Zehar #68


Zehar magazine has published its number 68 entitled MUTENESS. REPUBLICKED. A compilation of some of the most interesting texts published so far by the magazine.

Deputy for Culture and Basque Maria Jesus Aranburu


Zehar_LETTER_eng.pdf — PDF document, 3026Kb




What renders us mute is the pain of the future that we will never achieve, rather than

the nostalgia for times that will never return.  We are no longer a people, a country, a

community. Now we are a person, a human being, an individual, a citizen. Public squares no longer exist; there is no room for conflicts or agreements, each one has his or her own religion, his or her own god: oneself. We can participate in surveys, express our views over the Internet, leave comments here and there; it’s good to bloat statistics; we are the audience, and there is a desire to produce

culture using that very model.

We are the audience: we are merely consumers with no other ties, devoid of solidarity; at the end of the day, we are just what capital needs. We give our best to our work, we devote our friends, our brains, our time to it. And leisure is productive, too: we are the audience, we read newspapers, we watch videos over the Internet, we go to the cinema, we watch television. Here’s a delightful paradox: people out of work are always working. Or looking for work. We wander around, we have our roots in the satellites, while beneath there is no earth, nothing but the horror of falling into the abyss at any moment. We lack models of a

different kind.

But what are we to pin our hopes on? Right now the resignation of the State is complete, we have used public funds to pay off private debts. And when put beside

capital, the power of the public institutions is pathetic. Those in power wander around aimlessly, the coming elections their only aim. And the structures under their control also wander aimlessly (because they are under their control). And muteness has prevailed.

Whoever remains silent has the ability to speak. Have those who end up mute retained the power to speak?



Even though no death notices have appeared  anywhere, Arteleku has breathed its last; if no one has noticed, the most likely reason could be that it’s been on its deathbed for ages. Now something else will be the heart of Tabakalera, the driving force behind the project, but it won’t be Arteleku any more. However, there’s no room for nostalgia. Nothing is in vain, and something always remains. One day these spheres will be swallowed up by oblivion, but in the meantime, all those reflections made here might yet have their uses. Many good people have passed through, and many good people have contributed to the Zehar magazine.

Delving into the past could be one way of starting to build the future. And that’s what

we’ve tried to do in this issue: to bring what sat in darkness into the light. The many interesting articles were kept just sitting there gathering the dust and waiting to see the light of day, and we’ve decided to publish them again. It’s a political exercise, if you like, because the concern underpinning the choice is also political. The very concept of public is what is at stake today, and not just in the sphere of culture. What are the ways of participating like today? The very idea of a public and critical sphere is what has declined and is being constantly transformed. We wanted to offer a forum for those texts dealing with that concern, so we can get a clearer idea about what has changed since past times, and what has not changed that much.

The streets have also changed, and it goes  without saying that town squares have,

too. Today, the squares are not like the old  ones, the way of life of people has changed  significantly within a matter of a few years, we  are more inclined towards domesticity now, and very likely more domesticated, too.

We asked Gari Garaialde to take photos of the squares; they portray a history, which, despite being right there in front of our eyes every day, is seen differently in photos.

What has become of that Res publica now?



ZEHAR_68_EN_WEB.pdf — PDF document, 4978Kb



The following is the roundtable on Society and Artists, which took place
in Arteleku on 23 March 1997 last with representatives from Spanish
associations of artists. The event involved Xanti Eraso (XE), Florenci
Guntín (FG), Begoña Hernández (BH), Poldi Langer (PL) and Marcelo
Expósito (ME).

MAHAINGURUA_EN.pdf — PDF document, 70Kb



When Nanni Moretti entitled his most recent film La Messa è Finita (The Mass is Over), he little knew how appropriate the term would turn out to be. Since when can a film critic be compared to a sort of priest whom people turn to from time to time to christen (with a little help from his pen) increasingly inferior audio-visual products as «films»? Since when has there been neither mass nor sermon? Since when has the audience —adults, at the end of the day— ceased to do just what they felt like? And since when has the great Cannes «party» become a cathodic slaughter? Be that as it may, now, in 1987, faced with the crisis in cinema (above all a crisis in cinema halls), in the little world of the «professionals of the trade» some are beginning to lose their spirit, and others to lose their cool.


DANEY_EN.pdf — PDF document, 64Kb



Private property
In order to establish what the category of public exhibitionism includes according to legislation against nudism, the state of Florida drew up a legal definition of buttocks:
Extract: The rear part of the human body located between two imaginary lines that run parallel to the ground when a person is standing, the first or highest line is located at the top of the separation between the glutei (i.e. the prominence formed by the muscles that run from the back of the hip to the back of the leg) and the second line is located at the lowest visible point of said separation or at the lowest point of the curvature of the fleshy protuberance, located at the lowest position in either of the two, and between two imaginary lines on each side of the body, which
run perpendicular to the ground and to the aforementioned horizontal lines, where said perpendicular lines run from the point at which each gluteus joins the outside part of each leg.

DILLIER_EN.pdf — PDF document, 86Kb



Preliminary notes, towards a postmodern and antagonistic art praxis

During the process of writing this piece, it has become something more I had intended,

though in its current state it is also something less. Initially, I had intended to reflect on the way that certain artistic and cultural practices currently operate from what Nancy Fraser calls their «postsocialist» condition. The purpose of the text was to widen the debate on what the conditions —and the functions, possibilities and goals— of a political art praxis should be in this country, for an antagonistic practise from the area of culture.


EXPOSITO_EN.pdf — PDF document, 88Kb



A note on Servicio Público
The book Servicio Público1 was an attempt to understand a specific historical situation and try to reflect it. This situation might be defined as a growing privatisation of public cultural services in the geo-political area of what are known as Western liberal democracies, a process that is still underway.

RIBALTA_EN.pdf — PDF document, 99Kb


The past weighs heavily

It is difficult to get scientists to see eye to eye on anything, but one thing they all agree on is that we shall never be able to journey to the past. A oneway trip to the future might be possible: they say one day we may be able to travel through space at incredible speeds, and after a year playing cards with the other crew members, return to Earth to find our great great grandson, now senile and locked up in a home. But, never, they say, will we be able to return to the past. It simply isn’t possible. The past is unrecoverable, it’s a fatal time.


JAIO_EN.pdf — PDF document, 60Kb


The twilight of the victim: creation quits its pimp, to rejoin resistance

Paradoxical subjectivity

Subjectivity is the living laboratory where worlds are created and others are dissolved.

The politics of subjectivation shift and change, along with their inherent relations to the world’s otherness: varied and variable combinations of two different ways of grasping the material world, either as a pattern of form or as a field of force —two modes of apprehension which in turn depend on the activation of different powers of subjectivity.


ROLNIK_EN.pdf — PDF document, 91Kb


The new, horror and art

In 1979, the poet and playwright Heiner Müller ended his guest speech to a debate in New York on postmodernism by saying: «Fear is the first image of hope, horror the first image of the new».

Müller’s axiom may be a good way of going straight to the matter in hand, and expressing my perplexity at the feeling that art is losing its ability to inspire the emergence of the new.


DOSSANTOS_EN.pdf — PDF document, 63Kb


Subject production and political art practise

At the moment both everyday life and cultural life seem to be dominated by a production aesthetic of coolness closely interwoven with lifestyle culture. «Crossover», «Gesamtkunstwerk Pop» and «Network» are the slogans of a young generation, growing up away from the social and economic change of post-Fordist society, and for whom the political has the function of an ornament. The so-called retro and crossover art, produced by the generation of artists that grew up with Gameboy and Playstation, predominantly refers to this lifestyle aspect, which has risen sharply in terms of its social status. This has, in turn, meant that subjectivity has itself become a commodity and the art that reflects it largely consists of clever re-combinations of signs given a speculative charge.


BABIAS_EN.pdf — PDF document, 78Kb


Spivak or the voice of the subaltern

A heterogeneous and fragmentary work
For this Indian author based in the United States, the postcolonial issue is in many ways heterogeneous but, it is in all cases a category that is run through by gender. Indeed, this is a crucial question which can be seen throughout her career: interrogating, searching, building the place of the gendered
postcolonial subject. Although her readings and interpretations of literary texts have often taken the stance of feminist theory, Spivak has gone to great lengths to stress the dangers of a feminist individualism that repeats and even exacerbates the postcolonial discourse without managing to escape the effects of its power.
In one of her most famous articles «Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism», she re-interprets Charlotte Brönte’s Jane Eyre in the light of a new interpretation of the role of Rochester’s first wife, the Creole Bertha Mason, in opposition to the canonical teachings of feminist criticism. Instead of seeing Bertha Mason as Jane’s alter ego, Spivak argues that she cannot be understood outside the «epistemic violence» of the discourse of nineteenth-century imperialism. The necessary counterpoint to Jane’s supposed liberation is the «animalisation» of the «native» subject.

CARBONELL_EN.pdf — PDF document, 69Kb
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