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Reinaldo Agosteguis

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Series: 023 – RE-WRITINGS

Throughout my life I have developed my professional and artistic-intellectual activities mainly in two fields of work, the first one linked to my activity as an architect, which generates a close personal and almost daily relationship with people from the popular sectors belonging to the Construction guild, certainly very diverse in its sociological composition and a use of mainly colloquial language, in addition to the use of slang, forms of expression, tastes, social behaviors and certain codes in the use of language, clearly characterize a social sector defined as popular.

The second case is related to the academic field from teaching experiences at the tertiary level, from artistic practice over 30 years and from experiences in writing as a collaborator in different media. My curious spirit led me to learn from other disciplines and authors that generated important qualitative mutations in my conception of society and the role of culture and art in the XXI century, all of this from the considerations that I will explain later on. This long process led me to become aware of the need to reformulate the theoretical supports and foundations of the disciplines I practice.

In this sense, this second field requires a specific, precise and rigorous language. I will only mention by way of example the reading of Argentines such as J.L. Borges, D. Sarmiento, Ezequiel M. Estrada, just to mention a few examples. Sarmiento, Ezequiel M. Estrada, just to mention a few examples, the English empiricists, F. Nietzsche, M. Heidegger, J. Derrida, M. Foucault, R. Barthes, etc.

Living with these two worlds in unison, their cosmogonies and their modes of expression during a good part of my existence together with the readings of the mentioned authors as well as investigating the currents of thought that developed from the last third of the twentieth century, mainly in the field of philosophy and its notorious influence on the theory of art and particularly the approach of linguistics in a broad sense and the profound changes that generated and generate in the way to review the past and to produce new and different knowledge. In this sense, I will only mention the Linguistic Turn. The concept of Hybridization, Polysemy and Syncretism (Garcia Canglini), of Culture (Eduardo Gruner), Deconstruction (J. Derrida), etc.

All of the above, together with other factors that are not possible to mention for reasons of space, led me to begin another stage in this long and winding road of art.

The above constitutes a theoretical scaffolding that led me to lateralize or temporarily set aside the traditional image accepted as the only and maximum expression of our discipline in order to value the word and the infinite possibilities it intrinsically possesses to be the protagonist of the adventure of knowledge and at the same time generate critical thinking and tend to the creation of a critical and active observer, convinced that thought is action.

Convinced of the power of the word, in some cases my texts-images whisper like a hopeful song and in others vomit the shit synonymous with disgust of a degraded social system in a world with deep contradictions and absurdities, such as violence in all its forms and hunger just to mention a few.

I consider that my work is basically a process of intellectual reflection and research using the old method of observation and trial and error of the experimental spirit, and in it are inserted aspects linked to a “social order” and political philosophy, recognizing that such character rescues a minority tradition in the cultural field, from which arises the fusion of several disciplines, among them I will mention fundamentally, the plastic, literature and some trends of contemporary art and at the same time certain practices of experimental art with which I feel identified. That is why I rescue the spirit that guided some movements and artists that I consider my referents and guides, in this sense to highlight the movement of concrete poetry in Brazil, Anthropophagy Manifesto, postwar Lettrism in France, Dada, Fluxus and in our Argentina, Tucuman Arde, Carlos Romero, Arte Correo, E.A. Vigo, L. Ferrari and Escombro group among others.

The fact of decisively overcoming the belief installed for many centuries that language, texts are reduced to the function of communication, to assume that after a profound revision and questioning they are generators of knowledge, thought and action, in addition to communicating, they become a new scaffolding where it is possible to rely on to begin to reformulate other artistic proposals.

In this sense, I would like to quote L. Wittgestein “The limits of language are the limits of my world” and M. Heidegger “Language is the dwelling of being” and J. Derrida “There is nothing outside the text” and the theory of Deconstruction.

Undoubtedly, these authors, together with other post-structuralist thinkers and the concept of the Linguistic Turn, produce a Copernican change in the way of interpreting and using language and texts.
Trying to avoid the extension of this paper, I only wish to mention some outstanding aspects with the greatest possible synthesis of the socio-political-cultural present, in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, as it constitutes the cultural context that is the specific field of our work and makes it possible to frame this proposal or artistic discourse. These aspects are, to a great extent, determinant to approach this stage of my work and to decisively incorporate the word-image, text-image.

The hegemony of the so-called capitalist system with all the connotations that the term entails is recognized at a planetary level, I interpret that it is going through a stage of consolidation and expansion imposing its cultural logic, it is necessary to mention the concept of cultural hegemony of A. Gramsci to understand that the cultural hegemony that capitalism has been generating in the period described above, imprints a strong imprint of aestheticization in all fields. Gramsci to understand that the cultural hegemony that capitalism has been generating in the period described above, prints a strong imprint of aestheticization in all fields, articles of all nature of everyday use are named after artists, which produces fetishism in its highest expression, a true example of “appropriation of the “market” to the artistic field, example: The cars are model Picasso, without a doubt we are co-opted protagonists of the society of the spectacle to which the artist Guy Devord, one of the founders of the French lyricist movement half a century ago, referred to. In this sense I allow myself an irony. F. Nietzsche you were wrong, God did not die transmuted into money.
The aestheticization of politics and life where the image is decisively imposed as a tool of seduction and colonization of subjectivities. It translates into a profusion in variety and quantity of images to impose its “logic”, this change of cultural matrix or climate or tendency is what is called cultural hegemony, a precondition to generate political changes, all this according to the Gramscian conception, from which arises the importance of the role of culture in social-political changes.

The image produced by the media (advertising, news, news programs, etc.) used as a political tool has a clear and in some cases underhanded intention to impose its “truths”. The image is profaned in its essence and the word is withdrawn to lose its power and with it its capacity to reflect and produce changes.
From or in spite of the above, I begin this stage of my work by making use of that effective and ancient instrument that is the word and its value. Asking, dialoguing, inquiring, questioning, affirming and/or denying, taking from popular or colloquial speech expressions that have multiple meanings in the light of the socio-cultural context where they are pronounced.

Reinaldo Agosteguis / visual artist / Viedma R.N. / Patagonia Argentina / 2020 / www.agosteguis.com.ar /