Headed by three artists—Francisco Camacho, Luigi Coppola e Danilo Correale—and organized by AIR Antwerpen in association with Extra City, Enacting Populism is an ongoing project that will end in February 2012. The project raises from a simple realization: since the fall of Berlin’s wall the new European political parties, founded on a populist approach—and often oriented toward right—have been winning the trust of an ever increasing segment of the population and the constituency.
Starting from this point of view, Enacting Populism resolves itself to represent and make visible those strategies that, on an aesthetic level, intervene in the creation of the consensus around these parties—strategies that reveal themselves as the starting point for any representative democracy in the western world. These mechanisms, which are essentially communicative, and acting daily through the media world in order to construct a fictitious feeling of belonging and identity around an hollow idea of population—are although not regarded here in an entirely negative way. The idea behind Enacting Populism is indeed that of operating through a deconstruction of those mechanisms, in order to render as transparent as possible the way in which our democracy operates. To design the project’s visual identity, Enacting Populism asked the collaboration of Foundland studio, that manufactured and designed a series of billboards referring precisely to the modus operandi by means of which populist politicians, through simplistic messages—and with a strong emotional connotation—identify the enemy. Quoting the Dutch studio’s words: “We contribute to Enacting Populism by exposing the logic of antagonism.”