If Ivan Argote makes obelisks go limp, takes the roar out of imperial lions as they play ball (reviving their instincts as funny cats) or warms up Spanish statues with Peruvian ponchos made in China, it is because in these days when symbols of domination have become roundabout decorations, the monument-fellers need to change their methods. Argote travels the world looking for vestigial signs of fallen power, studying the indirect manifestations of control, observing the conventions that gain acceptance for one vision of history as the official version. A paranoid semiotician in a bucket hat, we picture him going from Greco-Roman sites to western megacities or the Colombian plains and finding just too many coincidences for them not to indicate an age-old plot.
Wherever he goes he is struck by these absurdities inscribed in the scenery and tolerated out of simple amnesia or habit, like that coal train forever passing through the middle of a village in South America, quite oblivious to the global energy business. The dialogue has already been written: one day, everything will change, it will hit you like a ton of bricks, but don’t worry, “we have new methods.”