«Kema todo; esto es arte»

In a series of letters between New York and Santiago, artists Jessica Briceño Cisneros and Ignacio Gatica highlight how the streets of Santiago turned into a semiotic battlefield where the Chilean contemporary art is disrupted in relation to its neo-liberal context.

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  1. Water scarcity in Chile is a result of the management of water in the country, based on a water market that favors speculation and the hoarding of water and its use in production with little land-use or reservoir planning. These are further exacerbated by climate change and its global impact. In Chile, the constitution dictates that water be a public good managed by private companies. On January 7, 2020, the Senate rejected an amendment to the Water Code that would decree it a public good controlled by the public, with 12 votes against and 24 in favor. Due to the utilitarian ties of Pinochet’s 1980 constitution, a two-thirds majority is required to modify an Organic Constitutional Law.

  2. A.C.A.B. is the acronym of the English phrase “All cops are bastards” (in Spanish: “Todos los policías son unos bastardos”). This motto is popular among European soccer fanatics.

  3. PSU: Prueba de Selección Universitaria [University Selection Test]

  4. AFP: Administradoras de Fondos de Pensiones [Pension Fund Administrators]

  5. Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, “Intellectuals and Power” in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews by Michel Foucault, ed. & trans. Donald F. Bouchard (New York: Cornell University Press, 1977), p. 207.

  6. A report reviewing an analysis of big data undertaken by “experts” profiling protestors who were also fans of K-Pop was published. Their goal was to criminalize the protests through an attack on the symbols it mobilizes. To read more about the report see: “Es sospechosamente idiota: Llueven las críticas al gobierno por informe que apunta a influencias del K-Pop en las manifestaciones” in elDES- CONCIERTO, December 22, 2019.

  7. Plaza Italia is the name erroneously given to Plaza Baquedano, a roundabout with a monument of General Baquedano riding his horse, located in a central part of Santiago. For years it has been the site of manifestations and celebrations in the city. Since October 18, after protestors adopted the slogan “fight until dignity becomes custom”, the name “Plaza de la Dignidad” [Dignity Square] has become more and more popular since the plaza became a meeting place occupied by protestors more than 80 days ago.

  8. The monument to the soldier Baquedano on his horse has been contentious since the beginning of the conflicts in Santiago. It is located at the center of Plaza de la Dignidad [Dignity Square] and the protestors’ continual goal is to climb to the top, mount the horse next to the bronze military figure, and distort the monument with flags, banners, and paint until the police arrive and force people off with their characteristic violence.

  9. Refers to the dig data report mentioned previously.

  10. A Chilean television channel.

  11. In Chile, the movement of the yellow vests that took place in France was imitated in defense of public property.


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