Keith Arnatt, ‘Self-Burial (Television Interference Project)’ 1969
Keith Arnatt, Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) 1969 . Tate . © Keith Arnatt Estate

Room 9 in Media Networks

A view from Buenos Aires Systems and Communication

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Horacio Zabala, The distortions are proportional to the tensions I, II & III  1974

These three drawings depict the map of the southern cone of South America. They form part of a series in which Zabala intervenes in the geography of the continent by distorting the location of Argentina, particularly around the Rio de la Plata, the widest river in the world which flows between Uruguay and Argentina. This area became notorious as a site of atrocities during Argentina’s dirty war, during which thousands of people were ‘disappeared’ by the military dictatorship.

Gallery label, February 2016

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Self-Burial (Television Interference Project)

Keith Arnatt, Self-Burial (Television Interference Project)  1969

Arnatt was fascinated with works of art that are created in the natural landscape but leave no trace of their presence behind. ‘The continual reference to the disappearance of the art object suggested to me the eventual disappearance of the artist himself’, he wrote. This sequence of photographs was broadcast on German television in October 1969. One photo was shown each day, for about two seconds, sometimes interrupting whatever programme was being shown at peak viewing time. They were neither announced nor explained – viewers had to make what sense of them they could.

Gallery label, April 2009

© Keith Arnatt Estate

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Hans Haacke, Sol Goldman and Alex DiLorenzo Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971  1971

Many of Haacke’s works reveal hidden political and economic links between corporations and institutions. He wanted to show how corruption and injustices were rooted in larger social systems. This work includes a map of Manhattan. It features the locations of properties owned by a powerful real estate firm that had been involved in violent crimes and unethical practices. Haacke wanted to expose the true extent of the firm’s power in the New York property market and the fraud and exploitation at its core. Haacke was included in the groundbreaking Systems Art exhibition organised by the CAyC in Buenos Aires in 1971.

Gallery label, December 2020

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Energy of a Potato (or Untitled or Energy)

Victor Grippo, Energy of a Potato (or Untitled or Energy)  1972

Energy of a Potato (or Untitled or Energy) is a work by the Argentinian artist Víctor Grippo. It consists of a simple electrical circuit in which an analogue multimeter is connected to a potato by two wires. Because the electrodes on the end of the wires are of different metals – one copper, the other zinc-galvanised iron – the circuit allows the potato to act as a simple battery. The battery works through the reciprocally balanced processes of oxidation and reduction occurring at the electrodes: the acidic juices of the potato oxidise the zinc, producing electrons that pass through the wires and multimeter to the copper electrode, where they reduce hydrogen ions to form hydrogen. Because the zinc slowly dissolves as a result of this process, the electrode needs to be renewed periodically. Similarly, the potato perishes and when the work is exhibited it is usually replaced weekly. When exhibited the multimeter is usually set to display voltage (V), rather than current (mA).

© The estate of Victor Grippo

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Our Daily Bread

Anna Bella Geiger, Our Daily Bread  1978

Our Daily Bread documents a performance in which Geiger ate bread and distributed postcards, addressing the subject of poverty in Brazil and more widely within Latin America. The outlines of Brazil and South America appear as holes in slices of bread on two of the postcards, and as outlines in the empty bread basket. While the title has Christian resonances, the theme of consumption links this work to ideas of cultural cannibalism: a strategy for absorbing external influences and creating a proudly hybrid national identity which was a key concept in Brazilian modernism from the 1920s onwards.

Gallery label, February 2016

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Valley Curtain (Project for Colorado) Rifle, Grand Hogback

Christo (Christo Javacheff), Valley Curtain (Project for Colorado) Rifle, Grand Hogback  1971

In 1970 Christo started planning the installation of a vast orange fabric curtain across a valley in Colorado, USA. The project required collaborating with a network of local authorities, engineers, sponsors and assistants. This work is one of many drawing-collages he made in order to have his design approved and funded. Some of these sketches were included in the Systems Art exhibition organised by the CAyC in Buenos Aires in 1971. After a failed attempt, Christo successfully installed the curtain on 19 August 1972. It remained in position for 28 hours, until it had to be removed due to strong winds.

Gallery label, June 2021

© Christo

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Czechoslovak Radio 1968

Tamas St. Auby (Szentjoby), Czechoslovak Radio 1968  1969, 2008

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Art in this room

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Horacio Zabala The distortions are proportional to the tensions I, II & III 1974
Self-Burial (Television Interference Project)
Keith Arnatt Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) 1969

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Hans Haacke Sol Goldman and Alex DiLorenzo Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 1971
Energy of a Potato (or Untitled or Energy)
Victor Grippo Energy of a Potato (or Untitled or Energy) 1972
Our Daily Bread
Anna Bella Geiger Our Daily Bread 1978
Valley Curtain (Project for Colorado) Rifle, Grand Hogback
Christo (Christo Javacheff) Valley Curtain (Project for Colorado) Rifle, Grand Hogback 1971
Czechoslovak Radio 1968
Tamas St. Auby (Szentjoby) Czechoslovak Radio 1968 1969, 2008

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