The Brick (2014)
In 1965 an agreement was signed between the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Santiago de Chile and the University of Chicago whereby a group of students selected from both the Catholic University and the University of Chile would go to the University of Chicago scholarships to undertake postgraduate studies in Economics. Thus the group of economists who would be known as “The Chicago Boys” was created, the same who will write “El Ladrillo” (The Brick), an economic program established by the Civic-Military Dictatorship and institutionalized in the 1980 constitution, a document still in force in our country.
“The Brick” comes to evidence a mercantile system that reinforces the private sector (consumption) and opens the flanks for the opening to the international market by Chile. The continuity of these policies resulted in a marked social inequality, the strengthening of economic power groups, a wide range of legal gaps and the emergence of various social problems. But perhaps the most alarming thing is not the consequences per se, but the fact that it was the governments that have called themselves leftist (but that are rather center-right) who maintained and even reinforced an unprecedented privatization of goods as well as a deepening of social segregation.
The school that appears at the beginning of the installation is called Elizabeth Diaz, in memory of a young woman who in 1973 and being pregnant of six months was riddled in the back by a group of carabineros (Chilean police officers). Thus, the figure of Elizabeth becomes a collective subject that identifies us, who comes to life in a performance by Daniela Rivera Monachic where she denounces the many social problems that arise from the neoliberal system. After closing her speech, Elizabeth invites the public to participate in a symbolic act of collective and popular vengeance, to shoot against the dictator Augusto Pinochet, as well as the presidents who maintained their legacy – Patricio Aylwin, Eduardo Frei, Ricardo Lagos, Michelle Bachelet and Sebastian Piñera. Life-size statues of these notorious figures set the Pinochet sequence as a way of demonstrating the continuity of the system established by the dictatorship. On the stage, facing the entrance of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Quinta Normal, you will find blocks of bricks. This, rather than inciting violence, seeks to highlight the fact that the continuity of these policies demonstrates the null relevance of the people in the development of their laws.