ESSAY FOR A NEGATIVE RACE. LECTURE ON LOW MATERIALISM AND INVERTED SPIRITISM
COLEGIO CONTRAMETAFÍSICO DE LIBERACIÓN ACÉFALA & EL MAL SALVAJE
“Essay for a Negative Race. Lecture on Low Materialism and Inverted Spiritism” was a spiritism session and “counter-metaphysical trial” directly addressed to José Vasconcelos (1882-1959) and performed by the Colegio Contrametafísico de Liberación Acéfala and El Mal Salvaje, a Mexican/Colombian art conspiracy. It was realized in La Redada, a Colombian cultural agency, on October 12, 2011, the same date on which Columbus supposedly arrived to the Oriental Indies, an event historically recognized as the Discovering of the Americas and also known in several Latin American countries as “El día de la raza” (Race Day).
Vasconcelos was a prominent Mexican philosopher and politician who developed a huge cultural project for the Secretaría de Educación Pública of Mexico (Ministry of Education) in order to generate a post-revolutionary cultural state, whose foundations articulated notions of race, “creole crossbreeding,” humanism, indigenism, mythical Indian-Greek origins, and cosmic Latin American futurity. He is recognized as the first advocate of the Mexican muralist movement. In 1925 he published a book called The Cosmic Race, in the first section of which he argues, through the use of metaphysical explanations, that the processes of mixing blood in Latin America were contributing to the conformation of a totally mixed blood cosmic human.
“Essay for a Negative Race” consisted in a spiritism session, in which, through the use of a self made Ouija table (with charcoal, pieces of cardboard and a ten cent Mexican coin), Vasconcelos was invoked and constantly dazed through aggressive questions regarding Latin America as a cultural concept, the notion itself of Latin America as a whole, contemporary political issues, globalized economic problematics, and personal questions regarding prominent art agents. Various assistants asked questions about the dead, political disappearances, and bullied him a little. The purpose of the interview was to provoke the uprising of an absolute inversion of his project because we consider it to be a political apparatus possessing epistemological power in Mexico and an index of a repressed cultural unconscious in Latin America. “Essay for a Negative Race” is an exercise in inverted spiritism, whose aim was to read the Ouija table, and other such supernatural mediums, as uncanny apparatuses produced by the mystique of capitalism.