Museum,” in Encyclopedia Acephalica: Comprising the Critical Dictionary and Related Texts, eds. Georges Bataille, Isabelle Waldberg, and Robert Lebel, trans. Iain White (London: Atlas Press, 1995), 64.
 Barrios, José Luis “De la fábrica transparente a la máquina defecadora del arte contemporáneo”, Cantos cívicos. Un proyecto de NILC en colaboración con Miguel Ventura, Mexico City: MUAC-UNAM, 2008, 56.
 Ventura, Miguel. Personal...
 Giménez Cacho, Julieta. Personal ...
 “Yo disiento de Cantos Cívicos” El Universal, Thursday, March 12th, 2009. Web. March 30th, 2013.
 Contestación de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México a los agravios presentados en el Juicio Ordinario Civil con EXP.:275/2010 Dirigido al C. Juez Trigésimo Segundo de lo Civil del Distrito Federal, March 30th, 2012. Cláusula 1z.
 Bohórquez, Vanessa. Personal Interview. March 26th, 2013. My translation.
 Hernández Manuel. Op. cit.
 Bohórquez, Vanessa. Personal...
 To mention just one case, he was later expelled from an exhibition curated by Karen Cordero held at the Museo del Chopo, where Alma Rosa Jiménez was the director.