First Machete Manifesto

The dearth of critical voices in the current aesthetico-political matrix serves as a silent imperative to all of those who strive to articulate an alternative set of aesthetic, political and theoretical practices. The silence of this imperative resounds with increased urgency in times of a consensual progressivism intent on meager reformism, which is nothing short of a brief distraction in the obdurate apology for the systems in place. It is the explicit goal of the Machete Group to give voice to the resounding silence of this imperative by breaking with the dominant social and political imaginary through the creation of public forums for articulating alternative collective discourses and practices. We hold these truths to be the most worthy of being put to the test of collective actualization:

– theory without practice is empty and practice without theory is blind

– the present is only a myopic mirage if it is not inscribed in history, and it is devoid of interest if it is not interrogated from the point of view of possible futures

– the facile opposition between an absolute revolution and acquiescence to the present state of affairs is a mere subterfuge that plays into the hands of revolutionary nostalgics and the corporate executors of the present

– aesthetic practice is inseparable from political stakes, and politics constructs regimes of perception that shape the world and frame its possibilities

– works of art are not autonomous instances of creativity originating in a subjective void but are decisive modes of intervention into the shared fabric of our world

– artistic and theoretical practices are not exempt from incisive critique and must not be protected by the superficial niceties of good taste or the debilitating accoutrements of socially refined behavior

– education is a collective and dynamic process unrestricted to the formal hierarchies and bureaucracies of academic corporations

– it is imperative to jettison quietism and indifference in the name of cutting into the present and assuming the consequences of one’s position, with all of the requisite exclusions that such a commitment entails

– there is a margin of utility that can and must be made use of!


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