57 Transition

Zehar #57

57 Transition

In October of 1995, Zehar 29 featured an interview with Catherine David about documenta X. Some of the ideas that were analysed marked the editorial line of future issues; but that issue of Zehar also marked the beginning of a transition period, and from then on, the magazine worked with the idea of the archive as a documentary space.

Over the last few years, the development of digital technologies has made it possible to give a fresh impetus to the function of the archive. This plays a leading role in the contemporary art scene. Numerous works, events, exhibitions and publications have recently been organised around this idea. In a period of aesthetic excess, artistic interest is turning toward the document which becomes a new object of desire. However, the archive as an institution has a long history; traditionally it has been responsible for preserving the memory produced by different cultures, and this is where its great potential lies. The archive may now also be a temporary project, and documenta 12 magazine, in which Zehar has been invited to participate, is a good example. This project will work as a decentralised publishing tool that allows for the production and distribution of associated contents. It will mark a transition period in publishing art and contemporary culture magazines.

Transition is the name chosen for this issue; it is meant to convey the idea of progress and change. Although aware that these states sometimes cause instability, they also provide the basis for a dynamic interactive process. In this respect, it tackles two political transitions: the transition to democracy in Spain, which is dealt with briefly, and the transition in Armenia, which is presented through the voices of four citizens. The idea of dissent or, in the words of Chantal Mouffe, the concept of “friendly enemies” that Leire Vergara includes in her interview, and artistic practice as an aesthetic and political project, are the threads running through the various articles. This issue also analyses the future of cultural policies, which often serve to legitimise political interests, and the debate on financing artistic production. In the Forum section two new texts are presented about royalties and the licences that manage their rights.

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