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Beyond the HappeningPerformance art and the politics of communication$
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Catherine Spencer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526144454

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526144461

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Marta Minujín’s Sociability Experiments

Marta Minujín’s Sociability Experiments

(p.81) 2 Marta Minujín’s Sociability Experiments
Beyond the Happening

Catherine Spencer

Manchester University Press

Chapter 2 analyses Marta Minujín’s increasingly countercultural attitude to communication after Three Country Happening, turning to the artist’s subsequent sociological media performances: Circuit (Super Heterodyne) (1967) and Minucode (1968). It reads these works as extended sociability studies, which used feedback to address the power imbalances of cultural capital, the pressures of Cold War soft diplomacy, and the experiences of exile and alienation. The chapter grounds Minujín’s deployment and critique of social science methodologies in the analytical reception of the Happening in Argentina and the dramatic rise of sociology, psychology and psychoanalysis in the country. It shows how the artist’s fascination with sociability, socialisation and cultural capital, and the media’s role in their consolidation, influenced her immersion in the counterculture, and her desire to undermine the disciplinary effects of sociology and psychology by inciting improvisatory relations – notably in her deeply idiosyncratic, provocative New York and Washington, DC Happenings of the early 1970s.

Keywords:   Cold War, counterculture, feedback, mass media, psychedelia, sociability, soft power, technology

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