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Art & Social Space
International Errorista: The revolution through affect. Part 1
by Santiago Garcí­a Navarro
07/01/06


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In early November of last year [2005], a security strategy designed principally by the governments of Argentina and the United States, in order to guarantee the development of the IV Summit of the Americas, transformed a 250-block section of the central coast of Mar del Plata into a hermetic enclave. As for the resort, where the vacation fantasies of a majority of Argentines are exercised, the local residents themselves could only enter their homes after showing police issued ID cards.

The decision makers decided to remain completely isolated, in order, paradoxically, to make decisions in the name of those they represent. However, the fundamental issue was business: pressure from the Bush government to achieve a continental accord that permitted the definitive launching of the AFTA was overpowered by the opposition of the Mercosur countries and Venezuela.

The morning of the day prior to the close of the Summit, a peaceful mass demonstration led in spirit by Hugo Chavez, crossed dozens of blocks of one of the unrestricted sectors of the city. That same afternoon, a more radicalized march was programmed to break through one of the few access routes to the military and police cordon that guarded the closed neighborhood where the heads of state were holding their discussions. The conclusion was swift: the police officers deployed a mysteriously moderate repression, some of the demonstrators destroyed stores, there was an arbitrary round-up, dozens of individuals ended up in police stations, and everything was edited and reproduced by the communications media in living color on the news.

During the week of the Summit, Mar del Plata had remained paralyzed. Not a soul was seen on the downtown streets, nobody in the most remote neighborhoods. Local residents who, out of fear, had barricaded themselves for several days in their houses, or had evacuated to neighboring cities, came out into the streets for the first time to review - curiously, confusedly, confoundedly - the trail of destruction that the afternoon's demonstration had left in its wake.

Mar del Plata, cordoned off under the pretext of a global terrorist threat, while being simultaneously shaken by the street mobilizations, gave birth to a new political movement, adept to these anachronisms and promoting a revolution through affect: The International Errorist (IE). Arising from the bosom of the Etcetera group, Errorism was formed by extension and, in a certain sense, by overcoming the ideas and practices of the original group, and by organizing itself in reticular cooperation with groups acting beyond the - almost transparent - Argentine border. There now follows some fragments of the conversation we had a few weeks ago, in Buenos Aires, with three members of Etcetera and IE: Federico Zukerfeld, Loreto Garin and Antonio O'Higgins (Checha).

Federico Zukerfeld: All this is part of a kind of research we began with the analysis of how the communication media construct an imaginary society, convert determined social subjects into enemies, and use that as justification for their imperial advances, wars and economic interests. Errorism arose, in some way, as a continuation of the Armed people project. In 2004, we noted that that enemy, in Argentina, was being constituted in the shape of the picket. The media created an imaginary concept where the pickets were dangerous, delinquents, different than us, and comprised a new social sphere, which nobody really understands, because they have their own music, their own way of dressing, their own way of talking, their own codes. That "enemy" had to be separated from society, because it could potentially some day form part of a guerrilla force. The main accusation is that they went to the demonstrations armed and with their faces covered. If one takes an image of the pickets and compares it with the Palestinian Intifada, there wouldn't be much difference: the same neckerchief, the same stick, the same gunman, but in different latitudes. Out of that, we made Armed people: photocopies, enlarged to natural size, of different figures that reflect identifiable characters from fiction or reality. It's called Armed people because those characters are armed, and also because they are constructed and disarmable (collapsible).

Loreto Garin: Also because they are figures of the people who arm the communication media.

FZ: When we discovered that George Bush was going to come to Mar del Plata, we thought of one of the slogans that he always used in his revelations: "Wherever they go, we'll hunt them down." That is, that wherever Bush went we would go in order to denounce him. Our main idea was to form a kind of image-mirror of the Middle East. In the same style as other actions of ours, the idea was to appear dressed as terrorists, so that the image would be disseminated by the international mass communications media, who are the same ones who constructed that figure. We sought to have that figure spread a message: "watch out, they are also waging a war there, watch out, this could be the next point." Afterwards, we began to work through theater and cinema. "Errorism" was born because we couldn't speak about terrorism. When we began to research how the terrorists trained and acted, one of our colleagues, Ariel, sent and email entitled "How a suicide bomber from (who knows where) prepares." However, Hotmail blocked it and we became paranoid. We became aware that a very strong censorship exists on the subject, because, either it appears that you are supporting terrorist methods, or you are condemning the entire Muslim society. One day, when a colleague of ours was writing something on the computer, he pressed the F7 spell-check and the first word that appeared was "errorism". This colleague had wanted to write "terrorism". The spell-check said: "errorism" doesn't exist, did you mean "eroticism" or "terrorism"? That's where the name came from. On one hand, it is an opposition to and denunciation of the stereotype. But on the other hand, we had found the right word; one that had its own philosophical discussion on the subject of error.

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