Artists Talking Back To The Media

Talking Back to the Media in 1985 combined playful interventions with a critique of the current mass media and was led by international artists such as John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Raul Marroquin, David Garcia, General Idea, Sebastián Lopez and Hans Haacke, to name but a few. 

The impact of Talking Back to the Media was based on its scale; for a full month every avenue of mass communication in Amsterdam was used by artists, with important new works being commissioned for television, radio, posters, cinema and printed journals. During this month the artists could place works in the media landscape of a major European city at a scale approaching that of the mainstream mass media. This engagement with the full infrastructure of a range of media platforms (rather than through selective reporting or images alone) anticipated a certain revolution in media and communications which occurred a decade later. In the internet revolution that was to come not only artists but all citizens would not just be able to 'talk back to the media', but could also think and act beyond the media. This project, entitled Artists Talking Back to the Media 1985-2016 (ATBTTM) reflects on the 1985 incarnation of Talking Back to the Media in juxtaposition with relative contemporary artistic practices.

In the seventies and eighties, a large amount of Latin American artists came to the Netherlands, and especially to Amsterdam because the capital was at that time an international hotspot that was known for its open cultural climate. Artists from all over the world came to experiment with video and the Netherlands was one of the rare places where this new medium was accepted at an early stage. Amsterdam was a city where one could express themselves freely, artistically, sexually and politically. Therefore many Colombian artists came to the Netherlands, and many of them stayed. Since Talking Back to the Media, the Colombian art scene has also evolved and the amount of exhibition spaces and other types of cultural events and institutions in Cali and Bogotá has increased over the last years. Looking to art media and journalism in recent times, it can be said that Colombia has become a place recognised now for its open artistic climate, just as Amsterdam was in the 1980s. After thirty years, it is time to not only look back, but to also enlarge our vision geographically in order to pose some critical reflections. How did the Colombian scene evolve? How do young contemporary Colombian artists work nowadays? How do they look at their predecessors that went to the Netherlands, and can or in what ways can Colombian practices be related to Dutch contemporary artists?