Two things are especially significant about this article: its author’s use of actual and imagined whaling metaphors (including literary references to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick), and the highly detailed description of what took place at an El Techo-supported art and performance event. Muro describes the crowd that gathered, its anticipation of the activity, and gives a thorough inventory of what was in the exhibition, how it was hung, and (occasionally) how viewers reacted to the experience. What becomes clear is that El Techo’s activities were fully integrated social occasions with themed cocktails, installations that might shift or change, and viewer reactions that might similarly change.
El Techo’s participation in official journalism outlets varied in the early years of the group’s existence. They often featured news bulletins in their publications, including a “Latest News” announcement in Rayado sobre El Techo no. 1, which stated that a number of El Techo’s paintings had been stolen from the gallery. The group’s relationship to news, then, was one of creative play, either manipulating actual headlines and editorials to make announcements to the public, or performing “news” in other publications to heighten the intensity of their messages.
This article was written by Esteban Muro, a member of the avant-garde group El Techo de la Ballena. The group was composed of Venezuelan artists and writers who combined different disciplines—visual arts, poetry, photography, film, performance art, among—to create interrogative and revolutionary artwork during one of the most violent decades in Venezuelan history. Guerilla warfare, far-left ideas, political repression, and problematic city planning helped create a framework for this group’s formation. In painting, sculpture, and writing, they encouraged an informal aesthetic and an ethos of aggression that was meant to combat the dominant paradigms of geometric abstraction, landscape, and social realism. The group's strategies were subversive and often incorporated Dada or Surrealist tactics. Its editorial production encompassed at least three issues of Rayado sobre el Techo de la Ballena and many exhibitions. A related exhibition mentioned in this article is “Para la restitución del magma” [see the ICAA digital archive (1060710)].