A visual artist, theoretician and activist, Daniel G. Andújar (Almoradí, Alicante, 1966) uses digital media, advertising strategies from the business world, and interventions in public space in a wide-ranging practice that oscillates between the territory of the real (the city) and the tools of the virtual (the Web). The connection between the two areas reveal how social and power relations participate in a state of negotiation in perpetual redefinition which manifests the inequalities and discussions these relations generate in today’s world. Both new and previously made works are exhibited in Operating System, in a body of work that reveals the ongoing preoccupations in the artist’s creative and critical discourse.
The work of Daniel G. Andújar sets up analogies with computer languages and business strategies. Technologies To The People (1994), for example, is a proposal which uses slogans, logos and corporate images for fictional technological services companies to open up paths of action outside business, and to unveil the manipulative confusion between business discourse and its deceptive political emancipatory masquerading. Along the same lines, the installation Individual Citizen Republic Project™: The System (x-devian) (2003) recreates a lab where an operating system is being created together with an advertising strategy used to spark consumers’ desire and steer it towards free software, which is unconcerned with profit and thus potentially threatening to the worldwide technology business. These projects generally encourage user empowerment over the new media and emancipation from the pre-imposed discourses of the financial or political worlds.
The breach between simulated (virtual) and real worlds is highlighted in the work It Is Rumored That... Roma Refugees Centre(1999). False announcements concerning the Roma minority touch on aspects of the way information is generated, on the basis that “Simulation makes you feel things reality can’t.” One of these aspects is the simulacrum, which reverberates in the visual construction of the policeman as a demonstrator in Infiltrators(2014) in relation to videogame technologies, or in ArmedCitizen (1998-2006) and Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge(2014), which refer to the acquisition of firearms through technology. Infiltrators presents a series of handguns, freely available online, as objects of desire, whereas the latter makes oblique reference to the interest of the early Russian Avant Garde in design as a political weapon, juxtaposing it with the current possibility of using 3D printing to simulate a weapon.
Intervention in current events appears in works such as A Brick Culture (2004) and Objects of Desire (2010), which directly refer to the involvement of public officials in real estate scandals. The two-sided appropriation of public space (through art action or speculation) can also be seen in the installation Not found, 1000Case Studies (2014), where areas normally reserved for advertising are occupied by a message normally found on the Internet. A similar usage of space takes place in Leaders (2014), where a series of photographs of political leaders are manipulated, subverting icons to serve the ends of commerce or advertising.
In the final part of the exhibition, the distortion of iconic images takes the form of a case studio on Picasso, the Guernica and the 1937 International Exhibition where it was exhibited. The room invites the viewer to reflect on a figure, a work and a historical event –in the Museum Collection- in several interrelated pieces dealing with aspects of transparency and concealment of information and intervention or non-intervention in public affairs. It also sets up analogies between historical responses to warfare and new forms of violence, siege and control in the framework of information societies