As one of the selected projects of our second open-call for curatorial projects, Terremoto’s La Postal presents Underland, a project by the Archivo de Culturas Subterráneas, based around the marginal press, counterculture, body politics, and the possible radical futures imagined that refuse to be canceled in the postdictatorship Argentina.
Look at our youth: what a sad and false joy
Once the bloody process of ideological persecution, physical extermination and economic indebtedness of the last military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983) was finalized, the social optimism provoked by the recovery of the democratic order was accompanied by a convulsive amount of social debates. For the most part, these revolved around the new configuration of the public space, the reconstruction of individual liberties and openness to a culture of global consumption. Although this uncovering was characterized by the emergence of a powerful human rights movement, likewise, in the aftermath of its incandescent reflection there were other collective congregations that challenged the abusive effects of injustice, disappearance and fear –encrusted in a repressive cultural matrix inherited by the force of political terror.
It was the so-called “lost youth” of the eighties in Argentina –mobilized by political violence, culturally mutilated by the effects of forced exile and overwhelmed by a post-war Malvinas discouragement (1982)–, who called for the invention of other records of existential intensity and the design of new political consciousness outlines: those capable of renewing, under the desperate sign of a utopian urgency, the expressive repertoires of social conflict. Disappointed by the enthusiastic promise of subjective models based on free-market citizenships, which offered the fascinating confines of a new cultural consumption and anesthetized forms of entertainment, the young individuals produced a series of countercultural experiences nurtured by that generalized feeling of nonconformity, to thus promote collective forms of oblique life to with it interrupt and denounce the continuity of repressive control systems. These experiences were possible thanks to a series of sensitive artifacts and encounter strategies that involved the distribution of underground magazines, the independent art scene, graphic punk cultures, antirepressive activists, libertarians, feminists and sexual dissidents who, together, designed a way of subaltern creation that privileged the experimentation with the un-nameable, confrontational feelings, chemical delirium and promiscuity as forms of a common language with the intent rebel against all authority.
In this sense Underland, the first exhibition of the Archivo de Culturas Subterráneas, is a way of approaching the extravagant inorganic vibration of these experiences that, spectrally, claim a place in the dustbin of history as strange entanglements that entangled, with the obscurity of night, the hypocritical threads of a selective democracy when practicing sensitive modes of political transformation that made possible the unstable utopia of the no.
—Text by Nicolás Cuello
Coordinado por Pat Pietrafresa (1963), Ro Inmensidades (1992) y Nicolás Cuello (1989), el Archivo de Culturas Subterráneas (ACS) es una iniciativa autónoma de archivo que se dedica a la investigación, recuperación y catalogación de producciones culturales independientes de carácter alternativo, elaboradas en Argentina desde el retorno de la democracia hasta nuestra actualidad, que incluye libros, periódicos, revistas contraculturales, subterráneas, fanzines, flyers, pósters, y otros objetos como remeras, prendedores, cassettes y cintas de VHS, hasta el momento descontinuados, ocultos, silenciados y perdidos en la historia cultural de las políticas de resistencia.
Pat Pietrafesa (1963, Buenos Aires) is a musician and an independent editor. She runs the label Alcohol & Fotocopias from where she publishes and distributes books, fanzines and publications concerning the histories of punk, counterculture and various nonconformities. Since the mid-80, she specializes in printed documentation through the Resistance fanzine and her passion for the imprints of marginal alternative history is manifested in the extensive archive that she’s been accumulating and caring for. Some of this material can be seen in the documentary series Desacato a la autoridad, relatos punks en Bs As (chapters 1 and 2) of which she is co-director. Since 2012, she has participated in the organization and production of contents at the Feria del Libro Punk y Derivados that takes place in Buenos Aires once a year and that is the largest event for independent publications of this orientation in the country. With her editorial label, archive and documentary she has toured much of the country and other places such as Chile, Mexico, Germany and Spain.
Ro Inmensidades (1992, Partido de La Matanza) is a photographer and audiovisual artist specialized in the documentary genre and analogical processes. She has a degree in Social Anthropology with a Diploma in History and Conservation of Documentary Photography, both from the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras of the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Her artistic practices reflect a special interest on sexual dissidence politics and against hegemony as practices of placing the body as a resistance. She has participated in various individual and collective exhibitions in places such as Argentina, Chile, France, Spain, Turkey and Germany. Creator of Profundo, a workshop space and feminist editorial project that resists and is introduced in certain art markets and territories in order to be visible and survive.
Nicolás Cuello (1989, Cipolletti, Río Negro) is a Graduate and Professor of Art History at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata. There he completed the Master’s in Aesthetics and Theory of the Arts. He currently works as a Doctoral Scholar of CONICET, under the direction of Ana Longoni, as a professor at the Universidad Nacional de las Artes and as secretary of the Cátedra Libre “Art Practices Sexual Politics”, both subjects named by the researcher and curator Fernando Davis. He is part of the advisory group of the Feminist and Gender Generic Political Memories Program of CeDInCi/UNSAM. His research focuses on the intersection of artistic practices, sexual policies, critical representations of the body and alternative graphic cultures from the post-dictatorship to the present.