Photobook by Roberto Aguirrezabala
Antimanifesto is a photobook that looks at citizen-based movements in reaction to authoritarian power. The iconoclastic nature of the project means that it is positioned against dogma, but the book still retains its character as a manifesto in the sense of a fundamental undertaking to act from the viewpoint of civil and worker-based dissidence.
In essence, Antimanifesto is two books, one of them physically inside the other. The main section Anti uses photos and historical objects modified by Aguirrezabala to examine uprisings against Soviet domination in the satellite states of the Eastern Bloc. These involved strong actions of trade-union resistance, workers’ rebellions and uprisings by sectors of the left which soon came to see Stalinism as a grotesque deviation from true communism. Following the death of Stalin there were numerous uprisings against Soviet hegemony. The earliest of them ended in tragedy, e.g. Berlin in 1953, Budapest in 1956 and the Prague Spring and Charter 77 uprisings in Czechoslovakia. Later, in the late 1980s, protests were eminently peaceful, e.g. the Solidarność movement in Poland and the Singing Revolution in the Baltic countries. With the turn of the 90s came the inevitable collapse of communism, when the ambitious glasnost ended up devouring the unsustainable perestroika in a final attempt to get back to a much-longed-for, original Marxist-Leninism.
Inside Anti is the second book: Manifesto. This is the first-edition, original 1848 German-language version of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, which is printed in full on the inside pages. The text by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels is assaulted, invaded, attacked violently by a repressive Red Army. Aguirrezabala overlays on the German text a number of photos of minimalist scenes laid out as vignettes which walk the line between humour, irony and denunciation, putting the civilian population in the position of passive witnesses forced to watch outbursts of fury. An interlinked dialogue is thus established between the two books, carried on in a continuous, unending sequence that alternates between liberating uprisings and violent repression, evidencing the final condemnation of the self-destruction of the state.
Photography and drawings: Roberto Aguirrezabala
Texts: Roberto Aguirrezabala
Concept, edition and design: Roberto Aguirrezabala
Taking part in photographs: Asier Aldama, Omar Antón, Verónica Condrat, Eztebe Gartzia, Josu Meléndez, Anakoz Merikaetxebarria, Julen Peralta, Mikel Reyes, Natalia Santos, Iván Trancón, Aitor Vidaurreta, Irene Zóttola
Make-up and hairstyling: Ainhoa Ledesma, Merche Moyano, Estibaliz Zabala
Translations: Izaskun Altube (Euskara), Interwords Global Services (English)
Production: This book has been published thanks to the assistance of the Department of Culture and linguistic Policy of the Basque Government
Printing: Laboratorio para el Arte by Estudios Durero
Number of pages: 188
Languages: Spanish, Basque, English
Special pages: printed endpapers, two fold-out pages, twenty pages printed on metallic silver paper and sixty pages with the Manifesto of the Communist Party sewn into the main book as an insert.
Inserts: a guide in a pocket inside the book comprising 32 pages, with the texts sewn in red thread in 3 languages (Spanish, Basque and English); a fold-out poster; and 8 inserts with reproductions of documents, modified bank-notes, post-cards and photos.
Binding and cover: hard-back binding with straight spine and book pages sewn with red thread. Outer cover in embossed textile-style red paper, glued photo and a five-point star die-cut into the front cover.
Measurements: 21,7 × 28,8 × 2,4 cm
Number of copies: 300 (numbered and signed)
Publication date: 2020
Legal Deposit: BI 00190-2020