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Margin of Error is a critical re-assessment of past and present-day coloniality focusing on the dominant narrative construction of historical events such as the ‘Discovery’ and the Conquest of America, as they are reflected in text-books used in schools in Spain. Besides deconstructing the assemblage of graphic discourses, visual materials and textual constructs found in official school books, the project also surveys alternative uses of the same educational resources, as new possibilities arise through an exploration of group dynamics involving secondary school teachers and students.
The basic audiovisual structure beneath the Margin of Error project emerges from the deconstruction of a traditional history class into a series of cinematic fragments depicting alternative exercises- from the staging of scenes based on colonial imagery, to debates on dominant (or repressed) concepts in history lessons dealing with colonialism, or the disruption of specific texts through memorising games or even through physical interventions on the books themselves.
In the layout of the exhibition, these audiovisual fragments are arranged anagrammatically, in conjunction with other collectively authored assemblages, including some where the same books seen in the footage are subjected to various disruptive operations, with texts being superimposed, re-assembled, highlighted or crossed out. The aim is to re-energize them both as interpretative devices and as potential engines of a new critical imagination.
As an ensemble, the exhibition builds an experimental, non linear narrative that challenges teleological notions of historical ‘truth’ and destabilises the visual and textual discourses underpinning them, introducing criticality and a new poetics in a field which, in Spain, has traditionally been dominated by the official version of the country’s colonial past.