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Has Argentina Bottomed Out

Matteo Lucchetti
unemployment fund
Image by Marc Wathieu
PROJECTION & DISCUSSION : "ON SOCIAL METAMORPHOSIS" de Luigi Coppola, vidéo, 13:45 min. (2012).
Jeudi 14 juin 2012 à 18h30, galerie de l’Erg (Ecole de Recherche Graphique), Bruxelles.
Curatrice : Francesca Chiacchio.

SCREENING & TALK : "ON SOCIAL METAMORPHOSIS" by Luigi Coppola, video, 13:45 min. (2012).
Thursday June 14, 2012, Erg gallery, Brussels.
Curator : Francesca Chiacchio.

Projection de ON SOCIAL METAMORPHOSIS de Luigi Coppola et discussion entre lʼauteur et Matteo Lucchetti.

ON SOCIAL METAMORPHOSIS de Luigi Coppola, vidéo, 13:45 min. (2012).
Ce film, conçu pour le projet expositif Enacting Populism in its Mediæscape de Matteo Lucchetti, analyse l’aspect émancipateur des dynamiques populistes, autour de l’idée de la transformation des mythes à l’aune du climat populiste. On social metamorphosis est né d’une collaboration entre Luigi Coppola et l’économiste et anthropologue belge Paul Jorion. A partir de la section "utopie réaliste" du célébre blog de Paul Jorion, ils ont travaillé sur un texte qui rassemble à la fois les propositions écrites par les internautes, qui ont participé collectivement à cette section, et des textes de Louis Antoine de Saint Just, John Maynard Keynes et Franklin Roosevelt. Luigi Coppola a ensuite mis en scène ce nouveau script sous la forme d’un chœur grec classique, de manière à articuler un parallélisme entre les demandes et les propositions formulées dans le texte et la voix d’un "peuple".
"La révolte peine à trouver la parole" remarque Luigi Coppola, qui suggère le masque comme outil symbolique de fédération et de protestation. Conçus par l’artiste avec des pages de journaux économiques, les masques ouvrent la bouche du peuple. Les visages de la métamorphose sociale ne se cachent pas, ils se reconnaissent au contraire les uns dans les autres: le masque leur procure la puissance de la multitude.

Luigi Coppola (1972) est un artiste italien, il vit et travaille à Bruxelles. Il travaille principalement dans le domaine de la performance. Sa recherche artistique se concentre sur les dynamiques relationnelles, mettant l’accent sur les aspects conceptuels de l’ordre dans les mécanismes sociaux. Sa pratique artistique émane d’une combinaison de différentes expériences professionnelles et pédagogiques. Il a une double formation de scientifique (Ingénierie Environnementale, Doctorat en Analyse du Risque) et d’artiste (Arts Visuels et Performatifs).

Matteo Lucchetti (1984) est historien, critique d’art et commissaire d’exposition indépendant. Après des études d’histoire de l’art contemporain à l’Université de Florence, il a obtenu un Master d’arts visuels et études curatoriales à la NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan). En 2010, il était accueilli comme chercheur en résidence à BAK, Utrecht, où il collabore encore en tant que rédacteur au projet Former West. Ses projets curatoriaux incluent : Practicing Memory – in a time of an all-encompassing present (Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, 2010; DEPO, Istanbul, 2012). Il est co-commissaire avec Judith Wielander du Visible project, initié par la Fondazione Pistoletto et la Fondazione Zegna.

L’exposition Enacting Populism in its Mediæscape (Paris, 18 février – 22 avril 2012) a été conçue par Matteo Lucchetti pendant sa résidence à Paris à la Kadist Art Foundation. Elle résulte d’une recherche sur les relations possibles entre des pratiques artistiques et une forme de populisme véhiculée par les médias qui dénote du climat politique européen actuel. Dans l’exposition qui se déroula durant les deux derniers mois de la campagne présidentielle française, l’espace ressemble à celui d’un bureau de parti politique lambda, devenant ainsi un environnement ambivalent dans lequel les œuvres peuvent à la fois être perçues comme appartenant au champ de l’art contemporain, ou comme des éléments relatifs à la préparation d’une campagne. (Alterazioni Video, Heman Chong, Luigi Coppola, Danilo Correale, Foundland, Nicoline van Harskamp, Steve Lambert, Oliver Ressler, Jonas Staal, Société Réaliste, Anna Scalfi Eghenter, Superflex)
www.enactingpopulism.org

50°49’19.50"N 4°21’25.53"E galerie de l’Erg
rue du Page 87, 1050 Brussels
contact : francesca.chiacchio@erg.be

"Enacting Populism in its Mediæscape" at Kadist Art Foundation, Paris.

Populism seems to be on everybody’s mind in Europe, no more so than in the lead-up to the French presidential elections in May. The term ‘populist’ popped up day after day in the headlines to denounce the political agendas of politicians as far apart as Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Nicolas Sarkozy. More a political style than an ideology, populism can exploit latent fears about anything from the rise of globalization, European Union enlargement, migration and unemployment to social insecurity, offering one-dimensional responses to a complex situation.

To use populism as a way to better understand democracy was the starting point for curator Matteo Lucchetti’s ‘Enacting Populism’, a research project that started in Antwerp at the end of 2010 and culminated this spring in an exhibition featuring 12 artists and collectives at the Kadist Art Foundation. The initiative was undoubtedly timely, scheduled to take place two months before the first round of French elections, mirroring populist strategies and profiting from the feverish campaign atmosphere. Lucchetti further echoed this effect by transforming the gallery space into a fictional campaign office, with the walls painted in an administrative green and Soviet furniture borrowed from Paris’s Communist Party headquarters.

The show essentially resembled a discursive space more than an exhibition, presenting art works that comprise or mimic forms of documentation such as posters, extracts of political speeches, pseudo-political administrative documents and flyers. As its titled suggested, ‘Enacting Populism in its Mediæscape’ played itself to a certain degree by acting out the role of a populist exhibition. However, this effect was rapidly exhausted, as it reached the inevitable limit of endlessly re-enacting the grammar and imagery the show claimed to denounce.

One of the consequences of that approach was that the art works required a great deal of time, attention, reading and additional explanation to be consumed, going against populism’s principle of appealing to people’s emotions through simple and effective communication strategies. One exception was a video by Oliver Ressler, which was only visible at night, when it was projected onto the closed façade of the gallery space. The footage in Robbery (2012) literally shifts from ‘night time robbery’ – images of shops being looted during England’s social unrest – to ‘daytime robbery’: Sarkozy and Angela Merkel misappropriating government funds to save banks. The connection needs no further explanation.

Other works also stood out. Danilo Correale’s project Re-designing Fear – People’s Party Spectacular (2011) worked around the recurrent populist discourse of hope for change. The artist introduced 5,000 scratch-cards into circulation in Antwerp, which, when scratched off, revealed familiar xenophobic slogans. A video installation and publication by the collective Foundland, entitled Simba, The Last Prince of Ba’ath Country (2012), formed an archive of pro-Al-Assad propaganda images that shows how a country’s political imagination can be falsified through the Internet.

Did ‘Enacting Populism’ manage to go beyond simulation and live up to Lucchetti’s aim of trying ‘to articulate positive and emancipatory means through images’ to create a potential social change? These are ambitious goals and not many of the projects on view were able to successfully develop this activist potential. Ernesto Laclau introduced the exhibition with a lecture and an interview published in Le Monde in which he moved beyond negative connotations linked to the xenophobic European populist discourse, highlighting its positive outcomes in Latin America. Claiming that ‘without a certain dose of populism, democracy is unthinkable today’, he provided one of the exhibition’s theoretical goals of finding positive populisms. But Laclau’s ideas created expectations that went somewhat unfulfilled, as there were no examples in the show of populism’s ‘positive antagonisms’. I would have liked to see works that were more conscious of their own involvement in the dynamics of populism, over-complicating rather than dismantling and analyzing its discourse.

In spite of these unavoidable shortcomings, ‘Enacting Populism’ remained a thorough investigation of a theme that can be endlessly re-enacted through exhibitions and in the public debate. In 2005, together with Lars Bang Larsen and Nicolaus Schafhausen, I tried my hand at dealing with populism through the prism of contemporary art in the exhibition ‘Populism’. I was struck then by the claim that the 21st century was destined to be the ‘populist era’, much like the 20th century had been the ‘totalitarian era’. The interest aroused now by this new show suggests that the topic is becoming increasingly timely and that populism is here to stay.

Cristina Ricupero.

www.frieze.com/issue/review/enacting-populism-in-its-medi…

A definite depiction of Argentine fiscal health is the Merval Index which shed down almost 9% in 2012. If this represents a bottoming out scenario for the financials of the country then equity and related investments should pick up. As per the IMF and FIEL reports the economy could barely manage a 1.5% growth in the past financial year and there may be further downside in this context considering that the inflation growth for the coming year is forecasted at 24% annually. American investors seeking financial adventure in foreign lands and multi-fold gains should take a closer look at the NASDAQ listed Argentine ETF which uniformly expose to the twenty most liquid and mostly large cap company securities that have their majority business interests vested in Argentina but for all the right reasons are listed on the other global exchanges primarily in the form of American derivatives [ADRs].

The downside fastened with the state’s announcement to nationalise its largest oil and gas company YPF S.A. The fact that it rubbed wrong shoulders with management of Spanish Repsol (technically Repsol holds the controlling stake in YPF) led to the YPF ADR collapsing as much as 70%. Further a regulatory move earlier in the year 2012 proved to be unfavourable towards the market as it increased the excess capital from 30% to 75% that dividend paying financial institutions must hold. So some banks like Banco Macro (BMC) had to suspend dividend payments. A weak Peso coincides with the dismal sate of the ruling party which under the rule of country’s president Mrs. Kirchner is already under shadows of political trouble and debt.

One impressive fact is that it is the third largest middle class economy in the Latin American region and the notable growth rates from the year 2003 to 2011 has made it progressively important in current years. The economy has leisurely improved after 2001 (the same year in which the country defaulted on $ 132 billion in public debt); it grew at a steady pace of 7% to 9% in the subsequent years. The country restructured about 100 billion in bonds in 2001; many investors have been rewarded in recent years as these bonds were linked to the nation’s GDP.

Easiest access is through Equity traded funds offering diversified exposure (and minimising risk) to this country under a single United States traded security. Individuals looking for more precise savings can also purchase American Depository Receipts (ADRS); these are United States traded securities replicating performance of the foreign stocks on their respective stock exchanges and are primarily introduced for excess fund procurement.

More prevalent options include ETFs attuned to the performance of FTSE Argentina 20 Index; these pure play funds will give assets in the form of 20 most liquid and largest corporations actively involved in this nation’s economy.

Fundamentally Argentina has nothing withstanding growth and years prior to 2012 have seen pro-growth data for basic issues like Unemployment Rate, Exports and Infrastructure spending.

FTSE bound Argentine Fund may easily turn out to be the surprise disclosure and rewarding for systematic investors who are willing to play on the downside that arises from a fresh state default scenario and those who are convinced with the nation’s prowess to contain the on going legal tiffs with the multi billion dollar fund houses that do not agree with the 2002 debt re structuring policies of the then ruling government.

ARGT Global X Fund is a pure play product that delivers as per the returns of the FTSE Argentina Fund after the annual expenses of 0.75%. The bench mark comprises of 21 stocks. Sector-wise consumer staples and material industry account for 69% of the holdings. Mercadolibre Inc. and Arcos Dorado Holdings Inc make for 27% of the assets but the top holding for ARGT is Tenaris S.A. ADS with 21.21% of assets assigned to the stock.

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