Public Private
Urban intervention
Telefónica Foundation, Buenos Aires, 2009

A 7 characters split-flap-type device (such as those used in airports and train terminals in the 70) is located at Telefonica Foundation's main entrance. Each of these modules contains 30 characters including the letters of the alphabet and some punctuation. The board has a total size of about 30 cm. x 7 cm. high. All characters are moved every 1 minutes to stay fixed in a new letter. Only the first and last module will not move but remain always in the same positions, the letter "P" and "O" respectively. The rest of the characters is constantly forming the words "publico" (public) or "privado" (private). This sign is shot and this image is projected from one of the windows to the sidewalk of the Plaza Vicente López (next to the fence). This image has a size of 5 meters wide x 1 m high. The characteristic sound of this technology produced by the board is also amplified and "projected" to the plaza.


Extranjerías – Alienage Catalog’s text – Fragment

by Néstor García Canclini and Andrea Giunta - translation by Alicia Steimberg

Alienage is not experienced only when crossing frontiers and moving into another country. In the ordinary language this word is used to name other forms of estrangement like those that happen when moving from the analogical to the digital or from the lettered city to the world of screens, where young people act like natives and adults painfuly learn a new language. The exhibition called Extranjerías starts with an investigation process and two colloquies where anthropologists, artists, sociologists and communication specialists explore various ways of restricting the passage from our own elements to different ones. Some of the projects presented at this exposition are connected with geographic displacements where the multiplication of walls and the extremes of discrimination contradict the illusion that global communication transforms all of us into close neighbors. But both social sciences and artistic exploration reveal estrangements referred not only to what is on the other side of the frontier but another kind of estrangement which is closer, and defeats our normal ways of perceiving and evaluating. Certain segregations make us feel like foreigners in our own birthplace or even emigrate from our country. Sometimes, dissidents, or those who feel estranged by changes are treated like foreigners. The opposition “insider-outsider” is also felt when many choose “not to belong”, not to be included in the hegemonic or in the lower orders (for instance artists, intellectuals and vasts from our own elements to different ones. Some of the projects presented at this exposition are connected with geographic displacements where the multiplication of walls and the extremes of discrimination contradict the illusion that global communication transforms all of us into close neighbors. But both social sciences and artistic exploration reveal estrangements referred not only to what is on the other side of the frontier but another kind of estrangement which is closer, and defeats our normal ways of perceiving and evaluating. Certain segregations make us feel like foreigners in our own birthplace or even emigrate from our country. Sometimes, dissidents, or those who feel estranged by changes are treated like foreigners. The opposition “insider-outsider” is also felt when many choose “not to belong”, not to be included in the hegemonic or in the lower orders (for instance artists, intellectuals and vasts groups of young people). Alienage is brought about by exile and may also be an election.

In audiovisual arts and media, the ambivalence appears when sudden technological progress creates a discontinuity between oral and written traditions and digital representations. Occasionally the estrangement caused by different social codes decreases with translation, i.e. the narrative reinvented in the digital scene by blogs, the iconography in art history recicled in videoclips and videogames. This interactivity – between nationalities, ways of representing identities, artistic genres and artistic and technological languages – such as they were constructed in the 2007 and 2008 colloquies are analyzed in the book Extranjeros en la tecnología y la cultura (Strangers to Technology and Culture), recently published by Ariel and Fundación Telefónica.

For the present exposition the artists participating in the colloquies and a few more persons where invited. […] The alternation between what was ours and what came from outside occurs in different forms of incorporation. Martín Bonadeo visualizes the oscillation between the public and the private in signs with words listed one after the other as in the information boards of an airport or a ralway station. This wordplay is reinforced by the fact that it takes place in an institution open to the public. […] “Where are you” is Liliana Porter's question. “Where are you from?” is Pat Badani's. Do we belong here, or are we newcomers? What are our desires made of? And our pirate discs? And the machines that put us in movement or in which we try to decipher what science and art interpret? How do these parts, that we sometimes call public or private, random structures, mirrors or papers, articulate?


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