May, 2015: Terrorismo de autor

  • Terrorismo de autor Terrorismo de autor: los artistas de todo a 1 euro

    2015 / 25´ 10” / Video / HD

    ¿Dónde está el dinero?

    An exclusive by Terrorismo de autor for Pantalla CCCB: a Month, an Artist. It includes the works #Ocupaeldiner, Los cuatrocientos golpes, Le jour et la nuit, Recortes reales, Educación para la ciudadanía, Freudlán, el neoedipo and VHS Haikiu.

Terrorismo de autor is an anonymous-delirious collective created in 2012. With its social and political audiovisual works it aims to bring about an aesthetic and ideological remake of May 1968. Combining humour, virality, performance and nouvelle vague, it proposes a revolutionary action that is creative rather than either violent or pacific.

Terrorismo de autor: los artistas de todo a 1 euro is an exclusive by Terrorismo de autor for Pantalla CCCB: a Month, an Artist. The piece includes some of its works to date: #Ocupaeldinero, Los cuatrocientos golpes, Le jour et la nuit, Recortes reales, Educación para la ciudadanía, Freudlán, el neoedipo and VHS Haikiu.

“The only option open to us is to let our identity rant and rave alongside History. Excluded from the social game, we make a hallucinatory comeback: we are the Committee of Public Safety, we are El Chavo del 8, we are Pier Paolo Pasolini, we are Buenaventura Durruti, we are Felipe Juan de Todos los Santos de Marichalar y Borbón!! Political psychosis for times of denial. A Chinese man said: ‘Action must not be a reaction, it must be creation.’ This is why we push our images, which are already precarious, to the edge of precariousness. Faced with the urgency of the present moment, we bring together images that place need, desire and adoption of a stance before the siren songs of Spectacle, vanity and entertainment, before the conditions of precariousness and exploitation in which they take place.”


Origins: why and how was Terrorismo de autor created?

Terrorismo de autor is the product of a need, of a desire for emancipation and independence, to give up certain known habits and paths when producing images, and also a desire for personal questioning. In 2011, some of the members of the collective related with audiovisual work asked if perhaps the time had come to create out of the most primary need—that is, to create for itself, with no objective, with no intention of seeking returns, for pure pleasure and fun. The dérive of the child. One of the members and publicists of the collective put it another way: “What would it be like to do advertising with no client, no commodity and no boss? How can we internally abolish the kingdom of the Market god?” Not an easy question to answer, because it leaves you empty handed, defenceless and uncomfortable. Plus it’s a question that can be extrapolated to other areas, not just advertising. In fact we had to wait a while and go back to the old ways, the usual brief, to continue exploring.

All this has to be set in the economic and socio-political context of the time—that is, the historical context. Somehow, the systemic crisis was reflecting our personal breakdown, and vice versa. From then on, a group of us started to meet—friends with similar likes and interests: French cinema, Nouvelle Vague, French culture, May ‘68, philosophy, hooliganism, Internet and, especially, playing. All these elements produced a game that brings them together: an adaptation or remake of May 1968. And this prompted another question: what if we did an aesthetic and ideological remake, in this present, in this context of crisis and struggle? The plan was made, but as yet we didn’t know how to carry it out. We were still anchored in the old ways and formulas governing the formats, production and financing of a film. Coming back to the initial question: we still wanted a client who would finance the documentary that we wanted to make. But no one fell in love with us. The message was loud and clear: either we trusted our desire and dared to put it out there, or we continued to militate in the ranks of frustration, impotence and exclusion. So we dared…

Points of references: what cinema or filmmakers inspire or influence you?

May 1968, of course. Without looking any further, the references were extremely numerous: Situationism, psychoanalysis, happening, Freudo-Marxism, anti-psychiatry, cinétracts, etc. Then, because we were a collective, we had a motley range of references, like Internet virality, Monty Python and Chiquito de la Calzada, guerrilla communication and performance, advertising techniques, seduction, Tiqqun and pedagogy, schizoanalysis and the under-6s. A real mishmash! But to stick to the cinema and the filmmakers who influence and inspire us: everyone who has produced counter-hegemonic images. There are lots, but if we were to limit ourselves to three French names and one from Teruel: Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, Godard and José Antonio Maenza.

The objectives: what do you aim to convey or express with your audiovisual works?

The idea of a remake of May 68 aims to show how history repeats itself in the eternal return of the unfinished: the class struggle. This revisit is not nostalgic. Firstly, it reminds us of what we know: that the crises and contradictions of capitalism repeat themselves; then it highlights the transmission, the handing-over of testimony by social movements and the different struggles throughout History, and, of course, creators.

That is somehow the common code of our audiovisual pieces, though each stands on its own, fragmented and with different intentions. But if we see them all as part of a whole, we can sense the existence of a stance beyond the remake. This stance is desire and its dérives. This is what we want to transmit, set off and spread. It’s not a desire for an object; it’s a desire that produces itself, independently and collectively. That is why we’re interested in play and the dérive of the child. In short: we want to be delirious.

Creative process: tell us about your process of creation. How does collective creation work, what is the role of each person in the group, and how do you make decisions about contents and aesthetic treatment?

Our creative process is quite delirious, as you might expect. Generally we meet every fortnight at a play centre where one of our members works. The first thing we do is catch up. That’s not prosaic—it can be the seed of a piece. A funny story, an observation made in the street or in the Metro, can trigger a new piece. Then, each member presents themes, experiences or ideas they’ve developed to varying degrees, and together we work on them, giving them form, associating other ideas and new treatments, or simply stripping back. Finally, we usually focus on one. Or, rather, the idea finally focuses on us. The emergent idea. This happens, and it’s something that releases us from having to make decisions about which one is better. We don’t compare or judge them, it just happens. It’s like when there are various play dynamics in a group, and one of them finally attracts, seduces or amuses more. Anyway, they can always be filed for future use.

From here on, we start playing around with the idea, passing it back and forth… stretching, twisting and rolling it like a piece of snot or a blob of Slime. Having said that, there are factors that guide us towards a particular development or structure of the piece. For example, we always look out for humour and the insight of advertising or psychoanalysis, Chiquito’s “d’you realize?”… Then, depending on the treatment of the piece, the contributions depend more on our individual practices. If the approach is more discursive, the group’s Marxists and psychoanalysts come to the fore; if it’s more a formal question, the film buffs suggest doing it in the style of some French director; if we’re looking for impact or virality, the publicist takes the lead and the rest of us clap… Then, within the collective, there are individuals who write, edit, operate, love, use their bodies, put on masks, organize and produce, give workshops or troll on the Internet.

As for the aesthetic treatment, the formula varies with the specific needs of each idea, but we always try to keep to the game of remake we’ve established: black and white, Nouvelle Vague, miscellaneous tributes… Ending with a sentence of Maenza’s: “the aesthetic value of a film is the distance between the form of the sign and its content.”

Terrorismo de Autor could have been one of the groups invited by Influencers, a festival whose co-director, Bani Brusadin, recently defined it as “a container of experiments” by so-called counter-cultural or guerrilla individuals or collectives. This body of critical strategies ranges from politically aware, organized actions to projects that just want to partake in the confusion promoted by the Internet.

The members of TdA have taken advantage of the CCCB’s invitation to produce a pot pourri of some of their earlier works, editing them into a piece suggestive of trolling. Highlighting the precarious (and opaque) nature of the world of work is a good idea. Given the degree of trustworthiness demonstrated by many institutions in recent years, mistrust is the order of the day, and there is a great deal of work to be done to achieve the desirable degree of transparency—as, suspiciously, any corrupt politician might say. However, compared to what I’ve been paid recently, I find the inclusion of their work at Pantalla CCCB is not badly remunerated (though the group seems to have forgotten to divide the euro by the number of members).

The expression “advertising without a client”, which TdA use even for talks about theory, does not strike me as very fortunate. Perhaps that’s due to my particular aversion to advertising. When presented as advertising or propaganda, even the truth becomes a lie. Many makers of expensive advertising and video clips are also unashamed admirers of Nouvelle Vague, though less ironic than TdA. These directors are paid a great deal of money for their work, but we know that where there’s money, there’s violence, and where there’s most money is where most violence is found. Are we prepared to put up with the servitude and stupidity imposed by the sacrosanct business of advertising? Though they work for pleasure and entertainment, the TdA brand name is still a client of the TdA publicists. To some degree, the CCCB, too, is advertising itself by inviting TdA to the plasma screen of the comfortable Xcèntric Archive.

These days there is a lot of talk about the health (or lack of it) of public institutions and media. How do we imagine an open television station, as imagined by the great Jaime Davidovich, that seriously airs thinking, the arts and criticism of the system? The CCCB forms part of this system, though, like other institutions, it has cracks through which conflicting views slip, like contraband. The best institution would perhaps be the one with most cracks, the one that allows most criticism to filter through. Here, I recommend a short video in Spanish by John Holloway entitled “No existe la pureza revolucionaria” [There is no such thing as revolutionary purity], referring to a kind of purity mocked by TdA when they mix Marx, for example, with Froilán de todos los Santos in their masks. We shouldn’t be too scandalized by the transgressive spirit of these humorous videos. Some of the irreverence we see here remind me of elements of the commercial British series Doubletake (Channel 4), by Alison Jackson; of course, Britain is quite a way ahead of us in these things.

The critical humour of TdA also plays with the serious approach to cinema and erudition to which the Nouvelle Vague contributed with its mania for citing—one which they share, always against a backdrop of irony. “We want to be delirious”, they say in the interview. It is strange for someone to say they want to do something that means: “in an acutely disturbed state of mind characterized by restlessness, illusions and incoherence”—mainly because these are things that people do unintentionally. They also claim to follow what they call the Situationist, “child dérive”, which might fit in with the restlessness, illusions and incoherence contained in the definition of delirium. Though the reference to children perhaps refers more to the as yet untainted eyes of children, able to see things that adults no longer can. Rafael S. Ferlosio, in “La contracultura”, writes: “The little boy who dares to say ‘The emperor has no clothes on’ was perhaps—gasp!—paid by the emperor himself.” Perhaps the integration of protest is the most advanced form of censure of today’s democracies. As Holloway says in his video, “This is an antagonistic world, a contradictory situation.”

Félix Pérez-Hita (Video artist and cultural critic)

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