The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Stemming from the idea (very advanced at that time) that the media invents events, those who are writing this decide to inform—by way of social news snippets, altered photos, and apocryphal testimonies—about a happening that never took place. Different types of media reproduce the news, which is then finally denied by the group. This public declaration (1966) informs the readers, who are already advised about the theoretical reflections sustained by said experiment, inspired explicitly by an idea belonging to Canadian theorist Marshall McLuhan, that “the medium is the message.” The experiment had been produced in the context of the intellectual connections existing between the three artists (Eduardo Costa, Roberto Jacoby, and Raúl Escari) as well as theorist Oscar Masotta. This was not only about the obvious accusation that the media deceive, but also to demonstrate the possibility that you can, indeed, invent reality; in other words, that you can create an unexisting event beyond what the media itself invents. This way of thinking—susceptible to political manipulation—is recovered two years later in the project of the happening-work Tucumán Arde [Tucumán Is Burning] (1968).
Among the vanguard groups emerging in Argentina that experimented with the mass media, the initiative of a nucleus of artists and theorists, who, in 1966, intended to create a “new gender,” stands out. They call it “Arte de los medios de comunicación de masas” [Mass media art]. The founding public declaration of this group,—made up by Eduardo Costa (1940–), Roberto Jacoby (1944–) and Raúl Escari—is recognized today as a crucial manifesto that marks the beginnings of Conceptual art, not only in Argentina, but also in the rest of the world.
This is the text published by the artists mentioned above, upon the release of their first work, known as El Antihappening [The Anti-happening].