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Magazine

24 June 2019
The Satiety of Spectacle

Delfina Bustamante

A friend of mine is dressed up as a chip asleep on the floor at an art fair, along with fifteen other people, similarly dressed up, lying in a circle and sharing a round blanket shaped like a fried egg. This is the work by the Lolo and Lauti duo (Lautaro Camino and Lorenzo Anzoátegui) for the last arteBA fair: the performers are supposed to sleep at the fair, wearing their collective fancy dress of egg and chips, but in order to do so they have to make sure they don’t sleep beforehand: Lolo and Lauti flood them with invitations to parties and discos to guarantee they spend the night awake. The days go by and the reviews pour in: the duo’s social media are crammed with comments, memes and internal jokes. Weeks later, in a group chat, we got together to discuss this and other phenomena.

DB – Tell us how you became an art duo, not only as artists but also as personalities, something closer to the idea of media entities,celebrities.

Lolo – Hello all, we’re Lolo and Lauti, performers and video artists. We met at a party and worked together nine years ago, in 2011. We use spectacle a lot as artistic material. There are obviously many signs of this, aren’t there? Of the language of celebrities or the language of the media …

Lauti – We forged our alliance, Lolo and Lauti, with secret and dramatic ends we shan’t tell you about, but we’ll sum it up for you.

Lolo – We’ll send you an animal power of a quote …

(They send me a clip from the film Chicago (2002), starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger, where Velma [Jones’s character] persuades Roxie Hart [Zellweger] to join her to form a duo of convict dancers.)

DB – On the other hand, I was trying to determine your possible local references and was thinking of figures from the sixties, a period in which the idea of the artist as a star was more widespread. I was thinking of Marta Minujin, Dalila Puzzovio, Edgardo Giménez, etc. But you have closer ties with the world of television, or even of the Internet, from Susana and Moria to memes.

Lolo – Our favourite artist of the sixties is Nacha Guevara.

Lauti – In other words, our favourite Argentinean artist is of the sixties and is Nacha Guevara.

Lolo – Of course we like Minujín, Giménez and all the rest, but the only artist related to performance, the artist who is our reference for performance and for what could be done in the discipline is Nacha. Before performance art was called performance art Nacha was already practicing it.

Lauti – Last year we went to see Nacha at the Gran Rivadavia theatre, where she performed the songs she would never sing again, a show about the legendary Di Tella [art centre].

Lolo – We have other more recent national references.

Lolo and Lauti – Susana and Moria, of course!

Lauti – A friend once asked us what we would do if YouTube disappeared, whether we’d be out of work.

DB – I also think that you embody a very Porteño identity that at some point was reflected on Argentinean television. I mean reflected as Moria reflected it, for instance.

Lolo – Both of us are very Porteño like Lauti, we love these cultural aspects of Porteño identity that come and go and remain. I think they’re very useful: Mafalda is an example of something that was all-pervasive in Argentinean culture and we didn’t think anything interesting had been done on the subject. And there are a lot of other things too.

Lolo and Lauti, Mafalda. Single-channel video, 3 ‘, 2018

DB – In turn, when I see your videos I think they could well form a part of the compilations of the funniest videos on the Internet, etc. Your works often have to do with memes and the way in which images and contents circulate on social media. It’s a bit like what happened with Me huevo loca (the work they presented at this year’s arteBA). I suppose the idea was that what was supposed to happen actually took place, went viral, that we all shared the photo, the story, that it had a massive impact, etc.

Lolo – We didn’t intend it to go viral, although we find that sort of perception inspiring; sometimes it’s just a coincidence that it should go viral. In a performance called iSexy a couple of years ago, for instance, we used virtual reality devices and simulated sex scenes in the middle of the fair. A story about that went viral, appeared in Reddit forums and became a meme, transcending us — a meme that wasn’t even associated with us. But of course, the objective of an art fair is to create a work that stands out, which means it’s Instagrammable.

 

Lauti – What Lolo says is true; the objective obviously wasn’t for it to go viral, just that it be a fine work, but we had had the experience of an earlier viral work and, as Lolo says, we learnt from our participation in fairs that what you have to make for at an art fair is a conspicuous work, a work that can be seen from afar, that is attractive. Producing a work for a fair isn’t the same as for an exhibition, a living room or a museum. But it would be naïve to say that we didn’t know it would be the centre of attention in social media.

Lolo – On the other hand, what we want to do with everything we produce is turn it into a performance. It’s like when you copy a drawing, you draw it again. But instead of drawing it again, we do it through a performance.

DB – Personally, in the case of the work with the egg I feel like having it at home, inviting my friends around to dress up in the chips costume and use the blanket egg, I mean to really carry out the performance.  And thinking of collecting, I’d like to know what kind of collectors purchase your art, how it works. On the other hand, in connection with what is said about the way in which you carry out an idea through performance, I come across another element that calls our attention as post-millennials — the idea of living in a state of permanent performance, of thinking over everything we do, even if we don’t even formulate it in terms of artworks, from a performative dimension. That’s why I think you are among the artists who young people find most interesting nowadays, because you use a method that has a lot to do with our way of seeing both art and things in general, and we empathise strongly with that.

Lolo – What you’re saying is very interesting at a generational level, because we could say that the people who have purchased our performances, so to speak, still haven’t recreated them. The intention is always to re-enact them, with other performers …

Lauti – In other words, for the time being our works are in storage, waiting: those who bought them …

Lolo – … can re-enact them, with other performers or with us.

Lauti – But there’s something very interesting that Lolo just said, that he’ll say now …

Lolo – … that it’s generational. That it’s incredible you should say that if you were a collector you’d carry out the performance again with your friends…

Lauti – Absolutely, because a collector in his forties wouldn’t dream of repeating it …

Lolo – We want to live in a world of post-millennial collectors who start doing that, but also because your generation is characterised much more by cosplay, drag and clearly by performance, don’t you think? Above all, it’s a generation that understands performance more as a philosophy for viewing art than a specific medium. And art in general is performance. That’s a more philosophical subject, but I think that post-millennials understand performance in a more philosophical way, not unrelated to other artistic practices.

DB – And what sort of activity do you practice, apart from your role as artists? As curators, in the Perfuch annual event you organise every year at UV Estudios, for example. What’s it like to curate performance art? I infer that there is an idea of an expanded experience and a sense of community as a working method in these activities. And last but not least, speaking of UV, tell us what sort of space you discovered there, because UV transcends the conventional art gallery and becomes much more persuasive in cultural and social terms, opening up a whole new way of relating to art here in Buenos Aires. The place it now occupies was empty.

Lolo and Lauti – For us, curating and UV are one and the same, they go hand in hand.

Lauti – UV is a space we created with Violeta Mansilla in 2015. It began as a place that welcomed artists’ studios and ended up mutating into an art gallery. What you say is true, there was an empty space although we didn’t think it was there for the taking, we just felt there was no space for us.

Lolo and Lauti, Rafa y Lisa, 2016

Lolo – As Lauti was saying, UV was originally a place for artist’s studios and residencies. The first thing we did as curators was to invite the Básica TV threesome (made up of Uruguayan artists Emilio Bianchi, Luciano Demarco and Guzmán Paz) to come to Buenos Aires for their residency.

Lauti – When they completed the residency, Básica TV stayed on. We all agreed they could live there, and we closed the residencies due to lack of space.

Lolo – That year we had to start to provide UV with content in order to create a community, as you were saying, and give people we found interesting – artists, DJs, whatever – a meeting place. That marked the beginning of a year in which we curated around fifteen shows and did so with the idea of showing things we liked that had no space in art galleries. The first show we curated was a solo exhibition of works by Eduardo Hoco. We knew Hoco by night and loved what he did at parties, amazing installations, but we had the feeling that nobody outside the world of nightlife paid any attention to him, that his works were like accessories to parties, and we wanted to give him a space of his own. Hoco came first and was followed by a thousand other things. All that led to the only event we now curate, Perfuch, an annual performance event based on how proud we are of our community and of how proud we are of the art scene in Buenos Aires and in Argentina.

Lauti – As curators we try not to curate artists who resemble us, or what we do, one hundred per cent.

Lolo – Yes, we also like it when there’s something we don’t understand, as is the case with young artists for instance, either for generational reasons or because we turn to different languages or work in different circles that we don’t understand either. We like that — not understanding what we like.

DB – And what are you working on now?

Lolo – We’ve just come from showing at the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires, MALBA, our version of Carmen, the film we made with drag queens in Panama …

Lolo and Lauti, Carmen, video opera, 2018

Lauti – We’re working on that and then, in September …

Lolo – We’re doing a show …

Lolo and Lauti – … at the National Bicentenary House …

Lolo – It’s a commission, we were commissioned to make an adaptation of Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle

Lauti – There’ll be a bit of everything. Susana Giménez 3D!

Lolo – Susana Giménez 4D!

 

 

 

Delfina Bustamante is curators and lives in Buenos Aires.

Articles

24 June 2019

The Satiety of Spectacle

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