The first conversations about the project date back to 2007, when the artist Perry Bard (Quebec, 1944), currently residing in New York, made a proposal to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía to organise a film programme to examine the relationships between art and politics according to the configuration of today’s society. The result, Singular Multitude: The Art of Resistance, was arranged to look at new ways of thinking about the ideas of revolution and activism.
The filmmaker Jonas Mekas (Semeniškiai, 1922) opened the series with a conference and the presentation of his latest film, Lithuania and the Collapse of the USSR (2008), designed to be seen on screens and as a video installation. The programme, which consisted of 16 sessions, also included classic films from political documentary cinema, such as The Spanish Earth (Joris Ivens, 1937) and Black Panthers (Agnès Varda, 1968); works of experimental film and video art by artists like Harun Farocki (Nový Jičín, 1944) (Videogramme einer Revolution, 1992), VALIE EXPORT (Linz, 1940) (Touch Cinema, 1968). Also included were other contemporary artists, like Luis Ospina (Santiago de Cali, 1949) (Paper Tiger, 2007) and Duncan Campbell (Dublin, 1972) (Bernardette, 2007), who play with hybridisations of genres, and Spike Lee (Atlanta, 1957) (Get on the Bus, 1996), who exploits the potential of fiction.
In different ways, most of the selected films focus on the idea of insurrection and exemplify the singularities of these movements, which were capable of mobilising individual people or groups in support of their ‘singular’ cause, at the same time that they reveal the non-linearity of any movement that is seeking change and demonstrate the irregularity of revolutionary processes.
Singular Multitude also has a multi-disciplinary scope. It makes its declarations in a public sphere that lies beyond the spectacle of the media, indicating that group movements are, perhaps, one of the few options that remain to probe the present. The five conferences held by specialists including Sergio Edelsztein, Daniel García Andujar and Sharon Hayes and the performance piece by Irina Botea (Ploiești, 1970) invite participants to take part in the art of resistance.