Publication details

«"Exhibit in spite of everything" Translating interests and producing meaning in San Sebastian as the European Capital of Culture 2016



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords European Capital of Culture; Actor-Network Theory; Cultural Sociology; Cultural Mediation; Curatorial Studies; Museum and Exhibitions
Description With the double incitement of the expectations that made it the flagship project of San Sebastian as European Capital of Culture 2016, and its appeal to the question of achieving definitive peace, the most pressing issue on the Basque political agenda, the exhibition Peace Treaties (Tratados de Paz), was deployed as an artistic production of unprecedented dimensions in the city. Going beyond the controversy that the exhibition aroused in both public and printed opinion, this article analyses its intrahistory: the process of assembling a set of human and non-human agents that attempted to translate each other in the process producing meaning. To this end it analyses the conflictive relationship between two different ways of understanding art that traversed the exhibition project, namely, the production of sublime objects and the cold aura of the archive. This antagonism not only makes it possible to understand the artistic and cultural limits formulated by the exhibition proposal, but also to track the socio-political categories around which it pivoted. Far from being pre-established as discursive blocs, these antagonistic logics were the result of the combination of practices and materials that shaped a project characterised more by the controversies it aroused than by the problems it solved. This is the reason why it disappointed many of the expectations that had been placed in it, while at the same time it opened up lines of discussion previously unknown in the artistic field in the city.

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