English / Deutsch

28.6.2012 | KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin

Am I a good artist?

Lecture and performance by Antanas Mockus

Antanas Mockus, former mayor of Bogotá, employed what he called "sub-art" in his political practice. In Colombia in the mid-1990s—a period of hostility, bloodshed, and narco-trafficking—he created a nonviolent, performative politics of images and gestures. His program of citizen culture (Cultura ciudadana), a form of civic self-education based on games and staged situations, led to a significant drop in the homicide rate during his two terms as mayor. With this approach he effectively suspended politics as usual, destabilizing rational discourse, disarming hate speech, and subverting bureaucratic rule. In the last presidential campaign in Colombia he asked his opponent to conduct the election campaign for him. As an artist-politician and contributor to the 7th Berlin Biennale he has promised that if the homicide rate in Mexico does not drop during the exhibition, he will declare himself a failed artist and art a pretentious concept.