The Question: How (from your experience and perspective) do artistic practices create public sphere?

People shouting:

– E! E! Bale!

– That’s enough now!

– Son of a bitch! Put that truncheon away!

– Ez! E! Kooontuz!

– …maite zaitugu! Jone maite zaitugu!

– Kontuz!

– E! E! Ee!

– Enough now! Careful! That’s enough!

– E! E! E! Bale! Bale! Bale!

– Nahiko da! E!

– Nahiko da, ezta?

A lot of people shouting.

“Jone maite zaitugu”.

– E! E! E! E! Eeee! Bale! Baaale! Bale e! Bale!

– Bale, Bale! Baaale!

“Jone libre”, “Jone libre”, “Jone libre”.

– Less, eh! Bloody hell!

– What are you up to?

– Hey!

– A lot of noise, applause, shouting, whistles

– Jone libre!

– Eeeeeeeee! Eeeeee!

Shouting and noise.

– Oso ondo!

– Eeee!

A blow.

People shouting and the sound of blows.

“Jone maite zaitugu”, “Jone maite zaitugu”, “Jone maite zaitugu”.

– Careful!

Several people shouting.


– Watch out!

– Aupa ai!

Two loud noises.

Gernikako azoka, 2014-12-15.


The Question: How (from your experience and perspective) do artistic practices create public sphere?

I started young, and up until today / in this Cantabrian region, I have created a lot of humour / although they will bury me, they won’t forget me / in eighty years’ time, they will still speak of me.*

In what way do artistic practices contribute to creating the public sphere? The first thing that came to mind was that verse by Txirrita, which we have just listened to, given that it deals with the mark made on society by a vital practice. At that time, the early XX century, many people memorised verses and they were popularised by word of mouth. Now, in the year 2016, when exactly eighty years have passed since Txirrita’s prophecy, I too have realized that I know the verse by heart, and I was surprised, because, until now, I hadn’t realized that I did indeed know it. And…why do I know it? Because in the 1990s Basque public television broadcast a series of cartoons about Txirrita and during the opening credits they played that song, so, by repeatedly hearing it as a child, in the end I knew it by heart, without intending to. It might be that other people also know the verse without being aware of it, but obviously not the majority of the population, given that the TV channel, ETB1, is not and was not the channel with the biggest audience. You have to know the Basque language, and that in itself is already a great barrier. The cartoons about Txirrita were in the public sphere, just like Txirrita’s verses, but in certain spheres they were and continue to be invisible, somewhat remote.

Art, in some spheres, is practice and discussion, we build a gaze and a common imaginary, the public sphere and the private sphere nourish each other. On the other hand, in other spheres, art is something remote.

*First verse, fragment of “Txirritaren lehendabiziko bertso lagunak”. Extract from the record “Txirritaren bertsoak”, by Xabier Lete and Antton Valverde (Herri Gogoa / Edigsa, 1976).



The Question: How (from your experience and perspective) do artistic practices create public sphere?

I’m more of a lone wolf so I haven’t felt very connected with the idea of public sphere. I feel like most of my work goes out like little seeds into certain people. It’s almost like traveling by pollens. It’s more biological: it goes, it sits, it gets watered by somebody…

With the internet the concept of public sphere has changed a lot and it really needs to be updated. That idea was really revolutionary at the time when it came up against the bourgeoisie, against monarchy, against private holding of information, so I think it was totally relevant but now, as Morgan Craft says “new times demand new tactics” . I feel that with the political movements that have been happening the sharing of information it’s amazing, but I think there is a little bit an illusion of social media or places where people meet. Whether social media and people gathering to share information and get some things happening, or like actually in public spaces people are meeting to protest, it’s all kind of data entry into the algorithm that can be used against us and so I’m a little bit skeptical and I think we are going to have to go underground. Everything that we are putting out there is input into an algorithm and it’s being used three moves ahead of us. But not to take away from sharing information and the access, and the freedom of that.

The idea of sharing information and the public engagement of things—the downside of it is that it’s all data collection that is has being fed into the algorithm that is being used against us perhaps, but not to take away from the sharing of vital information and experiences. There is a big difference now, returning to the public sphere, in terms of the internet, virtual or digital versus actual humans around each other, breathing on each other’s neck and the smell of humans in a room together, is completely different. So these are two important differences, that each have their strengths and their weaknesses. What I do feel also about the political side of getting together as humans protesting – even there is obvious power in it-, is that a lot of times it’s a ‘primal scream group therapy’, that’s what I’ve been calling it. I’ve been involved in protests going back years and it kind of felt like that. It makes everybody feel really good, doing something, screaming their guts out, getting it all out and then at the end of the day, what does it really change? It has shown to change things sometimes, but probably the percentage is higher in favor of it not changing things in the way people want.

What I do, going back to the artistic process, is also being aware that every moment, every year, every month, there is a new upgrade of technology or simply a new way of communicating. We always have to be creative about how we communicate, how are we going to get our ideas in our art out there. I’m a completely underground independent artist. I don’t have these platforms of agents, or viral, or media, or whatever, it’s all DIY. Like I said I see it as seeds, that I send out as pollens and there’s something a little bit maybe even secretive about it. I also feel like in terms of the political connection, what I’m realizing more and more is that there is ‘no political solution without spiritual resolution’ . Meaning that the real change begins in each person’s mind and deeper than that, in each person’s soul. Without the revolution in the interior lives, very deeply inside, it’s pretty pointless, we are just going to be repeating the same crap over and over again. “Perhaps, as some venture capitalists venture, reducing our lifestyles will not save the planet, but it could save the soul without the integrity of which any new revolutionary technology is doomed”.