Table Politics

Sometimes a delirious image can be more real than all the pretended truths. Thus, is not politics truly like a table football in which invisible hands amuse themselves manipulating clumsy marionettes that desperately strive to kick the capital, trying to reach the red goal?

Image after Michelangelo's Creazione di Adamo (The Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel, 1511-1512) [pd], G-20 Seoul summit (2010) [ua-fu/fd] and Garlando F-1 Football Table [fu/fd].


Make Your Own Color Code!

We denounced the double standard prevailing in the system, the lie and the hypocrisy on which it is based. But perhaps the most alarming is the growing cynicism, the way this double standard is increasingly accepted without resistance, as an inevitable condition, as the more or less explicit rules of the game, that this double standard must be accepted in any case.

Image after United States Army's images of Abu Ghraib (2004) [pd].


Eagles of Peace

Our everyday objects are inscribed with the symbols of animal predation, of the law of the strongest. It is known that white doves symbolize peace; but this peace is rather an apparent and tense calman imminent threat, which would make doves run away.

Image after United States one-dollar bill (detail, 1957) [ua-fu/fd] and Heinz Hoyer and Sneschana Russewa-Hoyer's German one-euro coin [fu/fd].

Bilderberg Adyton

As the adyton of Greek temples --the central room inaccessible to the public in which the more secret events happened--, our so-called "democracies" contain spaces in the shadow, secret areas about which everyone, including our public representatives, keep quiet.

Image after James Stuart and Nicholas Revett's The Antiquities of Athens (1787) [pd] and M. M. Minderhoud's Bilderberg Hotel [fu/fd].


Moral Weightlifting

One of the basic strategies for debunking the transcendence of morality, whether Christian or capitalist, is to understand that it ultimately responds to a materialistic logic. Morality can be interpreted as a sort of encounter of forces, or even weights. Thus, it is not surprising that the symbol which represents the Justice is the weighing scales. We would even dare to say that good and evil weigh the same, what in essence is nothing more than acknowledging that good and evil are simply two opposing tendencies that need to be balanced in any statu quo.

Thus, the role of religious authorities with respect to these moral distributions is to stage them, counterbalance them, perform a media spectacle showing their strength, almost superhuman, in order to maintain this
equilibrium reasonably stable. In this sense, we could say, with a touch of irony, that the task of these highest religious figures is very similar to that of a weightlifter. 

After Télam's Pope Benedict XVI [fu/fd].


Hortus Conclusus

There is a close relationship between the myth of the hortus conclusus ('enclosed garden') and the false rhetoric of sustainability: our cities, our neighborhoods, our buildings will be sustainable to the extent we are able to exclude from the sustainability calculation the impure elements, to the extent we are able to enclose properly these virginal spaces so that nothing may disturb them.

Image after Kölner Maler um 1430's Maria im Rosenhaag mit Heiligen und Stiftern (Rose Mary in the Hague with Saints and Donors, c. 1420-30) [pd], Bordo Poniente garbage dump (Mexico D. F.) [ua-fu/fd] and others [ua-fu/fd].

The Golden Runaway

We tend to think of myths as fixed cultural heritages of the past, which would allow us to better understand the contexts in which these myths were formulated. Yet the true power of myths is to use them to understand our present. Or rather, our present in the context of the continuity of time. All erudite studies of myths are useful tools to know them, but they miss this fundamental point. Myths do not talk of the past but of the present. Myths are what our ancestors want us to know. One needs only wanting to listen.


At both ends of the fictitious line of time, projecting itself into the past, on the one hand, and into the future, on the other hand, the myth of the golden age meets its symmetric counterpart in the myth of progress. In this way, endlessly projecting itself into an unachievable ideal, man runs away from the unique thing he can share with man: the present. 

Image after Lucas Cranach the Elder's The Golden Age (c. 1530) [pd], boat carrying immigrants in Canary Islands [ua-fu/fd] and barrier in Greek-Turkish border [ua-fu/fd].


The Dehumanization of the Swing

In the Art History the stylistic analysis has dominated over the thematic one. The stylistic analysis, as the name suggests, brings together works from certain geographical areas and historical periods, with common formal characteristics, in order to define a style. And even though this type of analysis seeks to account for the political, religious, economic and social context of the works, the fact is that its emphasis is put in the morphology. The styles follow each other and "evolve" in an almost Darwinian sense, as the "evolution" of forms or structures that adapt to the changing circumstances.

Against this stylistic paradigm, the thematic one is focused on the background of the works, on what-they-address, and establishes connections between them based on this thematic affiliation. This thematic paradigm tries to identify something like underground currents which would traverse the above-mentioned geographical, temporal and stylistic categories; that is to say, the morphological categories. This is important because that means paying attention to what underlies the forms of the works, that means being interested in the content rather than in the form, in the meaning. In fact the notion of "dehumanization of art" by Ortega y Gasset (The Dehumanization of Art and Other Essays on Art, Culture and Literature, 1925) could be similarly understood as the consequence for art of having gradually disregarded its content, its roots, its thematic heritage, getting lost in the labyrinth of forms.

From this t
hematic paradigm, we propose to confront artworks from different areas, periods and styles, and that however share --or could share-- a theme. In this case we have chosen the theme of the swing. This analysis allows to confirm to what extent the most recent works on this subject have lost wealth or intensity with respect to older works, how they are interested now in shallower, more formal, more abstractmore "dehumanized" questions.

Image after Penelope Painter's skyphos (c. 450 b.C.) [pd], Jean-Honoré Fragonard's L'Escarpolette (The Swing, c. 1767) [pd] and Juan Navarro Baldeweg's Pieza de columpio (Swing Piece, 1976) [fu/fd].