Foro México 68
Posted on 11 October, 2018
Carlos Guevara Meza
This text was read at the openning sesión of the forum México 68. A Cincuenta Años, at Aula Magna José Vasconcelos, Centro Nacional de las Artes, on October 4, 2018.
On behalf of the National Research Centers of Dance, Theater, Music and Visual Arts, INBA’s School of Design, and the film school Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica of the Secretaría de Cultura, it is my privilege to warmly welcome you to this series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 68. These include this forum of round-tables, which starts today and goes on until tomorrow, with the participation of renowned experts, both from our communities and external; a film cycle, featuring emblematic films presented as well by important experts or in some cases their directors, which starts today and will go on every Thursday of this month; and the exhibition on the subject of the Cultural Olympics that took place in 1968, which will open on October 12 at the Galería del Aeropuerto, which was curated by a fantastic team from the Research Centers and the School of Design.
On behalf of my colleagues, I want to express our fullest gratitude to the Dirección General, the Dirección General Adjunta and the Dirección del Canal 23 of the Centro Nacional de las Artes, for their support, as well as to the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, especially its Subdirección General de Educación e Investigación Artísticas and the Coordinación Nacional de Artes Visuales. We also fully thank the experts taking part in this forum and in the film cycle, for having accepted our invitation, considering they most certainly have a very busy schedule during these days for the very same reasons. We express our appreciation to the curatorial team, for their professionalism and their excellent work with the exhibition, which was carried out in very difficult circumstances. We also wish to highlight the good disposition of the people in charge of the archives and the collectionists, most notably the architect Javier Ramírez Campuzano and doctor Roberto Gómez Soto, without whose enthusiastic participation this exhibition would not have been possible.
My colleagues and I do not want to be remiss in thanking our own communications and administration teams, who worked tirelessly in order to solve the logistics of these events. And, of course, our thanks to the audience, both here and through the transmission made by Canal 23.
Our aim in organizing these events, without underestimating the specifically political nature and the historical consequences of the popular and student movement of 1968, has been to stress and posit for reflection what a classic autor from those days (and in my opinión, still indispensable today), Herbert Marcuse, called the aesthetic dimension of a process which was, on the one hand, an event in Alain Badiou’s sense (the intervention of the unthinkable, which disrupts the logic of the established situation), even if it was preceded by other social movements, violently repressed by the State as well (railroad workers, teachers, peasants, doctors, students and teachers of the Nicolaíta University in Michoacán, which was taken by the Army, to name but a few), but which earned its legendary and foundational status by presenting a set of non-sectorial demands (i.e. not reduced to student or university matters), of a universal character that even today remains unfulfilled, and which implied a transformation of the very form of the relationship between the State and Civil Society. This was mowed down under the Goya-like figure of the father devouring his children at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas. On the other hand, it is also the sign of an era, which in many important senses has not come to an end, enconmpassing those previous movements and acts of repression, as well as those that came afterwards and up to this day, marked by the struggle against authoritarianism, State violence and crimes, and impunity; and for democracy, human rights, effective equality before the law and in the social lives of so-called minorities (in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ideology, or whichever other reason), and for anti-capitalist critique.
Inthis sense, the aesthetic dimensión of 68 includes not only the artistic production of that time and afterwards, although this will take center stage in our reflections, being as it is a symbolic-sensible concentration and decantation of said conflicts (and in this respect, the exhibition on the subject of Cultural Olympics, the first such event in modern history, an “officialist” evento carried out to shed a favorable light on the State in the context of the Olympic Games, which had however the good sense of gathering the very best of the national and international Avant-Garde at the time, thus leaving a deep critical trace of signification resources available for the art that came after it), underscoring for the youth of 68 and for us, the need and urgency of questioning the relation between art and social life, and specifically between art and politics in its broadest sense.
But also, in Marcuse’s sense, this aesthetic dimensión includes the struggles for the construction of a subjectivity in ressistance against the modes of subjectivity that are functional to the authoritarian capitalist State. 68, besides the frontal conflicto with the State for citizenship rights, inaugurates a cycle of struggles against authoritarianism in al lof its forms; against paternalism, and I would dare to add, against the patriarcal form of the relations with and in the government, the institutions, the family, the couple, the school, the factory, the office, made manifest in different ways of singing, dancing, speaking, loving, dressing, and behaving in all those spaces. There are many victories to vindicate and celebrate; so many indeed that some people think the legacy of 68 has been fully realized. There are many things left to conquer; others that had been won have been lost, so that others will say that the spirit of 68 is still alive and is very necessary. The truth is that its importance is beyond any doubt, and that there is a debt of justice still to be paid.
Welcome. Let us begin.
Thank you very much.