“The strategy of representation and recognition has been recognized by social forces of power, so how do you move towards a reformation and efficacy is by recognizing that simply being represented, for example as feminists, women, as people of color is not adequate to your aims and not to be fooled with thinking that simply by being represented you have managed to achieve questions that have to do with actual life, with one’s ability to have a decent life, with a decent income, not to have predatory rich people and banks and other institutions capturing all the wealth, so you have to keep in mind always that you are not asking simply to be represented, that you also demand the actual changes and the way power is distributed is part of it.”
Interview with Martha Rosler about artistic practices in relation to the role of institutions and accelerated privatization of public space to re-think the limits of representation.
The interview was filmed in La Virreina. Centre de la Imatge during the exhibition “If You Lived Here Still …”, an archive project by Martha Rosler.
Barcelona, November 2010
*Martha Rosler. Since the early 1970s, through her numerous works and projects, traversing diverse working methods, Martha Rosler has progressively sought ways for socially engaged art practice and critical feminist position, to reconnect the private and public spheres, domestic space and media culture and the urban environment in confrontation with shifting political and economic realities.
The (in)visibility of the socially underprivileged and the properties of the urban spaces they inhabit formed the starting point for Martha Rosler’s archive project If You Lived Here… first presented at the Dia Art Foundation in New York City in 1989, with which she undertook radical approach towards the systems and conditions underlying housing and homelessness related with the process of gentrification.
In 2010, for the exhibition If You Iive Here Still…at La Virreina, Centre de la Imatge this archive project was presented in relation to the local activist practices by several collectives (V de Vivienda, Repensar Bonpastor, 9Barris, Exit, Sitesize…), engaged in work with the housing crisis in the specific context of the city of Barcelona, to open the debates about different forms of cultural activism and new strategies for social representation.