Principio Potosí. Modernidad y la llamada acumulación originaria (Madrid)

(For the announcement in Spanish go here.)

imagen de Principio Potosí. Modernidad y la llamada acumulación originaria.
Melchor María Mercado, Álbum de Paisajes, Tipos Humanos y Costumbres de Bolivia.
Lámina 22. Carnaval, 1841-1869. Archivo y Biblioteca Nacionales de Bolivia, Sucre.

Principio Potosí. Modernidad y la llamada acumulación originaria

February 4–5, 2010
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200
Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, s/n
28012 Madrid
Tel: (+34) 91 774 10 00
Free Entry

Marx describes primitive accumulation as the destruction of solidarity and power structures in traditional society as a consequence of the dynamics of exploitation triggered by capitalism. As Immanuel Wallerstein emphasizes, this does not entail a historical fact at the origins of capitalism, but persists in global society today in the same way it occurs at the origins of modernity. This condition defines a cyclical, traumatic process of expropriation and social disarticulation, which at the same time involves the mobilization of new, vital flows and complex processes of subjectification.

Principio Potosí, an exhibition curated by Alice Creischer, Max Jorge Hinderer and Andreas Siekmann (Museo Reina Sofía; Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin and Museo Nacional de Arte and Museo de Etnografía y Folklore in La Paz), contends that modernity does not have it origins or foundation in rationalism and the Enlightenment’s promises of liberty, but in the process of expansion and exploitation initiated in the sixteenth century with the discovery of primordial wealth in colonial territory. The process instigated a mechanism of instrumentalizing the Other that in many ways is far from having ended. Even greater than Paris during the French Revolution or London during the industrial revolution, Potosí in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries marks a paradigm of globalized modernity in its concentration of capital and machinery to produce hegemony. It constitutes a principle that has operated with continuous reterritorialization throughout history. This seminar, the first public presentation of Principio Potosí, will debate the foundations, transformations and continuity of the accumulation principle as key to understanding the relationships of domination and resistance, moving beyond arguments that have led debates on anti-globalization in the previous decade.


February 4th
18:00h – 18:45h Public presentation of
Principio Potosí.
Led by Alice Creischer, Max Jorge Hinderer and Andreas Siekmann.
18:45 – 20:00pm Permanence and reterritorialization. Examples by artists.
Maria Galindo responds to
Las Novicias, artist unknown, c. 17th century, Convento de Santa Teresa de Potosí.
David Riff responds to
Milagro de San Francisco de Paola, Lucas Valdés, c.1710, Museum of Fine Arts, Seville.
Matthijs de Bruyne responds to
Álbum de Paisajes, Tipos Humanos y Costumbres de Bolivia (1841-1846), by Melchor María Mercado (Archivo y Biblioteca Nacionales de Bolivia).
20:00h – 20:10h. Break and Questions
20:10h. Serge Gruzinski.
Modernity and Iberian Globalization: The Return of the Past.
Our modernity was born within the confines of Iberian domination in the Americas, Asia and Africa, in confrontation among systems of beliefs, institutions, economies and life experiences. For these reasons, we must consider the Iberian world as a whole and search for the beginnings of our present in the vast spaces opened by Iberian expansion and the reactions it produced in these four parts of the world. This entails extending our reflection to all spaces seized by conflicts and transformations while keeping in mind the sixteenth century in contemporary processes of globalization from Mexico to Beijing, from Potosí to Nagasaki.
21:10h. Questions and Debate

February 5th
18.00h – 18:55h.
Alberto Moreiras and Alberto Corsín.
Conversation about the question of modernity and exploitation. The notion of empire and primitive accumulation, and the (dis-)proportionate intersections between modernity and accumulation.

18:55h-20:00h. Contexts and Statements.
Alexej Penzin
Ben Seymour
20:00h – 20:10h. Break and Questions.
20:10h. Panel on primitive accumulation.
Alice Creischer, Max Jorge Hinderer, Andreas Siekmann, Ben Seymour, Alexej Penzin, David Riff, Matthijs de Bruijne, María Galindo, Alberto Moreiras. Moderated by Jesús Carrillo.

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Filed under art exhibitions, critical thought

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