The Preacher and the Manichean. Letter from X to F
Video HD, colour, sound. 40 min.
Stills and exhibition views.
→ Fragments of a Conversation with Sylvain Lazarus: Anthropology of the Name
CLASSES DE LUTTE:
→ Research Project in the context of an artist residency commissioned by Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers:
→ Les laboratoires
→ Classes de Lutte
→ Fragments of a Conversation with Sylvain Lazarus
Based in Paris from 2016 to 2018 as artist-in-residence at Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, Paloma Polo committed to an investigation into a dimension of the history of political struggles shaping the Parisian north periphery. The Parisian Banlieue Rouge at large sheltered thousands of Spanish political exiles since the civil war and throughout Francoism. Hundreds of them lived a ghostly existence, many with counterfeited identifications and some completely clandestine, as they strived in the shadows for the organisation of a movement in Spain to democratically assail a brutally repressive and violent system.
This underground movement, orchestrated from the periphery of Paris by the Spanish Communist Party, barely left material traces but, most importantly, is scarcely traceable in a national history that has been written by way of a systematic erasure of the exploits that paved the way for what, unfortunately, shifted to a delusive “democratic aperture” in the aftermath of the dictatorship. Polo plunged into a dormant memory that has primarily survived through oral transmission and has been sustained by militants that have almost entirely passed away.
Her project aspired to open new perspectives and understandings pertaining to communist narrations of the underground struggle as well as the resistance upheld in exile.
This film is based on a letter written by the communist intellectual Javier Pradera in July 1960, which is addressed to Jorge Semprún, his comrade, friend and one of the Paris-based clandestine leaders of the central committee of the Spanish Communist Party. Pradera elaborates on the failure of 1959’s strike and forecasts the methodical and analytical flaws that were to convolute and strain the party during the 6th PCE Congress held in Paris at the end of that year.
Javier Pradera contends with Semprún problematising the subject-object divide, critiquing thus the discursive and theoretical relations established by the Party against its very projections and representations.