NO+ (NO more) in the halls of East Pyne

Tuesday, Mar 7, 2017

The Colectivo de Acciones de Arte (CADA) was a Chilean art group founded by visual artists Lotty Rosenfeld and Juan Castillo, sociologist Fernando Balcells, writer Diamela Eltit and poet Raúl Zurita, who used performance and public interventions to challenge the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Beginning in 1979, CADA incorporated strategies of theatricality and performance as essential components in its acciones, while questioning the practices and institutions of all politics and conceiving art as a necessary social practice that should eradicate the traditional distance maintained by art institutions between the artist and the spectator. Committed to the foundation of an open and spontaneous practice of spectatorship, their interventions into everyday life were intended to interrupt and alter the normalized routines of the daily urban lives of the citizens, by means of a semiotic subversion that decontextualized and semantically restructured urban behaviors, locations and signs.

In 1983, the 10th year of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile, CADA proposed the slogan “NO +” (NO more). This was meant as an open text to be completed by the citizens, per their specific social demands. CADA invited Chileans to spread this message on walls all over the capital, Santiago. Wall tagging was the first form of “NO +”, but the slogan was soon used by different groups all over the country as a public symbol of political resistance and disobedience. Later, in 1988, the “NO +” was used by the opposition in the referendum against Pinochet. Inspired by the CADA slogan, the NO side won with nearly 56% of the votes, thus ending Augusto Pinochet’s more than sixteen years in power.

This intervention of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese is a reminder of the relevance of political resistance in a criminal era in which torture, destruction, xenophobia, and ideological bigotry dominated the political scene of the Southern Cone of the Americas.