El Milagro Chileno

The Chilean Miracle

In 1975, during a period of military dictatorship, Chile found itself immersed in economic structural problems. Milton Friedman, father of the “Chicago Boys”, pushed to implement a free market economic system based on neoliberal public policies. The country began to produce macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP and GNP, matching those of developed countries. However, these indicators only displayed an increase in national wealth, not an increase in economic equality.

This vision of macro-economic growth based on neoliberal policies was dubbed by the dictatorship as the “Chilean Miracle.”

The “Chilean Miracle” was a propagandistic slogan using religion as a mechanism by the dictatorship to justify the privatization of public systems and worlds. Today, the difference between rich and poor has grown substantially due to this migration of economic mechanisms, transforming citizen into consumer.

The “Chilean Miracle” project aims to establish a connection with existing publics through a social sculpture that can be adopted by various peoples. This social sculpture becomes part of the fabric of public space and imagination, creating more contemporary portrayals of the nation´s lives; the one lived by the people in the streets, in towns, by street vendors, retirees earning less than 100.000 pesos per month (175 USD). The “Chilean Miracle” is a way to re-appropriate propaganda and tell the stories of the Chilean people, not as economic subjects, but as constantly adapting beings making life in Chile.

Social Sculpture

The initial performance consists of a tailored suit completely covered in plastic flowers. Plastic injection-moulded flowers reflect the material networks of a globalized economy, as they are manufactured in China , shipped across the ocean, and sold in the streets of Chile. These flowers have displaced organically-manufactured flowers used in animitas or altars in the roads and tombstones at cemeteries. The disposable yet essentially inhuman life-span of the plastic flower reflects the type of shallow, everlasting death resulting from the systems of a neo-liberal planetary economy. Plastic flowers allude to the superficiality, rootlessness and fiction inherent in the “Chilean Miracle”.