Valeria Schwarz (in collaboration with Betiana Bellofatto)
inVESTIR. 2010/2012

Parallel Events Manifesta 8 / Parallel Events Manifesta 9
La Conservera, Murcia / Waterschei, Genk
Schmiede12: Zero
http://proyectoinvestir.blogspot.com

Dialogs held through virtual social networks
ecological and fair trade Tshirts
Volunteers from Murcia and Genk who wear a Tshirt with a statement extracted from dialogs held with people of North Africa.
Blog
Documented by the volunteers

With this project Valeria Schwarz wanted to create a kind of iconoclastic work in the sense of not using any photography or video, except for documentation purposes by the end of the project. So inVESTIR came up. The name means in Spanish to vest¹ and refers to the double meaning of the word: to dress and to invest someone with something such as powers or rights. The artist in collaboration with Betiana Bellofatto randomly contacted people from different countries of North Africa through social networks and held with them virtual dialogs during three months. Each week, these people from Morocco, Tunes, Libya, Egypt, Algeria and Sudan received posted in their Facebook wall a question regarding their identity, their self image, the image of Europe, the political situation in their countries as well as the future perspective. It was desired the answers also to be posted on the wall to encourage the interaction, but the fear to censure made that only few dared to openly publish their opinions. In fact, answers came per mail but the tool that indeed worked was the chat. Everyday, the artists went online at different hours and dialoged with the participants about a wide rage of topic, from the most banal (What did you have today for breakfast?) till more profound subjects as how could we build a dialog between Europe and North Africa based on equality or what does the nationalist feeling exist for?

After the first three months, the project started the second stage. From all these dialogs the most relevant 96 statements were taken and printed on 130 ecological T-shirts and from fair trade, which should be wore by volunteers in Murcia during one week. The intention was to infiltrate the voice of these people from North Africa in the everyday life of an European city and, above all, that this voice were alive. By doing it, the dialog obtains a hard to predict or to control dimension. The volunteers from Murcia should wear the t-shirt and keep doing their normal life. They were also asked to document through pictures, videos, etc the inclusion of the message they were given in the city of Murcia. The receive documentation would be publish in the blog so the people in North Africa could follow the project. Some fragments of the dialogs from which the statements were taken, were also published in the blog, always respecting the privacy of the interlocutors.

¹

  1. to clothe; dress; robe
  2. to place or settle (something, esp. property, rights, powers, etc.) in the possession or control of someone (usually fol. by in ): to vest authority in a new official.
  3. to invest or endow (a person, group, committee, etc.) with something, as powers, functions, or rights: to vest the board with power to increase production; to vest an employee with full benefits in the pension plan.
  4. to put on vestments.
  5. to become vested in a person, as a right.
  6. to devolve upon a person as possessor; pass into possession or ownership