Santiago Sierra sees the differences in society. He initiates actions that refer to and intervene directly in everyday life.

He undermines systems and ordered structures to reveal the mechanisms of economic and cultural exploitation. His actions are tests, of process and permissions, that challenge the host and provide a surprise, a surreal turn, for the audience.

On 25 June 2000, the Institute of Popular Music at the University of Liverpool conducted an exercise centred on the suggestion that music can, in a split second, relay not only moods but also a sense of place. Twenty-five short unidentified musical extracts that exemplify this phenomenon were played. The test group were asked to write down what location, if any, they thought was being communicated through each example.

On listening to an extract from Dimitri Tiomkin’s prelude from the 1947 film Duel in the Sun, the largest percentage wrote down the words ‘American’, ‘Western’ or ‘film’. Santiago Sierra used Dimitri Tiomkin’s version of El Degüello in his action of 2003, which, despite the intervention of the authorities, was nevertheless performed a couple of streets down from Wall Street in Battery Park. Twelve buglers played the tune in shifts over the 24-hour period. Liverpool Biennial exhibited for the first time the documentation of this action and a CD of the soundtrack was included with this catalogue.

El Degüello, 2004
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2004