THE CHILEAN MIRACLE
in collaboration with THE FLOATING LAB COLLECTIVE
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Public intervention, DEFORMES Performance Bienale, Valdivia, Chile.
In 1975, during a period of military dictatorship, Chile found itself immersed in economic structural problems. Milton Friedman, father of the “Chicago Boys”, pushed to implement a free market economic system based on neoliberal public policies. The country began to produce macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP and GNP, matching those of developed countries. However, these indicators only displayed an increase in national wealth, not an increase in economic equality.
This vision of macro-economic growth based on neoliberal policies was dubbed by the dictatorship as the “Chilean Miracle.”
The “Chilean Miracle” was a propagandistic slogan using religion as a mechanism by the dictatorship to justify the privatization of public systems and worlds. Today, the difference between rich and poor has grown substantially due to this migration of economic mechanisms, transforming citizen into consumer.
The “Chilean Miracle” project aims to establish a connection with existing publics through a social sculpture that can be adopted by various peoples. This social sculpture becomes part of the fabric of public space and imagination, creating more contemporary portrayals of the nation´s lives; the one lived by the people in the streets, in towns, by street vendors, retirees earning less than 100.000 pesos per month (175 USD). The “Chilean Miracle” is a way to re-appropriate propaganda and tell the stories of the Chilean people, not as economic subjects, but as constantly adapting beings making life in Chile.
The initial performance consists of a tailored suit completely covered in plastic flowers. Plastic injection-moulded flowers reflect the material networks of a globalized economy, as they are manufactured in China , shipped across the ocean, and sold in the streets of Chile. These flowers have displaced organically-manufactured flowers used in animitas or altars in the roads and tombstones at cemeteries. The disposable yet essentially inhuman life-span of the plastic flower reflects the type of shallow, everlasting death resulting from the systems of a neo-liberal planetary economy. Plastic flowers allude to the superficiality, rootlessness and fiction inherent in the “Chilean Miracle”.
We believe that it is very important to seek different ways of producing other “Chilean Miracles”. We are looking to create alliances with other artists, artisans, weavers, embroiderers, carpenters, etc… in order to create products that can be inserted in the market and that can benefit the group of people that produce them. Objects which will tell the story of the Chilean people, creating a transparent system of exchange where the production of new symbolisms create avenues for material support and critical reflection, where the remanufacturing of symbols result in education, participation, training and the development of humane and dignified relations between participants.