Tessie Barrera-Scharaga

Five Time Art Party Participant • Art party supporter
Tactics of Survival


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Artist’s Statement

Tactics of Survival


We live in the age of information. Firms, institutions, and agencies of different sorts produce, process, collect, exchange, distribute, circulate, transmit, and control the information we receive. At the same time, multi-national corporations seem to have bottomless power over how to present this information to the masses. Events taking place around the world can be controlled to suit the political, financial, and/or even religious agendas of those in control.


How much of the information we receive is truthful, how much is self-serving to those who hold power? Our sense-making abilities are central to our capacity to action. In an era of gargantuan news conglomerates manipulating most, if not all, aspects of news dissemination, it would appear that there is very little ordinary people can do to determine what is believable and then, how to best use of the information received. Outside forces shape our attitudes and program us to act and react in pre-disposed ways.


In his ground-breaking book The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certau, the erudite French ethnologist and historian, researched the theme of resistance, particularly the subtle actions of ordinary individuals or citizens, to manage and subvert the oppressive, totalitarian systems of sense-making they live under.


Tactics of Survival alludes to what those spaces of resistance represent for me, the opportunities individuals can create to regain some control over our own circumstances. These opportunities may take the form of ‘indeterminate trajectories’ and appear pointless, because they do not coincide with pre-fabricated norms of action or behavior. They are instances that remain unpredictable within the spaces dictated by the organizing agents of prevailing systems. They provide, if only for a few short moments, a respite from the overwhelming and deadening forces that surround us.”