The Chilean group C.A.D.A. (Colectivo Acciones de Arte), which was active from 1979 to 1985, took part in the exhibition IN/OUT (1983) at the Washington Project for the Arts, in Washington, DC. Other participating artists included Juan Downey (1940–1993), who had been living in New York for several years at that point; Alfredo Jaar (b. 1956), who had arrived in New York a year earlier; and Eugenio Dittborn (b. 1943). The exhibition, which was organized by Alfredo Jaar and designed expressly for the Washington Project for the Arts, included works of art, manifestos, videos, and documentation of performances.
C.A.D.A. was an art action group whose members included the artists Lotty Rosenfeld (1943–2020) and Diamela Eltit (b. 1949), who is also a writer; the artist Juan Castillo (b. 1952); the sociologist Fernando Balcells (b. 1950); and the poet Raúl Zurita (b. 1950). The group used the city and its art spaces as supports and backdrops for their works. Their first project was Para no morir de hambre en el arte [To Avoid Starving to Death in Art] (1979), which involved several simultaneous components consisting of actions staged: in a working-class neighborhood in Santiago, outside of the United Nations building, at the Galería de Arte Centro Imagen, and in an insert that referenced the action in HOY magazine. The group also invited other artists to take part in the project. This concept of multiple actions helped to launch a program of group works staged in different locations (institutional or not) according to a range of different strategies. The group’s participation in an art event—the IN/OUT exhibition—was a departure from their usual routine. The text written for the exhibition sought to explain to North American viewers what it meant to create works of art in Latin America under “peripheral” or dictatorial conditions.
Residuos Americanos [America Residues] was an installation designed expressly for the US art milieu. It consisted of a wooden box mounted on a rectangular white surface; the box overflowed with secondhand clothes that, though bought in Chile, were originally from the United States, where the exhibition was presented. A soundtrack provided a recording of an operation being performed on a beggar and a wall panel text stated: “1. Restitution of used american clothes sold in Chile; 2. Sound: Brain surgery executed in Chile - Extirpation of a tumor. We Donate these two diseases.” According to Nelly Richard (b. 1948), C.A.D.A. was exploring the concept of “waste materials” and showing how the Third World consumes the First World’s leftovers. [For details about C.A.D.A.’s specific intention as regards this particular work, see the following article in the ICAA Digital Archive: “Residuos americanos” (747333).]