The Museo Reina Sofía’s programme Documents looks at artists’ publications, platforms, networks and independent publishing spaces, in addition to the potential of archive to reinvent narratives of art and its ecosystem. Its tenth edition examines the archive of José Carlos Mariátegui (1894–1930), the founder of Amauta, one of the twentieth century’s most influential cultural journals and the focal point of the exhibition The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s (Museo Reina Sofía, 20 February to 27 May 2019). The presentation of the archive by its director José-Carlos Mariátegui, a theorist and curator of art and technology, and Jaume Nualart, an open-source software programmer, will take place in the galleries housing the exhibition, thereby generating correspondence between the exhibition’s narrative threads and the content of the repository.
The José Carlos Mariátegui Archive houses, conserves, digitalises, arranges, displays and disseminates publications and documents related to the Peruvian intellectual and critic and his journal Amauta. The archive comprises letters, photographs, drawings, prints, administrative and corporate documents and manuscripts, and, with a view to sparking new ideas and enhancing knowledge of Mariátegui’s work, it uses digital platforms and explores different strategies which range from the use of archival science to data visualisation tools.
For instance, to discern the complex network of contributors and correspondents articulated by Amauta and which surrounded Mariátegui’s intellectual work, the archive added and identified, by name, year, geographical location and theme, all information available in its records. Thus, 60 cities in which Amauta was disseminated in Peru and over 80 around the rest of the world, primarily in Latin America, were localised, underscoring Amauta’s broad scale of distribution, despite the limitations to infrastructures of the time. Furthermore, Mariátegui’s extensive correspondence demonstrates how letters were the chief source of communication between agents and contributors who infused life into the publication. Finally, the digitalisation of the archive has, in addition to gaining a global view of the exhaustive content of Amauta, enabled the consideration of a new non-linear, interconnected narrative in the reading and analysis of its texts.
José-Carlos Mariátegui is a writer, curator and culture and technology entrepreneur. He is the director of the José Carlos Mariátegui Archive and, from 1995 to 2005, was honorary director of the José Carlos Mariátegui Museum-House. He has worked in art, science and technology projects for over two decades and has founded the non-governmental organisation Alta Tecnología Andina–ATA, which develops similar projects in Latin America. Along with M. Hernández and J. Villacorta, he recently edited El mañana fue hoy. 21 años de videocreación y arte electrónico en el Perú (ATA, 2018), and has written for publications such as Third Text, The Information Society and Telos y Leonardo.
Jaume Nualart Vilaplana is a programmer and open-source software developer. He works at the intersection between art, science and technology, most notably on free knowledge platforms. He is an associate professor at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya–UOC and has worked as a researcher at Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria). Together with the Mariátegui Archive team, he has worked on applying semantic technology and data displays to the repository.