Since 18 October 2019, Chile's streets have become our public stage par excellence, a space where our state of equality flourishes and where we can exercise our role as citizens through calls, dissent, solidarity, disobedience, and so many other ways. On that day, thousands of citizens went out to fight on our streets, to redefine the names of our squares, to tear down monuments, to engage with national emblems and to appropriate our walls to reflect our aspirations, slogans and many years of abuse. To showcase a new vision that we have built collectively for the first time.
The performative power of what has happened demands our support and brings us to a crisis, asks us to reformulate our art to participate and collaborate in this historical social process, challenges it to regain its emancipatory and cathartic capacity, invites us as artists to step into the unknown so that we lose our way and take outright risks.
Bis es lebenswert ist (Until It's Worth Living) and Öffentliches Eigentum (Public Property) are two books that capture the different expressions of citizenship in public space in the context of the ›social eruption‹ that Chile experienced. I want to share these images with you and make you witnesses of a historical milestone, one of the most beautiful and hopeful moments I had the privilege to experience and at the same time one of the darkest and most painful. To date, there are more than 400 people with eye injuries, more than 30 dead, more than 15,000 people unjustly detained and hundreds of allegations of torture and sexual violence against protesters. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations all confirmed the brutality of the police crackdown and the general violation of human rights in their reports. More than a year and a half has passed and none of these reports have managed to reduce police repression or bring justice.
Marco Layera, Santiago de Chile, 31 May 2021