Computer

We are on the assumption of futurability. The future leads to progress for users of the modern paradigm. One of the possible advances of humans involves the linking of machines and bodies in order to increase them, expand them, accelerate them, and make them productive. However, this relationship is defined as tense:  as the capacities of the human body are expanded, the freedoms of the individual are being curtailed. If this problem is exposed to the future, two opposing scenarios are formed. On the one hand, a utopian one where the body enters into a symbiotic relationship with the machine, and on the other, a dystopian one, where the current dialectics of domination of technologies over bodies are extrapolated. In this context, Supposed Immateriality establishes a dialogue between different ways of diagnosing and addressing the violence implicit in the flesh/machine relationship as well as in the conditions of materiality and new corporeality that exist in, between, by and through this binomial.

The technological media used to expand the body is, at the same time, mechanisms of panoptic control, 24/7 surveillance and monetization of users. This situation triggers a series of violent events in the virtualized bodies: they are required to be constantly exposed; always available, always productive, fragmented, tracked and monitored. Despite this imposed omnipresence, it is possible to fake an escape and play hide and seek, thus provoking a conflict that transcends human materiality: flesh and pixels, blood and fibre, flesh and copper.

In the piece Utopías, by Claudio Zulián (2019), the installations place the viewer in a high-tech industrial space, but one may notice a disrupted spatiality: the subjects who intervene are enjoying the space, producing it in a counter-intuitive way (Lefebvre, 2013; Soja, 1989). In other words, they transform, with their activity, a space arranged for other purposes. The contraposition between the rigidity of the machine and the bodies proposed by the artist produces an uncanny effect: the acrobats, a kind of human sculpture, triumph self-sustained; their bodies stand in a non-imposed flexibility that contrasts with the rigid structure, subverting the space, its function and its roles at will. The framework in Utopias is technocapitalism and its disregard for the working body in favour of the machine and the algorithm. The soft, flexible, suspended skin is opposed to the rigidity of the machine, echoing one of the double edges of technology in the working body: flexibility increases, indeed, as well as precariousness.

Therefore, bodies are now omnipresent, quantified in perpetual tracking; these are the flow of optical fibre at both ends, simultaneously.  The invisible hand of late capitalism demands bodies and requires goods from its machinery. Inputs that become "prosumers" (Martín Prada, 2015, 46), since new technologies do not free the body from productive time, but all fast and compressed time is a productive element, even leisure one (Guardiola, 2018, 37). The body and digital identity both produce information in their own creation and movement through the net. This is data that finally becomes an economic asset. Even affection and desire are monetised, and the cybernetic footprint, that is, the omnipresence of the body, steals control from “the last god of those we disbelieve” (Dawkins, 2006).

On the other hand, the cyberbody's temporality demands an exhausting, immediate and compressed speed, more characteristic of virtual goods than of biological cycles (Guardiola, 2018, 37). The visual artist Mario Santamaría makes this unfolding of both (cyber and flesh) bodies time visible in the project Travel to my Website. Website (2019). A dark interface traces a route through the infrastructures that allow information flows to travel through the network. In this case, Santamaría uses an algorithm called Traceroute to trace the geographical route taken by the data when entering into his personal website: from Switzerland to Stockholm, from Stockholm to Milan, to Perugia and finally to Bergamo. This work shows the coordinates of some geographical locations in the Internet's own materiality, the time it would take a physical body to reach the next node, and includes images of this physical journey. The next node, as well as its corresponding image, is not loaded until the physical body has reached the previous node. Thus, sixty-seven milliseconds are displayed in a fifteen-day journey, and the photographs documenting the journey take weeks to be available on this page. It is ironic how long it takes to access these images, when ubiquity, permanent availability and immediacy are the requirements for living in a cyberworld. Accordingly, Santamaría subordinates the time of the data to the time of the bodies.

There is a precedent for this piece in Santamaría's work, in which his physical body traces the data of his virtual body. On this occasion, the journey is made completely opposite: Travel to my Website (2016). However, both works raise the issue of duality in materiality and temporality of online bodies. By overlapping both journeys, the structural differences between datified and incarnated bodies are displayed.

The search for something always implies an absence. In this sense, one could ask: is the artist trying to recompose himself? Or rather to recognise himself? What is the out-of-place infrastructure? The body of flesh or the virtual body? 

The transubstantiation of the body into data produces a fragmented body, a severed body, whose members disappear and travel; a multiple body that splits in two, whose absence drives oneself to go in the search for it (Kane, 2020). The body is tracked through five different countries, traced as far as the strategic servers in Northern Virginia, where it passes about seventy percent of the data on the Internet. The problem is that one part of the body takes a thousandth of a second to travel that distance, while the rest –the physical, exhausted self– takes weeks. This is where the Rabbit Holes syntagma, stolen from one of Santamaría's latest exhibitions –Unfixed Infraestructures and Rabbit Holes (2020)– begins to make sense: when body fragments are ripped out and sent, is their fate certain or safe? Rabbit hole can be understood as a metaphor for that which transports us –wonderfully or problematically– to a surreal state or situation.

The philosopher Remedios Zafra identifies a contradiction in the materiality of cyberbodies, a violence whose result is dual. On the one hand, when the physical body is transformed into the virtual body, it becomes fragmented, and as Zafra (2010, 84) indicates, a severed body is a sick body. At the same time, a splitting of one's identity is produced, in other words, there are several selves and various virtual bodies, so that the network can be a laboratory of operations for the bodies that allows experimentation without apparent consequences for the physical selves (Zafra, 2010, 88). Moreover, the relational and communicative possibilities of virtual subjects increase exponentially. The technological body looks like a utopian body: light, stark, luminous, bright as a pixel, perfect; a body created in the laboratory of our own connected room (Zafra, 2010). One could think that this virtual body leaves no physical traces, but only immaterial data filling the digital space. Santamaría comes to demonstrate the heaviness of digital bodies. All the brilliant information built by these biomachines is transported and housed in a series of infrastructures that are not light and ecological. Our virtual body has, in fact, a physical trail: data that travels through glass, plastic or copper, and is stored in buildings full of computers.

Hypervisibility is a trap in these spaces.The devices that give access to the network are operating tables and transparent cells connected to the watchtower of the panopticon at the same time; and the watch are the governments, the large telecom and marketing companies related to data trade (Guardiola, 2018, 87).  However, there are forms of resistance. In Supposed Immateriality we recover the works of two artists who propose the possibility of dematerialisation or body concealment in order to distance it from the panopticon and its control mechanisms. Therefore, strategies to resist the conditions of violence of the cyberbodies paradigm are proposed.

Aware of this, Lua Coderch outlines an escape plan. In Strategies to Disappear (2011) she proposes mechanisms of escape and invisibility in a context of omnipresence and exhausting tracking. Coderch redirects attention to the body we inhabit, its use and wear and tear, which, increased by overexposure, leaves an irrevocable and forceful trace; the more absent the body, the more indelible it is. In Coderch's work, the traces of the body become present due to the signs of a presence that is now absent; therefore, there has been an escape and an escapist. Despite the absence, the immateriality of the physical body, total disappearance is impossible; the strategy and the plan of escape are unsuccessful. Traces will always remain. The proposed spatiality, adjusted to the human and everyday habitat –a chair, a shelf, a plant, even in its 'emptiness'– refers to presence. Is disappearance possible? Is there survival outside the strict act of presence? The telephone rings, the watchman, the caller, and behind the earpiece, a voice warns that one should not leave any traces. The titanic exercise of disappearing is so overwhelming that it is natural to become powerless.

The work Incognito (2019), by the visual artist Ewa Nowak, aims to provide an answer to disappearance and offers a strategy to resist the omnipresence and the tracking of bodies: camouflage. The possibility of invisibility is addressed by designing a mask that prevents facial recognition by the algorithms.

It is interesting that, as a form of protection against new technologies, the artist uses a mask, one of the most primitive elements to hide or change identity. Despite the antiquity of the strategy, Nowak creates Incognito as a design object, a piece of jewellery that can be used in everyday life. In this way, the biometric camouflage tool is transformed into a fashion accessory, due to the universality of the need to disappear.

Such a paradox makes it clear that escape is only possible either by returning to a primitive state, or by leaving a double in our place. Disconnection, hidden navigation, the invisible gaze, the legal loophole and impersonation are the new tunnels of the dungeon. Becoming multiple, counter-intuitive, potential and in movement; temporary escapist, emoji cyborg (https://www.instagram.com/p/CDrOZazKUPb/). Is there still an alternative?

 

Bella Araneda, Laura Zapata

 

Bibliography:

Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Londres: Bantam Press, 2006.

 

Guardiola, Ingrid. L’ull i la navalla: un assaig del món com a interfície. Barcelona: Arcadia, 2018.      

Kane, Nathalie. Unfixed Infrastructures and Rabbit Holes [curatorial text]. 2020. Disponible en: https://www.blueprojectfoundation.org/es/exposiciones/item/unfixed-infrastructures-and-rabbit-holes  (Accedido: 7 enero 2021).

Lefebvre, Henri [1974]. La producción del espacio (Translated by Emilio Martínez). Madrid: Capitán Swing, 2013. 

 

Martin Prada, Juan. Prácticas artísticas en la época de las redes sociales. Madrid: Akal, 2015.


Soja, Edward. Postmodern Geographies. Nueva York: Verso, 1989.

Inmaterialidad supuesta

Bella Araneda | Laura Zapata

Lúa Coderch Ewa Nowak Mario Santamaria Claudio Zulián

Lúa Coderch

This curatorship departs from the project Estrategias para desaparecer (2011) by the artist Lua Coderch.

In her artistic practice she investigates, through very diverse materialities and strategies, historical narratives as well as personal themes that derive in a concatenation of her different audiovisual projects. She has studied Sculpture at the Massana School; obtained a Master in Production and Art Research (2012) and a PhD in Fine Arts (2017) from the University of Barcelona. She has taught at various art schools and universities in Barcelona, obtaining numerous scholarships and awards throughout her career. She participated in various exhibitions mainly in Spain and Europe. Among them are Estratègies per desaparèixer (2011) and The Nostalgic Dissidence (2017), both held at La Capella, Barcelona. In 2018 she participated in the cycle of projections of contemporary audiovisual works Los efectos de representar, together with artists such as Claudio Zulian, Eulàlia Valldosera, Giuliana Racco and Marcelo Expósito and in conversation with Jorge Blasco and Martí Perán. She lives and works in Barcelona.

Official website: https://www.luacoderch.com

Sobre La muntanya ma?gica: http://oriolfontdevila.net/lua-coderch-the-magic-mountain/

Not I [2018]: [Video] https://loop-barcelona.com/artist-video/not-i/

Ewa Nowak

This curatorship departs from the project Incognito (2018) by the artist Ewa Nowak.

A visual artist, graduate of the Faculty of Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Her projects have been repeatedly awarded in competitions for designers and shown at exhibitions in Poland and abroad. She designs utility objects, creates conceptual art, sculptures and jewelery. In her artistic works, she is interested in combining various areas – the scrupulous experience of the industrial designer with the freedom of expression in the world of art. Ewa, together with Jaros?aw Markowicz, established the NOMA design studio, where they both deal with industrial design. She also designs jewelry for her newly created brand, Ferja.

Official website: https://noma-studio.pl/

Mario Santamaria

This curatorship departs from the project Travel to my Website. Website (2019) by the artist Mario Santamaria. This work has been winner piece of the Visual Arts Contest Award Miquel Casablancas in the category of work in 2020 edition.

Mario Santamaría (1985) is a visual artist who works with a wide range of media, frequently using photography, video, performance, websites, and online and tele-technologic interventions. He has been curator of the Yami-Ichi Internet at the CCCB Barcelona and Matadero Madrid, finalist in the Post-Photography Prototyping Prize of the Fotomuseum Winterthur and included in Watched! Surveillance, Art and Photography from the Hasselblad Foundation. His work has been shown at: CaixaForum (Barcelona), MACBA (Barcelona), ZKM (Karlsruhe), WKV (Stuttgart), Edith-Russ-Haus (Oldenburg), Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona), CENART (Mexico), La Casa Encendida (Madrid), Arebyte (London), Stadtmuseum (Munich), Or Gallery (Berlin) and in the Biennials of Lyon, Thessaloniki and Havana.

Official website: mariosantamaria.net

Claudio Zulián

This curatorship departs from the project Utopias (2019) by the artist Claudio Zulian.

Film director, video artist, musician and writer. He holds a PhD in Aesthetics, Science and Technology of the Arts, by the University of Paris-Saint Denis (France). Author of a prolific and multiform work. A big part of his work is centered in the power of the margin in utopian, neighborhood and city cartographic spaces, as well as of the social body in subalternized collectives, migrants and refugees. The search of specificity in each medium he works with is a characteristic of his artwork. In 1993 he created Acteon, the Barcelona-based production company that carries out his projects. With his documentary A través del Carmel (Through Carmel) - also planned as an installation - he won the Premi Ciutat de Barcelona (2009) and the Premi Nacional de Cinema de Catalunya (2010).

He regularly gives lectures, runs workshops and attends conferences at different universities, cultural and artistic centers. He also writes regularly for magazines and newspapers. He lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Official website: https://www.claudiozulian.com

In his essay “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” (1930), the founder of macroeconomics John Maynard Keynes predicted that technological development will guarantee progress, leading us toward a better society, providing citizens' well-being and ultimately liberating us from work. Although the rate of economic growth and accumulation he predicted seems to be accurate, the impact of technology on our everyday life is far from the utopian vision Keynes once imagined (Malcolm, 2019).

In 2017, as a part of the project The Dating Brokers (2018), artist Joana Moll (in cooperation with Ramin Soleymani and Tactical Tech) purchased one million online dating profiles from USDate, a US-based company that trades in dating profiles from all over the globe. For only 136€ they got access to a large amount of sensitive data, namely “pictures (almost 5 million of them), usernames, e-mail addresses, nationality, gender, age and detailed personal information about all of the people who had created the profiles, such as their sexual orientation, interests, profession, thorough physical characteristics and personality traits” [1].
Were the users aware that all this information can be easily sold to whoever is willing to buy it?
The Dating Brokers was made to “raise alarming ethical, moral and legal questions” [2]. Yet, very few of us realise to what extent we are being exploited by companies whose services we use on a daily basis, and how our private data, together with our attention, become the most valuable capital of today’s market.

Social media and new technologies allow us to be visible 24/7 on a large international scale. We can routinely expose ourselves, share the most private parts of our everyday life and craft our self-image. What was once reserved for the few is now, in the era of hyper-visibility, within reach of the many at a relatively low (or zero) cost of internet access. As new technologies develop with overwhelming speed, we keep giving up more and more control over our privacy. We still easily offer up even the most sensitive information about ourselves, in exchange for convenience. Data – and its massive accumulation – has become a core component of political economy in the 21st century. And this is when people’s privacy is starting to be at stake.

In the quest of new audiences and methods to boost visibility in virtual space, we slowly realise what is the real cost of our constant virtual presence – all our movements, not only in virtual but also in physical space, are being tracked. Struggling to be seen, we probably didn’t expect that one day not visibility but disappearance will become a real challenge. So is there a way to fight back and disappear from virtual space?

Ewa Nowak’s Incognito project (2018) was created as a response to public surveillance.
Metal jewelry is supposed to help its users to avoid being tracked by public cameras and online, through social media. Careful arrangement of each of the elements of the mask makes it impossible for face-recognition algorithms to correctly read the prominent features of the human face. The project was preceded by a long-term study. Creating the mask back in 2018, Nowak used Facebook’s own DeepFace algorithm to test it. However, as noted by the artist, since facial recognition systems are becoming more and more perfect and software is being constantly updated, design loses its efficiency with time.
Ultimately it seems there is nowhere to hide in this hyper-connected reality. And the more data about ourselves we provide, the capital of internet giants continues to grow.

Over time we’ve equated the ideology of growth with progress. We’ve learned to measure general welfare with indices like GDP, which strengthened our constant need to expand. That has led us to a drastically unsustainable political economy, a defining feature of the 21st century. With the rapidly accelerating climate crisis and the threat of increasing – global income inequality, it becomes clear that we need to rethink our habits and our political economy, considering degrowth as one of the proposals of systematic change (Jason, 2020, 14-17), and reflect on the major future forms of capital in a post–capitalist reality.

In the work entitled Venus (2017) Magdalena Lazar spins a dreamlike vision about the utopian world, in which money does not exist. The artist creates alluring and hypnotic animation using the motif of The Coin Funnel (a fundraising device that employs and illustrates Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion). In this context, the image Lazar creates can also bring to mind a marketing concept of sales funnel. As the coins spin into the vortex, a gentle voice over invites us to join a better reality.
The video is inspired by the work of Jacque Fresco – an American futurist and social designer who advocated the global implementation of the so-called resource-based economy. Fresco imagined a socio-economic system in which the monetary system would be replaced with equal and sustainable resources access. Fresco developed his ideas, among others, in Project Venus –an organization founded in 1975, the aim of which was to improve the living conditions of society. As pointed out by Lazar, “Internet applications feed on the idealist slogan of ‘sharing’. Despite their use of altruist semantics, in lieu of the sharing economy, these profitable platforms by and large employ the taking economy […]. On top of this, their financial gains are masked by people’s longings in an era of promulgated self-sufficiency. In response to the phenomenon, community-centred resistance movements have emerged: sharing one’s time (skills), food, resources, communal house construction. DIY tendencies are becoming increasingly more apparent. They frequently take the form of utopian projects such as the Venus Project […]. These are but few thick networks of mutual interdependencies which strive to enrich our existence” [3].

Lazar's animation invites the viewer to contemplate contemporary capitalist systems and the possibility of employing the concept of sharing, outside of “altruistic” marketing narrative that in fact, is often used by companies to cover their real objective – increased consumption.

But can we imagine an alternative for the existing patterns of consumption? What form both the capital and resources could take in the future, so as to enable a sustainable economic system and put an end to the existing crisis of over-extraction or data exploitation?

Now, more often than ever, the issue of privacy is being brought into the public eye by the media. It seems that the need to be visible and the tendency to share every part of our life slowly shift in the opposite direction. Acknowledging the real price of visibility and online presence, we look for ways to regain control over our privacy. But also – our new needs are being quickly recognized by the market – the ability to decide on when and where we want to remain visible may soon become a luxury. The sculptural piece entitled Incognito by Ewa Nowak (2018) was recently on sale in Goodman Gallery, London, for 15.000 euros.

In the end it seems that only a few will be able to afford to disappear from public view.



[1] Joana Moll, Ramin Soleymani and Tactical Tech. The Data Brokers, 2017. Retrieved from. https://datadating.tacticaltech.org/ (Accessed: January the 9th, 2021).

[2] Ibidem.

[3] Retrieved from: https://magdalenalazar.com/venus (Accessed: January the 9th, 2021).



Bibliography:

Harris Malcolm, “Keynes was wrong. Gen Z will have it worse”. In Technology Review, 2019. Available at: https://cdn.technologyreview.com/s/614892/keynes-was-wrong-gen-z-will-have-it-worse/ (Accessed: January the 9th, 2021).

Hickel Jason, “A New Blooming World. Interview by Paulina Wilk”. In Przkerój, no. 1, 2020, p. 14-17.





New Forms of Capital

Anna Stec | Laura Zapata

Magdalena Lazar Joana Moll Ewa Nowak

Magdalena Lazar

MAGDALENA LAZAR (1986, Poland)

This curatorship departs from the project Venus (2017) by the artist Magdalena Lazar.

Artistic practice of Magdalena Lazar consists in a deep interest both in human motivations for creating inventions and pushing the world forward and in an incessant sense of ‘future shock’, or too many changes in too short a time. An archaeology of the present, failed prognoses and utopian vision as well as initiatives related to post-growth are her main area of interest. The fact that she has Silesian roots that are certainly not without significance. A region, which had once supposed to be a symbol of progress, was undergoing a deep crisis as she was growing up.

She works in animation, video, photography, installation and object. Magdalena gives a visual form to true stories which appear to be fiction and construct fictions on the basis of her intuition, delving into what sociologists term a horizon of the future.

Between 2006 – 2012 she studied in the graphics department of Academy of Fine Arts, Kraków, PL; between 2010 – 2011 - at University of the Arts (Class of Christiane Möbus ), Berlin, D.

Joana Moll

JOANA MOLL (Barcelona, 1982)

This curatorship departs from the project The Dating Brokers (2018) by the artist Joana Moll.

Joana Moll is a Barcelona/Berlin based artist and researcher. Her work critically explores the way techno-capitalist narratives affect the alphabetization of machines, humans and ecosystems. Her main research topics include Internet materiality, surveillance, social profiling and interfaces. She has presented her work in renowned institutions, museums, universities and festivals around the world.

She is the co-founder of the Critical Interface Politics Research Group at HANGAR [Barcelona] and co-founder of The Institute for the Advancement of Popular Automatisms. She is currently a visiting lecturer at Universität Potsdam and Escola Elisava [Barcelona].

Ewa Nowak

This curatorship departs from the project Incognito (2018) by the artist Ewa Nowak.

A visual artist, graduate of the Faculty of Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Her projects have been repeatedly awarded in competitions for designers and shown at exhibitions in Poland and abroad. She designs utility objects, creates conceptual art, sculptures and jewelery. In her artistic works, she is interested in combining various areas – the scrupulous experience of the industrial designer with the freedom of expression in the world of art. Ewa, together with Jaros?aw Markowicz, established the NOMA design studio, where they both deal with industrial design. She also designs jewelry for her newly created brand, Ferja.

Official website: https://noma-studio.pl/

Civilizations are built from traces, residues and fossils that transcend through history, like iceberg tips that crystallize, sealing episodes and weaving a story of continuity. A continuity that is legitimized by the authority that interprets or hides the documents and archives. This point of view is the one that the French philosopher Jacques Derrida articulates from Freudian psychoanalysis, as an "archival drive", which becomes what he calls "archive fever": Faced with any possibility of disappearance, the drive to preserve everything, every detail, every document, every trace and trace of history, preventing time from getting lost (Derrida, 1997). However, there are some historiographic consequences that stem precisely from the relationship with hermeneutical power and authority, which establishes, interprets and ratifies relationships between archives. In this way, documents, images and their articulation through history have generated a configuration about the world that continues to this day.

Western World has been incorporating elements from different historical periods, places and civilizations, placing them on a scale of value, in a chronological line that over the centuries has sustained the great historical narrative and the foundational narratives of its civilization. Narratives of a western white gaze that have hegemonized discourses of colonization, slavery, and the delegitimization of the other’s figure.

In this context, travel has played an important role in shaping Western civilizations. It is the mechanism by which the individual moves towards the unknown, that is, to the other, and to the alter civilization with the aim of returning. The return is essential to construct the story, since it implies the return to a previous state in which the stories lived during the trip are incorporated. Several times has this account been enhanced through epic narratives and even fictional literature, such as the travel paradigm present in Homer's Odyssey: Ulysses returns to tell his story and restore order to Ithaca. In this type of narration, the hero, the main character, is identified as the restorative element in the face of a catastrophe -the breakdown of order-. This disruption is often due to the irruption of the figure of the other, which calls into question the legitimate story. In other words, the existence of an other makes the existence of one's own self shake. In fictional stories, the invasion of the other -other worlds, other species- has triggered some of the speeches in which the figure of the hero has been mostly justified; who, through his travel story, manages to restore order or, at least, redirect it.

Facing with the trip as the constructor of a legitimizing story, one might think that there are other ways of interpreting the trip that allow the generation of narratives outside the hegemonic. The trip becomes an anti-trip through the dilation or suspension of time, due to the inability to return, because the disappearance of the hero's own figure, or due to the absence of an objective in the heroic feat. Given the disappearance of all these elements, the order of things is impossible to restore, since a journey without return neither builds a story nor perpetuates it. Agustín Fernández Mallo, physicist and writer, reflects on this widespread idea of ??return on the journey. He wonders why the return is taken for granted when a long journey is undertaken. When astronauts say goodbye by waving their hand, their return is understood, because it is essential to be able to narrate their particular space odyssey to the rest of humanity (Fernández Mallo, 2018, 36).

But… what if they did not come back? This text presents that fiction where heroes disappear or are lost in the journey, where the self and the other are confused and the hegemonic narratives are diluted. We Won’t Return projects, from fiction, a fractal journey through multiple narratives, taking as a starting point the works of the artists Serafín Álvarez, Marla Jacarilla and Mario Santamaría.

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We Won't Return

Laura Fernández Zapata | Juan Antonio Cerezuela

Serafín Álvarez Marla Jacarilla Mario Santamaria

Serafín Álvarez

This curatorship departs from the project Maze Walkthrough (2014) by the artist Serafín Álvarez.

Artist, researcher and teacher, born in León (Spain) in 1985. He currently lives and works in Barcelona. His work focuses on how concepts associated with liminality, non-human otherness, the journey into the unknown and changes in the perception of reality, are represented in contemporary audiovisual media such as cinema and video games.

His work has been shown in centers such as Asakusa (Tokyo), CA2M (Móstoles), CAC (Vilnius), La Casa Encendida (Madrid), CentroCentro (Madrid), Fundació Joan Miró (Barcelona), MACBA (Barcelona), MUSAC (León). ), La Panera (Lleida) and Trafó (Budapest) among others. Álvarez has an MFA and a BFA from the University of Barcelona, ??where he is currently conducting a research project on the transmedia expansion of science fiction as part of his PhD.

In addition to his work as an artist, he develops artistic education projects in collaboration with various art centers and institutions and is a professor at BAU Centro Universitario de Diseño de Barcelona.

Web
http://serafinalvarez.net/

Marla Jacarilla

This curatorship departs from the project La balsa de la Medusa (2020) by the artist Marla Jacarilla.

Visual artist, writer and film critic.

Recent individual exhibitions: Exterior day. An ordinary family smiles (Museo de Reus, 2020), Notes for a leak (Center del Carme, Valencia, 2018), Possibility and Word (Twin Gallery, Madrid, 2017), Annotations for an eisegesis (Centro de arte de Alcobendas, 2016 ). In 2012 he published Mecánica de la desidia, her first fiction novel. She has participated in group exhibitions at MACBA, Arts Santa Mònica, La Fundació Tàpies, La Panera or Fabra i Coats Center d’Art Contemporani, among others. Winner of the PostBrossa20 call (Fundació Joan Brossa), of the Escletxes prize to support research and artistic production granted by the Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana, of the BBVA Foundation video art grant, the Guasch Coranty Foundation grant or the Bòlit mentor scholarship among others. Jacarilla was also awarded with the ART NOU 2012 Best Artist Award. She develops her work using techniques such as writing, performance, short films and video installations. It continuously searches for links between plastic arts, new technologies and literature to develop a fragmented narrative dotted with fiction that the viewer is invited to recompose.

Web
http://www.marlajacarilla.es/

Mario Santamaria

This curatorship departs from the project Travel to my Website. Website (2019) by the artist Mario Santamaria. This work has been winner piece of the Visual Arts Contest Award Miquel Casablancas in the category of work in 2020 edition.

Mario Santamaría (1985) is a visual artist who works with a wide range of media, frequently using photography, video, performance, websites, and online and tele-technologic interventions. He has been curator of the Yami-Ichi Internet at the CCCB Barcelona and Matadero Madrid, finalist in the Post-Photography Prototyping Prize of the Fotomuseum Winterthur and included in Watched! Surveillance, Art and Photography from the Hasselblad Foundation. His work has been shown at: CaixaForum (Barcelona), MACBA (Barcelona), ZKM (Karlsruhe), WKV (Stuttgart), Edith-Russ-Haus (Oldenburg), Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona), CENART (Mexico), La Casa Encendida (Madrid), Arebyte (London), Stadtmuseum (Munich), Or Gallery (Berlin) and in the Biennials of Lyon, Thessaloniki and Havana.

Official website: mariosantamaria.net

Web
http://www.mariosantamaria.net

Transcripción de audio

Kintsugi Virtual

Bella Araneda Puentes | Germina Bastardas Beltrán | Zahira Dehn Tutosaus | Victoria Ellm | Laura Fernández Zapata

Valentina Desideri Lluís Sabadell Artigues

Valentina Desideri

This curatorship departs from the project Political Therapy (2016) by the artist Valentina Desideri.


Valentina Desideri is an artist living in Amsterdam. She learned contemporary dance at the Trinity Laban Center in London (2003-2006) and studied a Master in Fine Arts at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam (2011-2013). She performs Fake Therapy and Political Therapy, co-organizes the Performing Arts Forum in France, speculates in writing with Professor Stefano Harney, writes biographies by reading hands and participates in poetry readings with Professor Denise Ferreira da Silva.

Web
https://faketherapy.wordpress.com/

Lluís Sabadell Artigues

This curatorship departs from the project Synthesis (o el descobriment de la mel) (2009) by the artist Lluís Sabadell.

Lluís Sabadell Artiga (Girona, 1974) is an artist, curator and designer specialized in art and ecology and in co-creation. He graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona in 1997 and holds a master's degree in Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Thought from the University Pompeu Fabra in 2008. He has made several art interventions in nature such as: Waldlichtung (Grindelwald, Switzerland, 2011), Seta de Agua (Almeria, Spain, 2010), Caos y linea (Saillagousse, France 2009), Process Work nº2 (Abruzzo, Italy, 2008), Process Work nº1 with A. Artigas (Pordenone, Italy, 2005), Golden Stone nº2 (Lappenranta, Finland, 2004), Golden Stone nº1 (Asturias, 1998) or the Illuminatio action (Savitaipale, Finland, 2007).

In 2005 he created the project Híbrids 2.0 (2005-2010) to reflect on the relations between human beings and their environment from an ecological point of view, which led to exhibitions such as Equilibri Natural: Art i Ecologia (2009), El Paisaje Transgredit (2007), LAV01: Laboratori d'Arquitectures Vives (2007) and Paisatges Invisibles/Paratges Impossibles (2007) and conferences such as Naturalesa, Art, Ciència i Tecnologia (2005) and Trajeccions. Paisatges en mutació constant (2006). Between 2008 and 2010 he directs the project Post-Oil Cities (www.postorilcities.org) which investigates new creative ways to make our cities independent from oil.

Since 2012, with the project CoCreable, he develops co-creation processes specialized in the cultural and social field doing projects of citizen participation as noubarrisnou (2010-2012), noupaticastellum (2012); projects of social innovation as the Protocol de maltractaments infantils de l'Ajuntament de Terrassa (2018); projects of co-creation through the network as El Paisaje Expandido (2009) or Pirineus. Art i Ecologia (2009) and more recently the design of the interactive spaces for the exhibition Dalí-Magritte (2019-2020) with the Magritte Museum and the Royal Museums of Belgium. In the year 2015 he starts the publishing house Cuscusian+s with which he creates and publishes art games, creative books and story-objects (cuscusians.com).



Web
www.sabadellartiga.com

Far from here, in Melanesia, still remain today the Canaco people who use the same word (kara) to designate both the skin of man and the bark of the tree. From their worldview, the person is based on foundations that are permeable to all the effluvia in the environment. The "body" is not a frontier, an atom, but the indiscernible element of a symbolic set. There are no rough limits between the flesh of man and the flesh of the world.

***

This text is a reworked transcription of the letters that Germina Bastardas Beltrán and Arthur Brun exchanged during the production process of the curatorial project.

In front of a window that overlooks the blind side of a building, a large stain of bloodless yellow stares back at me. Then the screen, the books, the notes. Nostalgia. Of what? If I bow my head, a hint of sky; if I tilt it, I can see, in the distance, the blue Guilana hillock and the heads of some banana trees. I often find myself in strange postures. Even sometimes the nonsense of placing a mirror on the table - trying to alternate this view with the breath of a reality that is not so exclusive, homogeneous and presumptuously ours.

I like heavy rain because it's nobody's noise. Generally, if you stop to listen, you only hear us. Wherever you look, there we are again. Not even that mountain and trees are exempt from a signature: to the former, the housing estates and the electrical wiring unfailingly creep up the flanks, like mountaineers striving to conquer its summit. The latter are a hybridized species and were planted around 1850 to create the largest urban park in Girona.

In Beauvoir’s Les belles images (1966) I read some lines that resonate deeply with me: “To the young people of this generation it seems normal for one to walk through space. Nothing surprises anyone anymore. Very soon the technique will appear to us as nature itself and we will live in a perfectly inhuman world.” (Beauvoir, 2018, p. 43).

The level of entropization of the environment leaves us lost in thought. This city (actually the whole world) is a gallery of mirrors.

In his Manifest contra el paisatge Lluís Sabadell writes “the egosystem is an anthropocentric, selfish, authoritarian and self-absorbed system” that “makes us deaf, mute and blind to the environment” (Sabadell, 2010, p.18).

Germina

* * *

Germina,

When reading your letter, an image has come to my mind, and lucky me, I could find it in postcard format. It is the figuration of the dream. Not just any dream, but one of those that shine through the gray and wet nights: naive colors, produced by our brain amidst thunderstorms. This dream is a landscape, and it has been painted by Henri Douanier-Rousseau. Voilà Le Rêve (1910).

In this painting, Rousseau has projected his egosystem: a naked woman, birds, monkeys, an elephant, a lion, a lioness and a snake, all of them half hidden in a landscape of lush jungle foliage. Painting makes us travel instantly… Without knowing that the model of this Amazon rainforest is located two steps from the Seine, in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Rousseau never traveled in his life; its tropical landscapes represent nothing more than a theme park, and this is a vivid reflection of the idea that the Parisians of the Belle Epoque had of the wild.

Even knowing this, I cannot help it: to me, this painting is one of the most beautiful images I have seen. I am fascinated, nostalgic for a time I have never lived and yet so present in an immovable Paris, despite the years. I have a reproduction of this painting in my room: I have left Paris, I was thinking of leaving behind everything that it encompasses, but here as well, I recreate my theme park... Projection of nature from culture, projected on my wall.

Arthur

* * *

Dear Arthur,

In your last postcard you have pointed out two essential aspects of Le Rêve that reveal the ins and outs of all landscape art. They appear exposed, very little concealed in this work, as you could see well. First, it shows that the landscape is a cultural interpretation of a territory, a certain way of perceiving from certain aesthetic and conceptual codes.

Etymologically, adding “scape” to the land was a gesture of the gaze (and that is why the neon of Paisatge (Neó), that museum beast, lights up exclusively in the presence of a spectator). You also speak of the distance between Rousseau and the Amazon rainforest. Distance is, for some authors, a condition sine qua non of this art. Physical distance: the one that allows the panoramic view; existential distance: as feeling the landscape is based on its non-daily experience. There is an illustration by Daumier (Paysagistes II, 1864) depicting two peasants making fun of a painter en plein air standing with his utensils in front of an apple tree. This is an act that strikes them as mysterious, laughable even; this cult of something that for them is vulgar, precisely because it is familiar.

I remember when I was little and I hated urban tourists, these verdolaters, who visited my town with ecstatic eyes and the mantra of "how beautiful" reverberating in their mouths. In my disdain, I never imagined that one day I would go to the lands of others in search of cork oak barks, pieces of wood, curious branches and stones, blades of grass, dry leaves and bouquets of flowers -synecdoches of a landscape- to pile between my objects, between the pages of books, like precious souvenirs of my adventures as an urbanite. In other times they were paintings hanging on the walls -windows to any other part-. Some say that when humanity belonged to nature, it was not necessary to paint landscapes.

Germina

* * *

Dear Germina,

I think distance is actually the key word for understanding our double-faced world. Nowadays, it seems obvious: travel restrictions, contact restrictions; you stay in your province, period! But wouldn't that be the flip side of what has been haunting us for years?

I understand very well your story about the tourists: c’est moi. When I was 3 years old, my mother bought a tiny field of vineyards in the rural interior of my country: with its walnut tree and its mimosa, its cabin without running water or electricity, it was our green corner. For a 2010-Easyjet urbanite, it is farther away than any European city, and the lack of amenities gives a feeling of time travel.

I think it is this distance that Bárbara Sánchez Barroso tried to reduce (or lengthen, I'm not sure - let’s problematize this very distance) when she started her project Letters from the Forest (2016). In the second letter, which takes the form of a video-essay, the artist reflects on the concept of the forest (related to the concept of “nature”), based on Thoreau's Walden (1854). In this letter, the forest seems to be our original and real refuge compared to the artificial garden. At the same time, the forest reflects the anguish of humanity: is it not in the forest that we meet the crudest death? From the body of the dying bird found on the road, as seen in her fourth letter, to the fearful wolf that may appear at dusk?

Arthur

* * *

Girona closes in on itself as the walled city that it is. Stony, suspicious, tangled. It models everything with its asphalt hands: the river beds, the patterns of the trees, our daily journeys. Even its own dissimulation in green spaces. I have been thinking about the idea of ??the city as a morass of echoes of my own self and wondering about that feeling of nostalgia that projects my gaze and directs my steps towards nature.

In its origins, the word "nature" used to designate the totality of existing things. Over time, however, it has been narrowed and reserved for everything non-human. The dichotomy is established for the majority of peoples, as a certain independence with respect to the environment is gained. This independence is specified in the ability to master aspects of nature’s mechanics, to order the environment and exploit it to sustain a culture that will gradually become urban and allows nature to be referred to as the Other.

I think of Barbara's gesture, leaving Barcelona for a few months to go live in the Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire, England). In her letters she says that she feels she belongs to that place, that they originally ripped her from this forest. "Ripping" is a strong word that is not softened by the questions that follow. Lluís Sabadell, from another place, speaks of synthesis as the healing of that hiatus. I am especially interested in one of his articles entitled Reciclar la humanidad. The word "recycling" takes on the strict meaning of "reintroducing into the cycle." This means neutralizing the human egosystem, that walled city that escapes from the logic of the putrefactive, to reintroduce ourselves into the general ecosystem.

Germina

* * *

Chère Germina,

Your words about the notion of "recycling" resonate strongly in my head. Now, it is about breaking the walls that make up your skin, my skull and our bones: reorganizing our bodies, “reintroducing them into the cycle”, until they form a Whole.

In this ecosystem, we cannot obliterate part of what we bring: imagination, fiction, transformation. A giant collage, infinite correspondence between multi-becomings, like the one we are starting now.

Bárbara, Henri, Lluís, Honoré (let's call them by their names) chose video, painting, performance or lithography to question this issue. The two of us took over the Letters from the forest, and we continued the dialogue in the mode of written letters. It is very “Fin de siècle” as a medium, when instantaneity allows space and time to be erased. When handwritten, a letter allows ideas to be digested and squeezed into ink-juice. One format should be respected: mediate the egosystem by a piece of paper.

With this last letter, written on a plastic postcard that will go through a scanner, I want to propose to open our discussion to others. To our readers, digital children of the post-Covid era: let’s hope they contact us, let’s demand that they talk with each other and with all kinds of beings, from all cycles and all circles, to feed chaosmosis, without interior or exterior borders.

Arthur



References

Image 1: Le Rêve, Henri Douanier Rousseau, (1910). Oil on canvas.

Image 2: Paisatge (Neó), Lluís Sabadell Artigues (2006). Installation.

Image 3: Les Paysagistes II, Honoré Daumier (1864). Lithography.

Image 4: Postcards mosaic.

Video 1: Synthesis (o el descobriment de la mel), Lluís Sabadell Artigues (2009). Performance.

Video 2: Postcard #2 from Letters from the forest, Bárbara Sánchez Barroso (2016).Video installation.

Sabadell, Lluís. Manifest contra el paisatge. Girona: Bòlit. Centre d’Art Contemporani de Girona, 2010.

Lluis Sabadell. Reciclar la humanidad (o la necesidad de reformular las trayecciones básicas del hombre). Available on: http://www.sabadellartiga.com/reciclar-la-humanidad-o-la-necesidad-de-reformular-las-trayecciones-basicas-del-hombre/ (Accessed: October 12, 2020).

Kara

Germina Bastardas Beltrán | Arthur Brun

Lluís Sabadell Artigues Bárbara Sánchez Barroso

Lluís Sabadell Artigues

This curatorship departs from the project Synthesis (o el descobriment de la mel) (2009) by the artist Lluís Sabadell.

Lluís Sabadell Artiga (Girona, 1974) is an artist, curator and designer specialized in art and ecology and in co-creation. He graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona in 1997 and holds a master's degree in Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Thought from the University Pompeu Fabra in 2008. He has made several art interventions in nature such as: Waldlichtung (Grindelwald, Switzerland, 2011), Seta de Agua (Almeria, Spain, 2010), Caos y linea (Saillagousse, France 2009), Process Work nº2 (Abruzzo, Italy, 2008), Process Work nº1 with A. Artigas (Pordenone, Italy, 2005), Golden Stone nº2 (Lappenranta, Finland, 2004), Golden Stone nº1 (Asturias, 1998) or the Illuminatio action (Savitaipale, Finland, 2007).

In 2005 he created the project Híbrids 2.0 (2005-2010) to reflect on the relations between human beings and their environment from an ecological point of view, which led to exhibitions such as Equilibri Natural: Art i Ecologia (2009), El Paisaje Transgredit (2007), LAV01: Laboratori d'Arquitectures Vives (2007) and Paisatges Invisibles/Paratges Impossibles (2007) and conferences such as Naturalesa, Art, Ciència i Tecnologia (2005) and Trajeccions. Paisatges en mutació constant (2006). Between 2008 and 2010 he directs the project Post-Oil Cities (www.postorilcities.org) which investigates new creative ways to make our cities independent from oil.

Since 2012, with the project CoCreable, he develops co-creation processes specialized in the cultural and social field doing projects of citizen participation as noubarrisnou (2010-2012), noupaticastellum (2012); projects of social innovation as the Protocol de maltractaments infantils de l'Ajuntament de Terrassa (2018); projects of co-creation through the network as El Paisaje Expandido (2009) or Pirineus. Art i Ecologia (2009) and more recently the design of the interactive spaces for the exhibition Dalí-Magritte (2019-2020) with the Magritte Museum and the Royal Museums of Belgium. In the year 2015 he starts the publishing house Cuscusian+s with which he creates and publishes art games, creative books and story-objects (cuscusians.com).



Web
http://www.sabadellartiga.com

Bárbara Sánchez Barroso

This curatorship departs from the project Letters from the forest (2016) by the artist Bárbara Sánchez Barroso.

Her studies in audiovisual, arts and literature can be seen in how important is research, books and cinema in her work. Her main interests remain in the political dimensions of the personal and the vulnerable, the power of narrative and the stories hidden in the encounters in her daily life. Lately she has been working on the difficulties of portraying the other through (auto)etnography, and exploring the relations between memories and fiction. Another of her main interests is the relation between humans and nature, and following her research she moved for a year to a forest far removed from anything she had known. She likes to describe herself a storyteller, who tries to transcend the boundaries of life into fiction.

Her work has been exhibited as a solo show at Fundació Joan Miró and La Capella, Barcelona, Spain; and in group exhibitions at MoCA Taipei, Taiwan; Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Lissone, Italy; MHKA, Antwerp, Belgium; Naturgy Foundation, A Coruña, Spain; Centre d'Art La Panera, Lleida, Spain; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Quito, Ecuador; Sala Amadís, Madrid, Spain; B'Chira Art Center, Tunis, Tunisia; and Fran Reus Gallery, Mallorca, Spain, among others.

She has been a lecturer at Universitat Barcelona and a laureate from the High Institute for Fine Arts (HISK) in Ghent, Belgium. Her works are part of the Han Nefkens Foundation and the Naturgy Foundation.

Web
https://barbarawong.info

The statues' unpunished gaze turns around the works La memoria interior of María Ruido and Remover con una vara de madera by Matteo Guidi to question through them the mechanisms of construction of the official history against the creation of the individual and collective memory that is activated against oblivion and its corporal and psychic effects. The title, a phrase taken from María Ruido's work, refers to the importance that the statues and monuments - present in both works - take in the legitimization of the histories and the impunity with respect to other histories. This curatorship in the form of a dialogue between the two curators is woven from conversations (by Whatsapp, e-mail, video calls or in a shared document) about the works in question, and tends to be built from the personal and familiar to the theoretical and speculative, without any vocation to find truths but rather to generate questions about how we can unveil the stories in small letters and disturb the great dominant representations of Europe.

.....

I have put a link of Matteo Guidi's work in the excel and it connects very well with Maria Ruido's work of the inner memory.



Yes, we could do something together with the two works!



It could be a micro-curatorship on memory, time and identity.



Yes, and space, insofar as it is the memory of a territory...

Now I was thinking that perhaps it would be interesting, instead of making a standard text, to do it in a dialogue or letter format, now that we are physically separated, it seems to me a very current format and in fact it is very present in María Ruido's work.



Your proposal to carry out this curatorship through dialogues between us connects very well on a formal level with the work of María Ruido, which is built up from interviews.

"The memory of a territory" I like this expression and the way it reveals the close union between memory and a specific place. Rhea told me "Just as space is not, but is made, memory does not present a universal state-being. It is constructed through everyday processes, carried out in a specific space." A situated memory? The determination of memory as knowledge constructs the same territory or space and therefore affects people and the construction of identity. A reciprocal relationship between space, memory, time and identity.

Yes, I also see that María Ruido's work starts from the relationship between Germany and Spain (your origins) and that of Matteo Guidi from a municipal warehouse in Barcelona (mine), so inevitably our dialogue on the construction of memory starts from the personal, and from our identity, as you say.

Moreover, the fact that we are working within the framework of the archive of La Comunitat makes us all memory builders. We are putting on record and resurrecting some of the works that have been seen in La Capella during its history and which are now muted on its website. We are doing this by creating new relationships and giving voice to a collective memory of a community that until now was made up of isolated and decontextualised stories within the archive.



Like any archive we can understand La Comunitat as a storehouse of knowledge, but not in the meaning of a container, but rather as a phenomenon that is built through social action. A memory that, being in a museum context, acquires a character of veracity and at the same time is hierarchical when preserved. The fact of preserving knowledge in an archive, after all, implies a selection and hierarchisation that we, when investigating, removing and adding, question. We generate memory by travelling to La Capella's past and bringing fragments to the present. We recall archived knowledge. The Comunitat forms an official memory of La Capella, and we are the ones who create fragments of individual memories, selecting, interlacing and reinterpreting works already exhibited.



Totally. We are generating the lived memory of this archive: interlacing works, creating links between the artists, between us, between the artists and us, things that the archive does not allow. The archive, although it has the vocation of preserving something from the past, is deprived of memory.



.....

The works of Maria Ruido and Matteo Guidi propose, from different languages, a reflection on the construction of history and the recovery of memory. In the case of Ruido, it is the artist herself who, as of the trip to Germany, creates in the form of a documentary the personal and family memory: that which her parents did not want to explain to her about her migratory experience. A hidden memory but one that oozes from the body of the artist, who has lived all her life with this silenced history. In Guidi's case the memory is embodied by the image of the statue hidden under a canvas in a municipal warehouse in Barcelona. The artist creates an animation with which he underlines the poetic and political gesture of revealing that which is hidden, although under the canvas there is perhaps a story that hurts. In both cases, the option of revealing would lead to knowing and restoring wounds.

It is true, Diana, that unveiling in this sense contains the potential as an act of knowing and questioning; knowing through unveiling as a critical exercise. The image of the statue is also present in María Ruido's work with the Goethe monument, the Hammering Man and the Gutenberg monument. In each city we find statues, legacies of men and the great acts they performed. When we see them, we remember what we have learned about those represented, we remember the important role of that person in our society. Even if we do not know the visualized one, being presented as a majestic statue, we associate the person and his acts with a positive value worthy of being remembered. But what do we do when the glorified turns out to be a genocide, when the official history is revealed as the glorification of a nightmare, when the form of representation seems to be given but the social conscience changes?



These questions you ask yourself remind me that in the text presenting the project Phantom'77 (2020) Matteo Guidi, together with Jorge Luis Marzo and Rebecca Mutell, asks if we need to ask for explanations to the images. In one way or another this question is present in his work that we analyse here: How do we face the statue and what it represents? And we inevitably ask ourselves whether we have to destroy what hurts, what offends us, or look the images in the eye, ask them for explanations and remove them from public space, take them to museums, contextualise them so that they now help us to give a voice to those they have silenced.



Perhaps the answer lies in getting into the discourse, reflecting and questioning. How can we take responsibility? By contextualising, informing, recognising facts and no longer transmitting the history of the winners. Rewriting history seems complicated, but it is no less feasible. Perhaps one of the first steps is to recognise that there is not just one story, but several stories that need to be told. I find very interesting what Maria do Mar Castro Varela (2015: 52) - licensed in psychology and pedagogy and Ph.D. in Political Science - introduces by applying Freudian psychoanalysis to the stories themselves, to reach the wounds of the past and thus heal them. Is this possible?



Yes, this would be fundamental in order - to use the terms used by Mario Benedetti - to recover the past that the forgetfulness has consciously eliminated and to restore the wounds of the amnesiac. Benedeti (1987) explains: "The amnesiac has suffered a (sometimes traumatic) amputation of the past; the forgetfulness is amputated voluntarily". And he adds: "The forgetful person does not forget for nothing, but for something, which may be guilt or apology, pretext or bad conscience, but which is always evasion, flight, escape from responsibility". But the forgetter will find it difficult, because: "The past always finds a way to open the lid of the chest and show its face". In this sense, a fair treatment of public images would be necessary in order to recover the past that has been voluntarily forgotten by some and to heal the wounds of others. In this way we could also - as María Ruido (2002:27’46’’) says in her work - "reconstruct the history learned at the university, in the monuments", that which has been transmitted to us since we were children at school or in public space.



Every time I pass by the statue of Columbus, I get a feeling of unrest and despair... Unrest because of all the atrocities that that statue symbolizes, the "discovery of the Americas". As I was taught in school, it was something to be proud of in Spain and proud to be Spanish. The nexus between the (re-)production of knowledge and thus of memory and the construction of identity marked by a nationality is evident here. The need for critical thinking to deconstruct the very processes of national construction and to question a supposedly unique, objective and true narrative goes hand in hand with the desperation to realise that the history that has been instilled in us since childhood, and which the state itself continues to defend, is still so powerful that it tries to silence those who tell 'other' stories.



Just the other day, talking about the current controversy about whether or not they belong in public spaces, my parents told me that when they were little, the adults explained to the children that there was a restaurant on the finger of the Columbus statue. I think this nonsense denotes the greatness with which the statue was looked at, as well as the everyday, endearing and legendary character that the images we live with adopt, especially when we are little, as you say, and we are building our identity. I remember that when I was a child this monument was also a pleasant image for me, which awakened in me a certain nostalgia for stories told: the idea of a long journey, the fortunate mistake of the navigator that led to a great "discovery" of an "unknown" place. Later I understood that it was unknown only to "us", with all that this meant.



Rethinking our last messages, the official history vs. the personal memory and the relationship with the monuments, I was confronted with a linguistic problem when translating my German thought into Spanish, in order to convey it. German provides two terms to name and differentiate types of monuments. A Denkmal is a larger plastic representation erected in memory of a person or an event, while a Mahnmal is a monument, which tries to remember something that is expected not to happen again. Looking up both terms in several dictionaries always appears the same translation into Spanish: Monumento. But this word seems to me to be insufficient, it falls short, before the possibility of naming in a concrete way in German a monument to remember (Denkmal) or to warn us (Mahnmal). Semantics, which the very etymology of the words stipulates. How can we explain or understand something that has no name in a language, how can we do so when this does not even exist?



Zahira, discovering the German term Mahnmal has made me think of many things. I looked it up in Google images and quickly understood it when I saw the Berlin memorial to the murdered Jews in Europe. Here we could perhaps call it a memorial, but this concept does not necessarily imply that the event being commemorated should not be repeated. That the word Mahnmal itself, as you have told me, is made up of the word warning is so revealing to me that it pains me that it does not exist in Catalan or Spanish. Is it more difficult to fight for historical memory or for the need to rethink images in public space, when we do not have a word for images that clearly remember and warn at the same time? If you cannot pronounce it, it is difficult for it to exist, and so we continue, without warnings: without trials for the atrocious decades of dictatorship and with images and names of its protagonists still in the public space.



Hello Diana, just like you I have spent the last few days reflecting on Mahnmal and Denkmal, their difference and non-existence in Spanish. Perhaps, if we could create Mahnmale, we could change the perspective on the facts. As María Ruido (2002:2002:4’) tells us, "the unpunished and intransitive look of the statues" would be modified, by changing the way we face them. Marc Augé (1998: 102) writes:

"The duty of memory is the duty of descendants and has two aspects: remembrance and vigilance".

"To rediscover in the everyday the form of the unmentionable. But the official memory needs monuments: it aesthetizes death and horror." (Augé, 1998: 102)

What our official memory needs are Mahnmale, to bring us into the everyday world of vigilance, to warn us every day of what shall not happen again.

.....

In Guidi's work, the statue - and in his case the history, the past - is shown to us as a ghost, the hidden and mysterious image of which the artist says: "On the one hand it frightens us, on the other it can fascinate us and, therefore, it generates a morbid interest in following it and revealing it". (Guidi, 2017:6’48’’)



In this sense, and about this relationship of the image of the ghost and history, Castro Varela (2015: 50) says: "Ghosts scare us, because they represent a part of our past that we no longer want to remember". But sometimes it is necessary to confront them, when despite being ghosts, they still exercise power over us, our present and future.



In the case of María Ruido's work, I would say that the ghost is found in the familiar silence. The ghost is the story never told from father to daughter. The artist's voice-over asks: "How can we recover all that absence of time in the photographs? How can we end the silence and the TV set on all hours so as not to ask? (Ruido, 2002: 26’53’’)



Matteo Guidi, through the idea of the ghost, speaks of history and questions the "universal" knowledge embodied in public art works, or as he indicates in the very title of his work, he suggests Stirring - history? - with a wooden stick.

Yes, it is true, the verb "remove" in the title, which in the work is presented to us as an everyday gesture, is in fact a political action. The character in Guidi's video removes the canvas covering the statue with a stick. But stirring, beyond removing, also means shaking, or "moving, altering or stirring something or something that was forgotten, stopped" (RAE).



Thus, the form that emerged from the movement of the canvas can be understood as the ghost described by Derrida (1992). Something that is and is not at the same time - that is being made and unmade endlessly -, creating a critical space in which the past interacts, which does not pass and which demands a persistent memory; and the future, which questions the present. (Derrida, 1992: 28, according to Castro Varela, 2015: 50) The loop that forms the work refers us to this temporality and to the reciprocal relationship between the past and the future. Referring to the temporal aspect of history, Matteo Guidi's work has neither beginning nor end.

Writing about the ghost and what this figure symbolises, I think back to the statue of Columbus, to our reflections on what to do with it and with many other monuments in public space. I have no solution and perhaps it is not in us to give one either. With the ghost of Columbus, as a decolonial proposal, we want to stop reproducing the image that evokes "greatness". With this visualization and our reflections, we open a discourse for other ways of seeing, speaking and thinking, openly thematizing what the "official narrative" does not want to face.



We do not know what image is hidden under the canvas that Matteo Guidi saw uncovered by chance in a warehouse. The artist has not revealed which character he represents and, perhaps, depending on which character it was, if we saw it in the public space we would want to cover it up again. Starting from the mystery and the gesture of Guidi's work, in some conversations between laughs not transcribed here, the idea has emerged of turning the statue of Columbus into a ghost, covering it with a large canvas. Perhaps this is a small solution to the images that were made to raise something that today has to be rewritten. Covering the face to make the image of the character and his historical truth invisible, but maintaining his presence to remind us that it happened. We have asked Juan Antonio if he would like to create a simulation of a phantasmagoric Columbus.



.....

Dear Zahira,

I noticed a spontaneous phrase by Ramona Costa, one of the interviewees in María Ruido's work. In response to the artist's questions, she says: "It is one thing to tell it and another thing to live it, do you understand me? (Ruido, 2002: 23’41’’’). I think that this statement puts the focus on something that seems important to me: the dichotomy between living and telling, between experience and memory of that experience. Is it possible to narrate what happened, who should explain it and in what way? In saying this, in the tone of the witness to her parents' story one senses a certain frustration at not being able to express how the events really were. Linked to the construction of history in capital letters, we should ask ourselves: Who, then, and how is history explained? It would be necessary to listen to personal and collective memories, and their difficulty in expressing themselves, to write, as Benjamin would say, the history of the defeated, of the oppressed, of the victims. Here, the bodies, possessors of memory and recollection, would be fundamental for the transmission of the "other" history, despite the wounds that this entails. In a lecture, Manuel Reyes Mates spoke of the recovery of the dead buried in the mass graves of Franco's regime. He explained how from the moment the bodies were found, people began to talk. In this way, according to Reyes Mates (2016) "the past becomes present" adding: "And the memory is terrible. An idea emerges about a community that has nothing to do with what has been told. White appears black and black appears white". In this case, some have not been able to explain what happened until an event has stirred up history. As we know, there are many who have finally had the need to build the collective memory of the victors and, as Vicenç Altaió says in the text I share with you below, they have given a name to the anonymous, something that Maria Ruido also does in her work.

"In the history of the facts, individualization takes the name of exemplary life, while anonymity is where the collective subject merges. Under the name of martyrdom, in Christian iconography, the sacrifice of life in favour of certain ideas leads to sanction (....) It is therefore important to turn the exemplary life of martyrdom around so as not to impose under its name a supposed ideology of death and resurrection. It is necessary, instead, to give a name to the anonymous, to restore the people who had to give their lives for ideas of freedom and to dignify them". (Altaió, 2020: 19)

Maria Ruido gives names to people who have been silenced and thus builds the memory of many who, like her mother, have been unable to express what happened. But even if one someone does not speak, the body does through the anguish that remains, as she remembers about her mother "I have lost your words when I acquired other words: I remember your sudden illnesses before each trip, the little traps and humiliations of the frontiers". (Ruido, 2002: 27’6’’)



Dear Diana,

I have just read your letter and I think it is very important what you say. It is the witnesses, those who can transmit their inner memory and keep the coexisting stories alive to an official history. The language, about which we have philosophised so much with Nora Ancarola, is essential in this construct and not only because of its reality as a means of communication, but also in its reality as a language/language. Thus María Ruido (2002) raises the question of her parents who insisted on writing in Spanish, an aspect that she did not understand at the time of receiving the letters. All this leads me to think of something I read in the publication "Sprache und Sein" by Kübra Gümü?ay.

Gümü?ay relates an experience of the biologist Robin Wall Kimmerer. A memory of Wall Kimmer, which she took and now passed on to you. The biologist belongs to the Citizen Potawatomi, an indigenous people of North America, and decided to attend a course to learn the mother tongue of their ancestors, in which all living speakers should participate.

"Nine. Nine people, who spoke it fluently. All over the world. Our language, which has developed over thousands of years, sits on nine chairs. The words with which creation was praised, with which stories were told, with which my ancestors were lulled to sleep, are now in the languages of nine very mortal men and women" (Wall Kimmerer, 2013: 50, according to Gümü?ay, 2020: 45).

"We are the end of the flagpole. We are all that remains. If you young people do not learn it, the language will die. Then the missionaries and the US government will finally have won" (Wall Kimmerer, 2013: 50, according to Gümü?ay, 2020: 45).

"It is not only words that are lost. Language is the most intimate part of our culture, it contains our thoughts, our way of seeing the world" (Wall Kimmerer, 2013: 50, according to Gümü?ay, 2020: 45).

Wall Kimmerer's words reveal that language is not only a means of communication, but that it contains much more. I could not express it better. It makes my hair stand on end when I think of all the moments when we have been forbidden or warned not to speak "our" language. Why does Ruido show us the interviews he has conducted, why are the witnesses so important? They tell us more than the dates and numbers we find in reports or history books, they tell us their inner memory, in their own words they formulate the lived history and that there is no single true story...



Zahira, the subject of language that you introduce seems to me to be fundamental for understanding the work of María Ruido and the importance of language in narrating memory and the world. I have been very impressed by the statements made by the biologist Robin Wall Kimmer, which show the importance and responsibility that speakers of minority languages have. I cannot help but imagine what "way of seeing the world" would end if my language, Catalan, was lost in the future. As I had told you in another conversation, when I saw Ruido's work I was struck by the moment when he underlined how surprised he was that his parents wrote to him in Spanish - and not in Galician, I guess - and the emotional void that this must have meant. It reminds me of my grandfather's letters written in Spanish to his family during the war, as well as all the correspondence from families that spoke Basque, Galician or Catalan written during the dictatorship in Spanish, a language that, although it may seem strange to us today, depending on the contexts was totally alien.



.....

"My life story is always embedded in the history of the communities from which I derive my identity. (...) Therefore, I am essentially what I inherit, a specific past that is to some extent present in my history. (MacIntyre, 1995: 295)

Like MacIntyre, Ruido identifies herself within her family history, the communities of which she is a part, and within what she remembers and forgets: "I am already a foreigner, as a condition, as a debt". (Ruido, 2002: 26’40’’). And at the same time she expands the official history, not only inheriting certain determinations of it, but part of her heritage is to make her journey, "the duty of memory. And the need to tell our history, which is also history." (Ruido, 2002: 28’28’’). Memory is not only produced, but it is also embodied through the body itself.



If the body becomes essential and transversal in the work of Ruido through the journey, the very displacement to write in the body a memory that has been fragmented until now, it is also present in the work of Matteo Guidi in a peripheral and graphic way that is no less interesting. The artist is also a witness. The work comes from an experience of displacement to a space where he finds memory: a municipal warehouse in Barcelona, where, by chance, he witnesses the unveiling of a statue. The body of the employee, who is in charge of showing the image, becomes the protagonist in his work: it is his body that reveals. The body as the motor for recovering lost memories, the body full of wounds from what has been experienced.



In fact, in both works it is the experience of the body, whether one's own or that of the employee, that brings memories back, brings them to the here and now. As Aleida Assmann (2006: 217) says "It is the special task of places of memory in space and time to bring a certain past into the present". Applying this to Guidi's process of creation, it not only captures her experience, but also questions the management of knowledge and official histories, which come from the archive. On the other hand, Ruido travels not only to a particular place, but also to a particular time: to the past of her parents, of herself and of so many others, to experience it, to negotiate it, to understand it... To return again to a place and see what it was like then. Thinking of Assmann (2006: 59-60): To absorb history in a corporal way and to raise the wall within oneself between the memory of what one has learned and the memory of what one has experienced.

.....

Writing also from the personal, as we have done, and from these conversations from which we were receiving answers little by little, has allowed these two works to enter our lives and mix with our body, our day to day life: while we go on the underground and receive a whatsapp from the other, when we talk to someone and rescue some conversation of ours to share, or when something appears to us suddenly talking about the works we are working with. In this way, the two pieces have moved away from each other a little bit, and are confused with us, participating in the construction of our own inner memory. I think that you, Zahira, and I, have created a small community during this long and difficult year. With our purpose, our shared individual memories and the construction of a common memory. Do you remember that in the beginning, like Ruido, we were foreigners in each other's house?



Having been foreigners in each other's house, I believe that - contrary to the experience of Ruido and her family, who through distance and through letters became strangers to each other - we, facing the same situation of bodily distance, use the same mechanism, a mechanism of alienation in Ruido, as a community builder. This curatorship, which has become part of this "official" text and all that has remained in our draft, is a testimony to our inner memory. We are no longer strangers forming our own community.



Yes, I believe that the concept of community that this project encompasses is very present in the process of building our work. The conversation and the building of bridges between the two by sharing our past and present, and above all a future common project: the document that we must present and the ideas that we put aside to elaborate something together later. The community is also very present in the work of Ruido. The artist, while narrating the memory of her parents, also tells the story of the birth and life of a community of Spanish workers who migrated to Germany. A community born in the feeling of exclusion, in the character of foreigners, in temporariness and precariousness.



The aspect of the community, leads by the nature of this curatorship to the reflection on the collective memory and its relationship with the individual memory. By visualising a certain past in the present, it enables collective and cultural memory to become the object of individual experience and remembrance over generations (Assmann, 2006: 217). In other words, there is a close connection between collective and individual memory which is extremely present in the work of Maria Ruido but also in the work of Matteo Guidi, who accesses the municipal warehouse to extract knowledge. An individual memory of a collective memory, which is visualised in the Remover with a wooden stick.

.....

The translations of the literal citations into English were made by the authors based on the original texts in Spanish, German and Catalan.

Altaió, Vicenç. Sota la llum del mar. (cat. exp.). Barcelona: Fundació Vila Casas, 2020.

Assmann, Aleida: Der lange Schatten der Vergangenheit : Erinnerungskultur und Geschichtspolitik. München: C.H. Beck, 2006.

Augé, Marc. Las formas del olvido. Barcelona: Gedisa, 1998.

Benedetti, Mario. Vacaciones sobre el olvido. El País, 6 de septiembre de 1987.

Castro Varela, Maria do Mar. Europa – Ein Gespenst geht um, en Gregor Maria: Europa Entgrenzungen. Innsbruck/Wien: Tyrolia, 2015.

Derrida, Jacques. The Other Heading: Reflections on Today’s Euro­pe. Indiana: Indiana University Press,1992.

Gümü?ay, Kübra. Sprache und Sein. Berlin: Carl Hanser Verlag, 2020.

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. Braiding Sweetgrass. Minneapolis, Minnesota : Milkweed Editions, 2013.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. Der Verlust der Tugend. Zur moralischen Krise der Gegenwart. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1995.



La mirada impune de las estatuas

Zahira Dehn Tutosaus | Diana Juanpere Dunyó

Matteo Guidi María Ruido

Matteo Guidi

From installation, video, drawing or photography, the work of Matteo Guidi (Cesena, Italy, 1978) approaches social anthropology by analyzing and proposing reflections about the forms and structures in which we organize ourselves and how we relate to each other and to material culture. His works usually start from a gesture, an action or an object within a context we are not used to enter or would never enter: a prison, a refugee camp or a municipal sculpture depot. This action or object that has attracted the artist's attention is later decontextualized to generate a reflection on a social or historical situation. The mobility and liberties of individuals, everyday life in borderline contexts, or a historical episode serve to generate questions from the critical, poetic and political perspective of the artist.

Web
https://www.matteoguidi.com

María Ruido

This curatorship departs from the project The inner memory (2002) by the artist Maria Ruido.

As a visual artist, researcher and cultural producer, María Ruido (Xinzo de Limia, Ourense, 1967) develops interdisciplinary projects on the imaginaries of work in post fordist capitalism and on the construction of memory and its relations with the narrative forms of history. The social construction of the body and identity and their relations with discourses of power are central to her works, which investigate the new forms of decolonial imaginaries and their emancipatory possibilities.

Using video, video action, video installation or photography, her works explore and reflect critically on the subject matter of the archive, interviews and testimonial sources, as well as the artist's family or personal experiences, all contextualized within a specific historical and chronological framework.

Web
http://www.workandwords.net/es

In the maze of late-modern life, shaped by the production and flow of capital, a latent, visceral power beats. When it seems impossible to exercise one's life under an autonomous subjectivity and everything drives one into exile from oneself - from one's identity, from one's home, from one's will - new forms of self-management emerge and they seem to liberate bodies and minds, which rise up into action.

However, the space is overwhelming: the landscape and its geography are not constituted by themselves, but are produced through the acts that are performed in them. Human actions and the space which hosts them are mutually determined. There is a margin of action for resistance, but it often collides with a wall that even plans the space for escape. The countercurrent path has always been present and has taken many forms that have been attempted to make it invisible: erasing the discourse, normalising the act of spoliation, managing subversion.

All these issues are highlighted in the projects Performing the Border (1999) by Ursula Biemann, Satisfaction Guaranteed (2000) by Joanna Rajkowska and Utopias (2019) by Claudio Zulian. Although the works themselves present very different approaches, they focus on a narrative that questions the figure and role of the body; of the body as a machine.

Ursula Biemann's work situated us in a border, a transnational territory that has turned Mexican rural life into a high-tech slum. Biemann focuses on the role of women in a labor market of the global South which is feminine, migratory and oriented towards the absolute maximization of production: the ethnic, erotic figure, determined by her gender, becomes the “articulator of the border” (Biemann, 2012: 18). Only interchangeable bodies, which permit to be turned into a commodity, receive a visa for this place of production.

In Performing the Border (1999) the artist connects this digital culture to a specific place and personifies it in the figure of the female and Mexican cyborg. It is the female bodies that, in the factories, not only merge with the machines, but become machines themselves by performing repetitive, monotonous, controlled work (Dehn T., 2017: 52). The labor, industrial, and sexual markets are closely intertwined in this economic complex. Consequently, the border is not only determined by gender, but is also an extremely sexualized space. Companies play an active role in making work precarious: involuntary birth control and pregnancy tests are part of working life, and many workers are forced to sell their bodies to obtain a wage supplement (Biemann, 2012: 18).

The nature of this border has a massive impact on traditional definitions of identity, becoming self-injurious conditions that only in this context could be defined as such. In turn, the border space of Ciudad Juarez is made and directed towards production and, at the same time, reproduced through acts within and in it. In the work Performing the Border, the process of exploitation of the female body can be perceived at different levels: from its reproductive function as a mother and, specifically, as a producer of workers , where "the women’s body is the last frontier of capitalism" (Murillo Rubio, 2014), to its properly productive function as a worker, until it becomes a product itself. In other words, women are "a source of wealth" (Murillo Rubio, 2014).

While Biemann's work presents us with these processes in a video essay format, Joanna Rajkowska's artistic vision is materialized in the form of a consumable, fictitious, yet very real product. The artist plays with the concept of the female body understood as a machine of maximum efficiency and, at the same time, as an object of desire and consumption. In the work Satisfaction guaranteed (2000), she creates a brand and, using mass production methods, she makes a series of products: six types of canned drinks, soap, vaseline, perfumes, frozen foods - all based on substances derived from her own body– and presents them as suitable for use and consumption. The prices have been adapted to the standards of the consumer world; their packaging, unified and carefully designed, complies with the standards and marketing strategies. Rajkowska works with the concept of the body as an object of desire and with the contrast between discomfort and pleasure. The products are being put for sale –designed to be desirable and consumable– but their graphics and content are not necessarily so: the list of ingredients includes substances such as DNA, brain gray matter, breast gland extract, vaginal mucus, cornea, endorphins, saliva, pheromones and fat. While mass production is often impersonal, Rajkowska’s products have a strong, intimate character (Gorzadek Ewa, 2004). The artist's body appears on the packaging: her own childhood photographs or photographs of her intimate parts. In this way, the artist puts her own person -her body, her thoughts, her emotions- up for sale and invites the public to consume them in mass.

As in Biemann’s, in Rajkowska's work, the female body is presented as an instrument of mass production, a market product, exposed and available for consumption by others, in an incessant flow. But while Biemann's work confronts us with the cruel reality of female existence within the capitalist system, Rajkowska's work has a touch of irony; it exposes the absurdities of the system, playing with its own rules and its own tools: it packages them with a compelling literalness, and returns them into the free trade circuit, reclaiming by this act the space, the identity and the creative power.

This rebellious approach contains an aspect of pleasure, and even reveals a liberating power: "Satisfaction was a turning point, it was a great relief to see others using me [...]. Contact with people, even if it was a kind of cynical use, on a symbolic level, was deeply liberating for me" (Sarzynski, 2007).

What is interesting today –20 years after “Satisfaction guaranteed” was made– is that the phenomena the artist describes do not lose their relevance. On the contrary –in the era of excessive sharing and extreme self-exposure– her work gains new meanings.

This relational and contemporary element is also essential in Claudio Zulian's Utopias (2019), and it is verified at different levels. At first, the acrobats appropriate the space, by living it and by subverting its original functionality. On the other hand, the physical contact between them is constant and shows a certain symbiosis. They need each other, and their mechanical movements, adapted to the technologized space, show that the attempt to reconfigure the space, the function, the life itself, does not succeed unscathed; the escape is fallacious, the space of emancipation is also controlled. Perhaps alienated from their own will, inserted in a great industrial warehouse, they show the fiction and reality of a limit that they can only change through their use.

Utopias offers a highly symbolic counterpoint to Performing the border. While Biemann refers to fluid identities, exiled, without a fixed place, on the geographical border, Zulian emphasizes an allegory of alienation based on the work. He exposes the liminality between the properly human and the mechanic, and the porosity of the bodies to the external influences of the structure, where one and the other influenced each other, vis a vis, in a mutually diminished potential; the industrial space also becomes an actor on stage, with its rigidity, asepsis, cold light, and slips into the acrobatic game that becomes monotonous and controlled.

The psychic precariousness of wage-earning, outsourced work is evident in Zulian's work. In an act of poiseis, he replaces workers with acrobats who, despite fleeing from the determination of space, fall back on their organism. At the same time, he metaphorically visualizes the work in a direct correlation to Rajkowska that symbolically shows us the reality of consumption.

Utopias outlines a subtle, rhythmic neo-Luddite "sedition", where resistance does not involve the destruction of the machine that houses it, but rather its reuse in its own code: the fluidity of bodies that slip, acrobatically, into unexpected, counter-intuitive places.

Just as Rajkowska turns her intimacy into public space –not by mere exhibitionism but by denouncing the overlap between the production of goods and those who generate them–, Zulian recreates a gymnastic dialectic, unfinished, between the space of work and its experience. In Biemann, the space and the women who inhabit it are settled between the power of agency and systemic suffocation. The resistance within a constructed space and the power of the body to be reconstructed, redetermined and subverted, underlies the narrative of the three works: all together they execute a spagat that blurs, in its transfer, the functional design.

Bibliography:

Biemann, Ursula. Mission Reports. Künstlerische Praxis im Feld. Videoarbeiten 1999 – 2011. Nurnberg: Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2012.

Dehn Tutosaus, Zahira. La nueva concepción del espacio fronterizo dentro del giro geográfico en la práctica y teoría del arte actual: Ursula Biemann, Rogelio López Cuenca y Antoni Muntadas. Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona, 2017.

Federici, Silvia [1998]. Calibán y la bruja. Mujeres, cuerpo y acumulación originaria. (Translated by Verónica Hendel y Leopoldo Sebastián Touza). Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños, 2010.

Gorzadek, Ewa [2004]. “Joanna Rajkowska”. [online]. Available at: Culture.pl https://culture.pl/pl/tworca/joanna-rajkowska [Accessed: December the 10th 2020]

Lefebvre, Henri [1974]. La producción del espacio (Translated by Emilio Martínez). Madrid: Capitán Swing, 2013.

Murillo R. Laura [2014]. “El cuerpo de la mujer es la última frontera del capitalismo”. [online]. Available at: elDiario.es https://www.eldiario.es/euskadi/euskadi/cuerpo-mujer-ultima-frontera-capitalismo_1_4879508.html [Accessed: December the 10th 2020]. Author's translation.

Sarzynski, Piotr [2007]. “Rajkowska Joanna”. [online]. Available at: polityka.pl https://www.polityka.pl/tygodnikpolityka/kultura/225793,1,rajkowska-joanna.read [Accessed: December the 10th 2020]. Author's translation.

Body Machinery

Bella Araneda | Zahira Dehn | Anna Stec

Ursula Biemann Joanna Rajkowska Claudio Zulián

Ursula Biemann

URSULA BIEMANN (Zurich, Suiza, 1955)

This curatorship departs from the project Performing the Border (1999) by the artist Ursula Biemann.

Ursula Biemann, artist, curator and theorist, is known for her analysis of current issues of mobility, migration, gender and globalization; as well as ecology and climate change. Through videoessays, controversial territories around the globe are analyzed and complex human geographies are formulated, with all their side effects and undocumented aspects. An important element of the videoessays are theoretical reflections, which are presented as a body of knowledge. This knowledge comes from interviews with experts, extensive research and personal interpretations of the circumstances in situ. Biemann is currently working on an important initiative of the Art Museum, the National University of Colombia, oriented towards the co-creation of a new indigenous university in southern Colombia and an online platform, the Devenir University, in which she investigates forest epistemologies and indigenous knowledge systems, to be inaugurated in September 2022.



Web
https://www.geobodies.org

Joanna Rajkowska

JOANNA RAJKOWSKA (Bydgoszcz, Polonia, 1968)

This curatorship departs from the project Satisfaction Guaranteed (2000) by the artist Joanna Rajkowska. [photos: Marek Szczepanski]

Rajkowska studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kraków, Poland, graduating with a Master’s Degree in mural painting in 1993, having already obtained an MA in History of Art from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków a year earlier. She extended her education at the State University of New York, participating in the Studio Semester Programme in 1994 and 1995.

A versatile artist, Rajkowska is best known for her work in public space, where she uses real-life situations, energies, organisms and materials to construct sites, installations and ephemeral actions. She is interested in the limitations and the limiting of human activities, multiplicity of agencies and human and non-human relations.

Most of her works happen, live and age in public space. Thus, her practice embraces all the entities involved as well as their relations, including organic and inorganic beings.

As a woman and a mother, she uses her own body, a biological machine and a tool that enables her to sense and understand the conditions set for her work. Disease, weakness and malfunction of the living body is very often in the backdrop of her work, providing a fertile ground of potentiality rather than failure.

Web
http://joanna.rajkowska.com

Claudio Zulián

This curatorship departs from the project Utopias (2019) by the artist Claudio Zulian.

Film director, video artist, musician and writer. He holds a PhD in Aesthetics, Science and Technology of the Arts, by the University of Paris-Saint Denis (France). Author of a prolific and multiform work. A big part of his work is centered in the power of the margin in utopian, neighborhood and city cartographic spaces, as well as of the social body in subalternized collectives, migrants and refugees. The search of specificity in each medium he works with is a characteristic of his artwork. In 1993 he created Acteon, the Barcelona-based production company that carries out his projects. With his documentary A través del Carmel (Through Carmel) - also planned as an installation - he won the Premi Ciutat de Barcelona (2009) and the Premi Nacional de Cinema de Catalunya (2010).

He regularly gives lectures, runs workshops and attends conferences at different universities, cultural and artistic centers. He also writes regularly for magazines and newspapers. He lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Official website: https://www.claudiozulian.com

The exhibition. Thinking about the exhibition. Analyze the exhibition, observe the exhibition, look for what it is, understand what it means. Understand its rhythm, its tone, its forms and its attitude. Discover that exhibitions also have their moments, their situations, their ups and downs, their euphoria and their crisis. Approaching the exhibition to try to see what the limits are that we have imposed on it and how we can tighten it up to where we want it to go. To see how it can overcome these limits.

(Manen, 2017, 9).



In the artistic context, the exhibition could be defined as a series of elements that, configured in a certain way, give rise to one of the most outstanding presentation devices in the field of art (Manen, 2017, 9). These elements are made up of the artistic works themselves, texts, objects, documentation, lighting devices, and even the conditioning of the exhibition space.

This whole constellation would not be an art exhibition if, in some way, there were not an implicit legitimization on the part of the art institution itself, the museums, the artistic spaces, the galleries, the spectators, the critics, and even the artists themselves. A sort of theatrical space made up of certain premises, codes, nomenclatures, keys and structures that have been historically configured.

Taking this premise as a starting point, Dismantling the exhibition addresses a work of self-reflexivity of art towards itself, in a kind of mise en abyme that questions the structure and support that constitutes the context of art: the place of exhibition, its representation, and its production and dissemination.

Through the work of Luz Broto, Mireia C Saladrigues, Javier Arce and the collective formed by Albert Gironès and Anna Vilamú, a series of premises are addressed. In the first place, the questioning of the arrangement of the exhibition space. Second, the reproductive mechanics in the forms of behavior and dialectics between the spectators and the art work. Third, the forms of appropriation, production and reproduction of the artistic work. And finally, a self-reflective dialogue on the concept of community, understood within La Comunitat of La Capella, the online platform from which the project <eye-framing=OM7> emerges.

When an exhibition is dismantled, the museum or the art institution, previously dressed by the work and the artistic discourse, is left naked showing its walls, its support, its structure. To dismantle the exhibition is to undress the museum, to show the exhibition space, its idiosyncrasy, to make its structure visible precisely through this nudity.

This curatorship departs from this analysis to propose a revision of the way in which the art exhibition is constructed and thought about, creating leaks towards future interpretations of art that reflect on itself and on the frames that generate it.

1. Luz Broto: Questioning the arrangement of the exhibition space.

The exhibition space is normally presented to us as a neutral, clean and white space, hence its name of white cube, in which everything is already said, already planned, already established. We enter the exhibition from one place to another, we take a tour, we observe, we don't touch and we leave again. We make silence, we don't touch the works, there are some pedestals, some technical cards and we contemplate them, one after the other. When we enter we are already part of a norm that we accept almost naturally. It is a convention and we accept it without thinking twice. That's how an exhibition is, we think. Nothing strange.

The museum is ultimately an institution that exercises power over the visitor, the work and the artist. It determines how art should be viewed, how it should be experienced, and under what conditions and behaviors. If we think about the intrinsic relationship that exists between the architectural space, the arrangement of objects in it, and the movement of the bodies that walk through it and contemplate it, we realize that this apparently intangible, unalterable element is really the framework that supports everything, that establishes the limits. It is, in short, the frame.

As after a strong fire the framework of a building is revealed to us -that is, the essence that allows the object and space to function through the subtraction or alteration of its components- the Catalan artist Luz Broto, although in a less violent way, it reveals the essence of the exhibition space through small -but no less powerful- interventions and alterations to it. Establishing in this way new dialogues between the outside and the inside, blurring the limits between the exhibition space and what goes beyond the museum, escaping from those power structures, setting up a regulation through social agreements, resisting the exhibition and exposing the museum through small holes where the light of a new way of thinking the space and the art slips through.

In his first intervention in the space of La Capella in Barcelona, Right Cube 04. Dar paso a lo desconocido (2011), Broto, after a long negotiation with the institution, proceeded to open the doors, windows, and other openings that had not been opened for almost thirty years when the space of the Santa Creu had become La Capella. Years later, she intervened in the space of La Capella again, with her work Extraer las cerraduras (2019). In her words: "this time, what it’s opened is the hole in the lock, suppressing what makes the closing possible" (Broto, 2019). In these two actions the space previously closed and defined in its limits, is deprived of what made it a continent, becoming a permeated and permeable space. In it, the distinction between the outside and the inside is confused. When the locks are removed, the whole space is open, even if the doors are closed. When the windows and doors are open, something has been broken. And by directing the gaze precisely to the space that allows the art pieces to be housed, Luz Broto incites the viewer to make an act of reflection, of questioning, to go from being a contemplator to an active subject who has been deprived of the necessary elements to feel safe within the space and its conventions. It becomes necessary at this point, an act of wanting to mentally complete the lack and that is where the power of Broto's works lies. Faced with these minimal absences, the visitor tries to complete them, to restore order, to return to normality, to normativity, thus transforming the exhibition space into a place for reflection on itself. A thinking mirror.

2. Mireia C. Saladrigues: Reproductive mechanics in the behaving manners and dialectics between the spectator and the work.

Going to a museum, then as now, is not simply a matter of watching and learning; it is also -and precisely because museums are places both to be seen and to see- an exercise of civic education (Bennet, 1995). Today, with the increase of surveillance systems and photography within the museum, this dictum becomes more evident. The visitor of the museum becomes both an observer and an observed.

What happens to our body when we enter the exhibition space? If we had already considered that crossing the limits of space and entering it constituted the acceptance of a set of rules and social agreements with both the other and the work, now it is time to question what happens to the body itself under this dynamic of the observer. Clearly, the architectural space, as well as the size, the disposition of the work and the lighting of the place, mark the route and behavior of the bodies in the space. But there is also another movement that is influenced by other factors. The gestures and behavior of the body that knows that is also observed, that is subject to the agreements given in the space, that knows it must behave in a certain way and not in another. Most of us find a change of behavior when entering one space or another. In an exhibition room, the body becomes more careful, walking becomes more precise, the gaze becomes sharper, and there is silence in order to observe attentively. It is a matter of not altering the space or the others too much and above all not touching the works. In this sense we could talk about a representation of ourselves in the exhibition space, a kind of theater and drama of the visitor.

Continuing with the exercise of subtraction to highlight the structure of the exhibition space, the artist Mireia C. Saladrigues asks herself: Are the set of contemplative gestures inscribed in the spectators, the museum itself? Does the museum emerge from the "non-space" by recalling the normative and repetitive interiorized movements? Can the museum emerge anywhere when a group of people recreate the same thoughtful gestures, which, as spectators, we represent in an exhibition? Can these "performances" rewrite such a meaningful place, or simply add one more layer? (Saladrigues, 2015).

In front of these questions, she presents her work A Specific Representation # 2 (2014), the second version of his A Specific Representation (2014) in which "some dancers recall the body memory, while recovering and reenacting the same learned gestures and transits, undergoing a physical exercise for highlighting how learned rituals determine our movements in art spaces." (Saladrigues, 2014). As spectators, what we observe is a video that begins in a fairly open shot of a granite quarry. We are not in any white cube. However, little by little, "actors" appear making gestures that could be recognized as those that a visitor of an exhibition would make. Again, in the absence of artworks, of exhibition space, of limits, we try to fill the gap, where the images of the works begin to emerge in the void. An imaginary museum is revealed before our eyes. Mireia C. Saladrigues' act becomes radical: Are artworks and limited architectural space necessary for a museum to exist? At this point, faced with this representation, the observer suffers an estrangement, a Brechtian distancing where he no longer experiences mimesis, where he does not merge with what is happening, but instead questions what he is seeing and is aware he is witnessing a performance. Here, the exhibition hall, as well as the Brecht theater, becomes a place of reflection.

3. Javier Arce: Forms of appropriation, production and reproduction of the artistic work.

In visual arts, the need for direct experience with the original artwork has shaped the way art has been understood throughout history, a fact that has remained indelible to this day. Art would defend its willingness to define itself by serving the unique object. This is something that is present even in disciplines such as performance, photography and video, where this problem is saved by reproducing series limited by a reduced number that allow the alibi of the aura to be maintained (Ortega, 2013, 30-31).

However, the methods of reproduction and diffusion of the work of art in the post-internet era allow us to question the extent to which the work is constructed from its own dissemination and (re)presentation under different media and contexts. It is pertinent to take up again a quote from the artist Artie Vierkant in his text The Image of the Post-Internet Object: "Post-Internet objects and images are developed with concern to their particular materiality as well as their vast variety of methods of presentation and dissemination. (...) In the Post-Internet climate, it is assumed that the work of art lies equally in the version of the object one would encounter at a gallery or museum, the images and other representations disseminated through the Internet and print publications, bootleg images of the object or its representations, and variations on any of these as edited and recontextualized by any other author" (Vierkant, 2010).

From his Estrujados Series (started in 2007) to Imágenes bastardas and TOP TEN (2011), part of the work of the Cantabrian artist Javier Arce addresses issues that are framed within the context of the reproducibility of the work, the idea of duplication or copy, and even the authorship and the aura inherent in the artistic object.

Specifically, TOP TEN (2011) consists of an unique book-archive, whose content consists of the compilation of about 1000 images taken from Google, Flickr or Facebook that have been taken from a digital camera or a cell phone by visitors to performances or temporary interventions of ten contemporary artists selected by Javier Arce, in particular Olafur Eliasson, Maurizio Cattelan, Santiago Sierra, Tino Sehgal, Martin Creed, Marina Abramovi?, Banksy, Matthew Barney, Vanessa Beecroft and Thomas Hirschhorn.

Taking as a starting point this archive created in a book format, the artist selected ten images, from which he formed the artworks that would be part of his series Imágenes Bastardas (2011), made in large format and hand engraved on plexiglas and glass.

In this simple exercise, Javier Arce mapped a whole series of unofficial bastard images of certain artworks published by different users on the net. Then, in a twist, he reconstructed them in a handmade way and gave them back their unique and non-transferable character: in short, their aura. This practice allows us to question which are the sources that configure and determine the artistic work, at the same time that it points out the own limits of the authorship as part of an exercise of appropriation of material originated by others.

The video shown as part of this curatorship is precisely one of the images of the series Imágenes bastardas that Javier Arce elaborated from the photograph of a visitor of MOMA during the performance A Minute of Silence by Marina Abramovi?. The image, in fact, is not exactly a photograph of the performance itself, but of one of the adjacent devices that showed a warning to the museum's visitors during the action, which read: "Visitors are not allowed to take photographs in the atrium".

Based on this image reworked by Arce, the curatorial team On Mediation proposed the possibility of circulating it through different users. Here, one user would take a photo or screenshot of the image -sometimes modifying or even editing it- and would send it to the next user. The result is that each "copy" of the original image -which in turn represents a "bastard" image of the performance of Abramovi?- ends up being a unique image, while it is captured by each user, accumulating flaws, noise and other elements that arise as a result of the copy of a copy. An idea that, in a certain way, shows one of the proposals made by Yoko Ono in her artist book Grapefruit (1964), and in which the artist proposed the following: "PAINTING TO EXIST ONLY WHEN IT'S COPIED OR PHOTOGRAPHED. Let people copy or photograph your paintings. Destroy the originals."

4. Anna Vilamú and Albert Gironès: Self-reflective dialogue on the concept of "community" understood within La Capella’ Community (La Comunitat).

In the classic exhibition space, as it has already been argued, there are certain norms and structures that give form to the exhibition. There are a series of premises and interactions given by tacit agreement between the spectator and the artwork, legitimated by the physical space of the museum. What happens, instead, when that space is virtual?

In this case, we can also talk about the existence of an architecture of relations and tacit interactions between the spectator and the work, either through the arrangement of the exhibition space from a series of web pages that, in turn, include others in a subordinate way. The interaction of the spectator is possible by a mouse click, by the visualization in front of a computer or mobile screen, and by the navigation derived from the exhibition experience on the web.

The curatorial project <eye-framing=OM7> arises precisely as a way of articulating a series of contents that are part of the online archive La Comunitat of La Capella, based on a reflection structured around the notions of archive, community and future.

From this premise, <eye-framing=OM7> proposed Anna Vilamú and Albert Gironès to elaborate a survival manual for La Comunitat, for the following 25 years. From this approach, a key question would arise: how to keep a community alive?

A community is established by a common goal, by the future projection around its possibilities, but also by the structure that supports it. In their work La Rue del Percebe (2020), Anna Vilamú and Albert Gironès use dialogue precisely to show the architecture that supports La Comunitat de La Capella, in a similar way that A Specific Representation (2014), by Saladrigues, unmasked the theatricalization of the exhibition space.

This starting point served as an axis to articulate a series of communications with the workers of La Capella, with special interest in the technical team, the pillars of maintenance. The result is a documentary exhibition of conversations via e-mail or WhatsApp collected in various pdf files, which appeal to contradictions and tensions around the meaning of a community, by stripping both an exhibition and the exhibition space itself, and the act of encountering the theatricalized structure that erects it.

Bibliography

Bennett, Tony. The Birth of the Museum. History, theory, politics. London / New York: Routledge, 1995.

Broto, Luz. Extraer las cerraduras. 2019. Consulted in: http://www.luzbroto.net/2014/castellano/35-extraer-las-cerraduras.html (Acceded: 7 January 2021).

Manen, Martí. Salir de la exposición (si es que alguna vez habíamos entrado). Bilbao: Consonni, 2017.

Ortega, Antonio. Demagogia y propaganda en arte según Antonio Ortega. Barcelona: Biel Books, 2013.

Saladrigues, Mireia C. A Specific Representation. 2014. Consulted in: http://www.mireiasaladrigues.com/w/specific-representation (Traduced by the authors). (Acceded: 7 January 2021).

Saladrigues, Mireia C. Las (im)posiciones en el espectador. 2015. Consulted in: http://etac-eu.org/catalogue/es/mireia-c-saladrigues/ (Acceded: 7 January 2021).

Vierkant, Artie. The Image Object Post-Internet. 2010. Consulted in: http://jstchillin.org/artie/pdf/The_Image_Object_Post-Internet_a4.pdf (Acceded: 7 January 2021).

Desmontar la exposición

Juan Antonio Cerezuela | Santiago Parra | Victoria Ellm

Javier Arce Luz Broto Anna Vilamú i Albert Gironès Mireia c. Saladrigues

Javier Arce

This curatorship departs from the project Imágenes bastardas (2011) by the artist Javier Arce.

Javier Arce (Santander, 1973). Graduated in Printing Techniques at the School of Applied Arts in Oviedo and Bachelor in Fine Arts with Honors at the University of País Vasco. He completed a Master in Sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Wimbledon, London. In 2008, he was awarded a scholarship by the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York, USA, and by the Art and Law Foundation. In 2007 he received the Generation 2007 Honorable Mention in Madrid, having received the previous year a Plastic Arts award from Marcelino Botín Foundation. Among his last individual exhibitions, the most important are: Primera exposición prestada. El museo bastardo, at the CAB, Burgos; This could be a show of historical importance, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, as well as his interventions in the Espai 13 of the Fundación Miró, in Barcelona, and in the Espai Quatre, of the Casal Solleric, in Mallorca. His works have been part of exhibitions such as: Reproducción, repetición, reivindicación, 4th Biennial of Experimental Engraving, National Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu, Romania, the 29th Graphic Arts Biennial of Ljubljana, Slovenia or the Soverign European Art Prize, Barbican Art Center, London, United Kingdom. He has also exhibited his work at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia; at the MUSAC in León; CA2M in Móstoles, Madrid; ARTIUM in Vitoria, etc.

Web
http://javierarce.net

Luz Broto

This curatorship departs from the project Extraer las cerraduras (2019) by the artist Luz Broto.

Luz Broto (Barcelona, 1982) has a degree in Fine Arts and a Master of Art in the Digital Age, University of Barcelona. She develops a situational practice, based on specific interventions of a performative nature. From the conditioning factors of a place -architectural elements and infrastructures, organizational structures, regulations and protocols, historical or recent events- she proposes minimal operations of displacement that, during the process of being carried out, can bring into play the constrictions and complexities of the framework in which they are inscribed.

Some of her art projects and exhibitions are: Abrir un agujero permanente (Macba, Barcelona, 2015), Volver a casa (CA2M, Madrid, 2015), Atar cabos (Garcia Gallery, Madrid, 2014), Perderse por el camino (Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona, 2014), Aumentar el caudal de un río (Centre d'Art la Panera, Lleida, 2014), Meterme donde no me llaman (LIPAC, Buenos Aires, 2013), Ocupar una tribuna (Fundació Suñol, Barcelona, 2012), Atravésar ese bosque esta noche (Institut für Raumexperimente, Berlin, 2012) or Asimilar la temperatura exterior (Secesssion, Viena, 2011). Broto has received the Barcelona Producció'10, Fundació Suñol/Can Xalant and Fundació Guash Coranty grants, the BlueProject Foundation residency and the Art Nou Primera Visió and Miquel Casablancas awards.

Web
http://www.luzbroto.net

Anna Vilamú i Albert Gironès

This curatorship departs from the project La Rue del Percebe (2020) by the artists Anna Vilamú and Albert Gironès.

Albert Gironès (Valls, 1995) and Anna Vilamú (Vic, 1995) are graduates in Fine Arts and have studied cultural management and bio-dance respectively. In 2015, they began to work together on part of their artistic projects, focusing on the particularities and histories of the different contexts where they develop their practice.

They have worked in collaboration on artistic residency programs (Platform AIR, Finland or Rad'art, Italy), grants (Fora de Camp, La Escocesa), educational centers (Bòlit Mentor 2018, Bòlit Contemporary Art Center of Girona), art centers, universities and neighborhood associations, among other spaces.

Mireia c. Saladrigues

This curatorship departs from the project A Specific Representation # 2 (2014) by the artist Mireia c. Saladrigues.

Mireia c. Saladrigues is an artist and researcher, or rather, an artist-researcher.

Her projects are built from several processes of research, and at the same time this particular research methodologies are based on artistic practice.

Her work investigates the experiences of the reception of art, focusing especially on issues that concerns the contact of art with its public. Starting from a personal state of alert, Saladrigues deploys strategies of intuition and understanding about the context of art itself, generating a work that will end up returning to the social sphere that has marked its genesis.

Saladrigues is a candidate for the International Doctorate (DFA) at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki University of the Arts. Behaving Unconventionally in Gallery Settings documents cases of alteration (human and non-human) of cultural practices, proposing an artistic and theoretical rereading of nonconformity. The components of her research explore a wide field: from aspects of iconoclasm to the virtualization of exhibitions, from the cultural inscription of the public to the memory of matter in the form of particles.

Her work has been exhibited in Europe, the United States and Asia, highlighting his participation in the Research Pavilion in Venice in 2017. Some of the conferences and symposia in which she has participated are: A Case of Iconoclasm on the Tip of David's Toe and The Very First Sensorium, which proposes another conference format more akin to the particularities of artistic language. The Kone Foundation and Osic have supported her work for several years, which is represented by the Àngels Barcelona gallery. She has participated in the Creadors En Residència project during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 editions as well as collaborated with some editorial initiatives. She is a member of the board of Hamaca - an experimental distribution platform, and was the founder of the PAAC and the Trama34 cultural association.

Web
http://www.mireiasaladrigues.com/w/

This text analyzes the importance of physical/bodily displacement to a specific place within the context of memory and history, based on the works On the Border by Marco Noris (2017) and The inner memory by María Ruido (2002).

In this sense, walking becomes a practice, a peripatetic, itinerant, wandering act, in movement. The term peripatetic (in Greek peripatêín = to walk) arises from the school founded by Aristotle who used to teach while walking with his disciples. Moving around and teaching was part of a methodology that helped students to remember the speeches. Aristoteles spoke in this case of topoi (places) where memories could be stored. Cicerone applied a defined technique "method of loci" to remember through mental journeys -what today is known as Journey Method, or "palace of memories" in Greek and Roman times-, linking memories to images or creating trips to certain places. Studies carried out in the field of psychology maintain that, in the functioning of memory, the spatial order influences memorization and recall. The "spatial maps" allow emotions to come into play, and are of great importance to mark the memory. Philosophers and thinkers alike have recognized the effect of walking on the development of their own ideas. In this way, geographic displacement is treated in this curatorship as a useful tool to undertake a journey, both bodily and internally.

In On the Border (2017), Noris walked the three hundred kilometers of the Spanish-French border, through which the main roads passed during the Spanish and post-war civil war, which served for Republicans to take refuge in other countries. Thus, this work deals with the theme of exile and memory, already investigated in his previous work Refugium, refuge (2013-19). The historical burden of this border motivated him to travel to it, a border that, from a geographical point of view, does not exist. Although Noris could detect it with the mugas as witnesses along the border line, the people who live on both sides, or the messages on his mobile phone that indicate that he was crossing the country. During the trip he painted a work for each of the one hundred and ninety-eight milestones that marked the boundary, not with the aim of visually documenting the mugas, but rather to carry out an emotional recording of the environment, creating a new scene of memory, shaped by the difficulties of the journey and by his own experience.

In Noris there is a trajectory that starts from a reflection on the material and moral ruins present in the Refugium, refugia project, which develop over time through the displacement to specific places, to which other traces are added, marking new reflections. Through the exercise of remembering and experiencing historical memory, a process of internal displacement seems to be generated, which goes beyond the old paradigms and borders, adding new elements of knowledge to the narrative.

Leaving aside the hyper-production impulse which characterized On the Border -having to generate the pictorial registers along his path- in the next projects the artist becomes diluted with the landscape, to the point that he stops painting it. This process points to a change in his interior and in his artistic practice, which progresses from a more theoretical approach, and detaches himself from the object to immerse himself in the practice itself. In this sense, the work takes place mainly inside, and is reflected in abstract paintings in a fluid and natural way.

This process leads the artist to include cartography elements in his later works, using writing as a graphic element, giving more space to walking than to production, always maintaining a discourse through the landscape and territories.

While Noris goes to the border to know, touring the mugas and capturing what he has experienced in paintings and drawings, the artist María Ruido returns to a place from her own past to remember, and gathers her own testimony in her video work, thus like others.

The work The inner memory, by María Ruido (2002), begins with the narrations of the history of the artist's family, who had lived and worked in Germany. In it she investigates the memory of the growing Spanish emigration to Europe in the sixties and seventies.
The work consists of a thirty-three minute video, which alternates interviews and family photos, with recordings of the city of Frankfurt, the artist's voice-over, music audios or factory noises, which intertwine and alternate like memories themselves, an inner gaze as complex as memory itself.

The intimate nature of the work is complemented by the fact that Ruido deals with a historical event, telling not only his story and that of his family, but that of so many others who were forced to leave their home and even their families behind. The journey that she herself undertakes seems to be a journey to understand what the experience of her parents was like. Through interviews with her parents and the workers of the factory where her parents worked, the artist builds a story saturated with memories, emotions and hopes. An attestation of everything that the official figures cannot tell us: “Now I have made this journey, to become the subjects of history, opposed to the history of subjects.” (Ruido 2002:3’50’’). At the same time, Ruido's journey is a journey to his own memory, a walk through memory, a comparison with his memories and his experiences. So she herself travels with her body, the one that stores and produces her memory, to know, but also to remember. The reflection on the mechanisms of forgetting and memory are, therefore, central in this work, defending the need to construct additional stories to the official versions.

The whole project of María Ruido can be understood as a journey, “an experience of memory, to meet the memory of my experience” (Ruido 2002:4’55’’), an inner gaze, which, as in the case of Marco Noris, in On the Border project and his need to go personally to see the place and explore the landscape, became a path of self-reflection and personal development. Visiting a place unknown to him, Noris absorbs in a bodily way and lifts the inner veil between the memory of what he has learned and the memory of what he has experienced. In this sense, a first experience does not exist and is replaced by a secondary experience; his own (Assmann, 2006, 59-60).

In both cases, the body displacement to know and to remember is of utmost importance. The process of “walking” and “living a place”, with one's own body, reinforces remembering, generates memory, and includes aspects that lead to an inner gaze.

The translations of the literal citations into English were made by the authors based on the original texts in Spanish and German.

Sources:

Aleida Assmann. Der lange Schatten der Vergangenheit: Erinnerungskultur und Geschichtspolitik. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2006.

Maria Ruido. The inner memory. 2002. Video: https://vimeo.com/70927041

Interview Marco Noris

Web Marco Noris: https://marconoris.com

Web María Ruido: http://www.workandwords.net/es

Caminar para entender, caminar para recordar

Zahira Dehn Tutosaus | Ivana Pinna

Marco Noris María Ruido

Marco Noris

This curatorship departs from the project On the border (2017) by the artist Marco Noris.


Bérgamo, Italia, 1971
Marco Noris (Bergamo, Italy, 1971), draftsman and painter in essence, has also worked with video art, net-art and photography. Recently he has developed his artistic practice mainly in the field of painting, directing his research in two main thematic areas: ruin and historical memory on the one hand (The triumph of defeat and Refugium, refuge), and territory and landscape on the other, also approaching walking as an aesthetic and artistic practice with the project On the border (2017, Barcelona Producció award) and the most recent La rendition (2018, Art i Natura award). Parallel to his artistic activity, he has created and collaborated in different collective and collaborative projects. He is currently a resident artist at Piramidón, a contemporary art center in Barcelona.

María Ruido

This curatorship departs from the project The inner memory (2002) by the artist Maria Ruido.

As a visual artist, researcher and cultural producer, María Ruido (Xinzo de Limia, Ourense, 1967) develops interdisciplinary projects on the imaginaries of work in post fordist capitalism and on the construction of memory and its relations with the narrative forms of history. The social construction of the body and identity and their relations with discourses of power are central to her works, which investigate the new forms of decolonial imaginaries and their emancipatory possibilities.

Using video, video action, video installation or photography, her works explore and reflect critically on the subject matter of the archive, interviews and testimonial sources, as well as the artist's family or personal experiences, all contextualized within a specific historical and chronological framework.

Web
http://www.workandwords.net/es

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La Rue Del Percebe

Victoria Ellm

Anna Vilamú i Albert Gironès

Anna Vilamú i Albert Gironès

This curatorship departs from the project La Rue del Percebe (2020) by the artists Anna Vilamú and Albert Gironès.

Albert Gironès (Valls, 1995) and Anna Vilamú (Vic, 1995) are graduates in Fine Arts and have studied cultural management and bio-dance respectively. In 2015, they began to work together on part of their artistic projects, focusing on the particularities and histories of the different contexts where they develop their practice.

They have worked in collaboration on artistic residency programs (Platform AIR, Finland or Rad'art, Italy), grants (Fora de Camp, La Escocesa), educational centers (Bòlit Mentor 2018, Bòlit Contemporary Art Center of Girona), art centers, universities and neighborhood associations, among other spaces.

Web
https://quepassincoses.hotglue.me/

Träger*in der Sprache

The present curatorship is configured as a space that investigates language as a community-building element. "Träger*in der Sprache" (Gümü?ay, 2020, 46), meaning "language carrier", expresses the close connection between language and subject, body, person. In this sense, the subject does not only articulate the language, but as ‘Speicher’ (storage, archive) completes the language. In other words, he constructs the language, with his or her memory and with his or her being.

In La_llengua que arrossega (la_lenguadiario) (2020-21) the visual artist Nora Ancarola investigates the internal struggle that occurs in the language of migrants, with its need for integration and preservation of identity shares, along with the transmission difficulty on a communal space.

The involvement of the curatorial group in this exploration generated an unexpected production: la_lenguadiario. In this way, all the creators who have taken part in the project understand themselves as bearers of their own languages, which share a virtual space for the exchange of experiences and meanings. On the basis of different research materials provided by the artist, a multi-voice discourse begins to develop that reflects, from the subjective experience, on the violence and communions that have taken place in the displacements of each language-bearer.

The republican psychiatrist Francesc Tosquelles is one of the figures the artist uses to embody this linguistic displacement. During his exile in France, Tosquelles spoke Catafranç, a mixture of the French of his host country and the sonority of his mother tongue, Catalan. Seen in this light, the spoken language is understood as an element formed from detritus, as an archive of experiences. It is in this sense that Ancarola considers language to be an element that drags along, giving the project its title: La llengua que arrossega (The Drag-Alonging Language). The subtitle, initially the Catafranç of Tosquelles, changes at the beginning of the working process: the team went from 'talking about' Tosquelles to 'practising' Tosquelles in la_lenguadiario.

The texts included in this communication space derive from the character of Tosquelles and some reflections by the French writer Hélène Cixous: "la llengua m'és l'únic refugi" (language is the only refuge) (Ancarola, 2020). Ancarola takes the contributions generated in this textual dialogue and reinterprets them through three performers, giving rise to a multiplicity of new materials that converge in the performance La llengua que arrossega. The last perspective in this chain of re-readings and drifts is framed and recorded by a camera. Therefore, the videographer gives an account of the spaces, noises, conjunctions and flows proposed to her by texts and speech. And she does so through the image. The processes of this work are subjective reinterpretations of other interpretations. It is, in short, a circle of reinterpretation.

Transcriptions of performance’s audio:

01) NORA

No tengo más que una lengua. No es la mía.

Mi lengua es mi único refugio.

En la lengua que hablo, vibra la lengua materna.

Mi madre en la boca, en la laringe, me ritma.

Lengualeche.

02) ZAHIRA, origen

Pero, ¿qué pasa si no tienes solo un origen? ¿Si no te sientes so als würdest du nur von einem Ort kommen? Immer wieder werde ich im Spanischen mit meinem Akzent konfrontiert und unmittelbar als anders markiert. Die Frage nach meiner Herkunft steht dann natürlich im Mittelpunkt und ich bin es die sich erklären muss. Recuerdo cuando tuve 8 años y nos mudamos a España, yo hablaba muy poco castellano y lo tuve que aprender en el colegio. Allí una de las primeras cosas que me dieron a entender (sinceramente ni recuerdo en qué idioma, ¿inglés?) que tendría que dejar de leer en alemán y que en casa, a ser posible, solo tendría que hablar castellano, incluso en el colegio me prohibían hablar el alemán con mi hermana u otros niñxs de Alemania. Esta experiencia personal me lleva al tema del lenguaje como medio de integración y mecanismo de control social, el uso de la lengua como disciplinación, un tema muy presente en Cataluña o por ejemplo Turquía, donde la imposición de una lengua oficial y la prohibición de una lengua minoritaria Teil der Geschichte und Erinnerungskultur sind. So wird Sprache im Machtdiskurs gezielt genutzt um eine Abgrenzung der „vencedores“ y „vencidos“, der Mehrheitsgesellschaft und dem „Anderen“, dem Mächtigen und dem Schwachen genutzt. Ein Anpassen an die Mehrheit, an die Norm wird gefordert, sei es en un contexto colonial, migratorio oder durch einen Machtwechsel im „eigenen“ Land bedingt....

03) LAURA 1, comunitat

.... Qué sucede nos teus sistemas cando te reinscribes nun lugar que non comparte os teus códigos e a túa visión do mundo? A túa lingua e a lingua dos outros pelexan na túa testa, comenzan a bailar, inventas expresións que pra ti teñen significado completo. E é para ti, só, xa que vas alzando un sistema, un imaxinario ó redor da túa experiencia subxectiva neste accidente teu. Agora a túa lingua mutante é máis túa, menos compartíbel. Sí medrarás. Si compartirás outras cousas. Pero no teu novo contexto sínteste como un animal fuxido do zoolóxico, unha sorte de especie en extinción. E logo, na túa orixe, así te sintes e así falan de ti, o teu eu xa non é teu, e do teu outro que quedou alí.

04) LAURA 2, comunitat

A noción tradicional de viaxe sempre implica un retorno pra contar o que se veu e cando se torna, todo quedou en orde, ou é o feito de tornar o que restaura a orde anterior – cavilemos na Odisea e no heroe Ulises-1. Pero na viaxe da lingua acontece a mutación dun mesmo polo camino, coma se fose unha rocha arrastrada polo río, mudando a súa forma, de xeito que a pedra que comezou a viaxe non é a mesma que chega ó estuario. E polo tanto, nunha viaxe coma esta, de azorre e mudanza, o que partiu non é o mesmo que voltou....

Eu pregunto ¿non podería mesmo ser este a viaxe dun Tosquelles?

05) VICTORIA, sense coartada

Mi pronunciación en catalán, cuando le echo el valor de hablarlo, es una mezcla “incorrecta” para ser aceptada por ningún catalán, mallorquín o valenciano. Un popurrí de accents oberts i tancats. Percibo una mirada incómoda y yo, la mayoría de ocasiones termino por rendirme ante la mirada que me juzga y me cerebro que se bloquea. Por eso hace algunos años que, sumida en la frustración me apoderé de las frases y palabras que domino en el idioma que sea. 50% castellano, 25% catalán, 15% inglés, 10% francés....

06) BELLA, memòria

El exilio y el impacto de este en la lengua, por lo tanto, en el cuerpo. Nos podemos preguntar dónde se interceptan lengua y cuerpo: ¿es acaso en la memoria? ? una memoria viva, identitaria vinculada a los flujos de comunicación actuales. La frontera no existe sin un cuerpo que la atraviese. Lenguaje media este exilio.

(dos versiones)

07) ARTHUR 1, transmissió

...Voilà un nouveau lien. Tu nous parles de notre langue de origen, Nora.

À haute voix, ce lien donne :

Ache té té pé esse

deux points slache slache

vi mé o

point com slache

un six sept neuf

neuf un neuf sept

quatre

(je retranscris, phonétiquement et selon l’alphabet et les sons français, ma diction, sur un rythme lyrique, saturnien).

Le lien renvoie vers une vidéo, mais sur papier, c’est un haïku. On l’appellera quand même « Une politique de la folie »....

08) ARTHUR 2, transmissió

J’ai un problème : le document sur écran ressemble vraiment à un frigo. Car il émet cette lumière blanche et bleue à la fois. Ça a l’air sain, bien propre, mais ce n’est pas alléchant. Les lignes de textes ressemblent à des rayons qui se superposent ; ils sont vides mais prennent sens si on les déchiffre : comme dans une recette, il faut combiner ces mots pour former des lignes, qui vont prendre dans la casserole et former des paragraphes.

Le frigo est indigeste : alors je traduis, et j’imprime. Première digestion qui passe sur le papier. J’en ai pour vingt pages. Le papier est toujours blanc, mais il ne brille pas : la traduction tient ici de la transduction, je change de matériau de lecture, je passe de la farine brillante ultraraffinée à une farine complète, à la fois moins travaillée mais nécessitant une nouvelle étape, celle de l’impression.

Dans vos écrits, il y a des liens vers « d’autres pages ». Sur papier, ils se transforment en poèmes absurdes, que je scande à haute voix. Je ne peux pas distinguer leur logique, pas même à l’oreille, a contrario des belles lignes d’allemand de Zahira qui, si elles n’appellent pas une signification directe, me bercent… et alors, quelle surprise ! Hablas español, y no me interpela, me parece lo más normal, eso pasa cuando tu cerebro, tu lengua, tu corazón o tus tripas pueden pasar de un idioma al otro. Como lo dices, hay monumentos en cada idioma, intransferibles y no obstante tan fuertes qu’ils devraient exister et s’inscrire dans toutes les grammaires...

09) DIANA, la ferida

...en la última reunió amb creo que comenta amors que havia un tiempo diferente des de que estàvem sopant de mira que havia com un tiempo Mas lento donde las cosas màquina mirada sallergaven l muchísimo y digestion por favor sumergida Tot este tiempo el que no me ha permitido escribir en esta lengua diario que sí he decidido durante durante todos estos meses en gàbies participado curiosamente mi pues confinamiento Lleida cosas buenas cosa que aveces me hace sentir un poco mal i són esas cosas buenas del trabajo que no me permite tener tiempo para cosas buenas que aviam tejado antes.

10) IVANA - NORA, la_langue no-humà

Il significato di tasinanta viene capito all'istante fra persone che comunicano in presenza, ma cosa succederebbe ad un’intelligenza artificiale che non ha idea di quello di cui si parla perché non ha la capacitá di "essere parte di un contesto"?

Cuando Lacan dice ‘“a, la, la…” lalengua,

se refiere a aquello que sin ser el lenguaje

tiene una relación con el lenguaje.

Lalengua es cuerpo, antes de la palabra.

lalengua también es resto, lo que queda,

saber fuera del lenguaje.

Bibliography

Ancarola, Nora in Chillida, Gisela. ¿Por qué sigue usted trabajando? A*Desk, 17th august 2020. Availiable at: https://a-desk.org/magazine/por-que-sigue-usted-trabajando-ns-nc/ [Last access 20th january 2021]

La_llengua que arrossega

Zahira Dehn Tutosaus | Laura Fernández Zapata

Constructor*s Nora Ancarola

Constructor*s

La_lenguadiario: Bella Araneda Puentes, Germina Bastardas, Arthur Brun, Juan Antonio Cerezuela Zaplana, Zahira Dehn Tutosaus, Victoria Ellm, Diana Juanpere Dunyó, Ivana Pinna y Laura Zapata.

Performers: Ade Boyle, Ina Dunkel, Marion Tamme de Aquista, Ramón Villegas

Videógrafa: Aymée Hamon.

Nora Ancarola

Born in Buenos Aires. She is a visual artist who has lived and worked in Barcelona since 1978.

Since 1998, together with Marga Ximenez, she has run MX ESPAI 1010, a space for contemporary art in Barcelona. With her she also set up MX Edicions 1010 in 2004, for which they received the Initiative Award from the Association of Catalan Art Critics in 2008. For the publication of Polititzacions del malestar, she receives the Prize for the best publication of the year 2018 by the Associació de Crítics d’Art de Catalunya (with Laia Manonelles and Daniel Gasol). In 2020 the Muliverso scholarship award will be granted by the BBVA.

She coordinates and curates exhibitions such as Videopak, an annual cycle of video installations; Lo desconocido de los conocidos; Dobles pieles; Nóvísimos and others, while devoting herself to teaching art.

She has received several awards and scholarships, and his professional work is carried out in a line of independent production and research.

She is a graduate in Fine Arts from the Barcelona Fine Arts University. Since 1998 she has carried out studies on audiovisual techniques, processes and expressions and theory and practice of contemporary art in Buenos Aires, Copenhaguen, Rome and Barcelona.

Among other


Correcció (Col·legi Aparelladors, Barcelona 1991), Paisatge Submergit (Capella de Sant Roc, Valls 1992, Río de Plata (Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Recoleta, Buenos Aires 1996), Missiones-Desaparecidas (Galería Filo, Buenos Aires 1996; Galería Zenit, Copenhague 1997), Riu de (la) Plata (La Xina-Art y M.X.ESPAI, Barcelona 1999), Paisaje-Memoria (Bobigny, París 2000), Naranjitas de la Xina (La Xina-Art, Barcelona 2002), Sibil·la with Marga Ximenez (La interior bodega, Barcelona 2004-05; Belgrado 2005-06; Copenhaguen 2006), En la interior bodega de mi amado, with Jacobo Sucari (La interior Bodega, 2005, MX Espai 1010, Barcelona 2006), Domus Aurea, with Marga Ximenez (TPK, Barcelona 2007; Centre d’Art Côte des Neiges, Montreal, 2008), Entrellibres (MX Espai 1010, Barcelona 2009), Trilogía de la privacidad in collaboration with Marga Ximenez (Arts Santa Mònica de Barcelona, 2010;

 

Centre d'Art Roca Umbert de Granollers, 2011; Carte d'Arte de Catania, Italia, 2012; Tinglado 2 de Tarragona, 2013; Centre d'Estudis Ilerdencs de Lérida, 2013); Vestir el cos (La Panera, Lérida 2015-16); Optimització Combinatòria in collaboration with Ulla Blanca Lima (La Xina-art, Barcelona 2016; Can Manyè, Alella, 2017), Look Project (Kulturfabrikken, Copenhaguen 2016), Polititzacions del malestar in collaboration with Laia Manonelles and Daniel Gasol (Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona 2017); Plom-Plata (Museu de l’Exili, La Jonquera 2017); Ruta W.B. _Muga 600 (intervention Ruta W. Benjamin, Portbou, 2018); Plom i Plata. Panòptic_making of (Galeria Cànem, Castellón 2018); Les maletes kafkianes (FluxFestival, Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona 2018); Salvem la cultura (Lo Pardal, Agramunt, 2019); Temps de Plom i Plata. Derives obligades (Centre d’Art Maristany, Sant Cugat 2019); Panòptic_frontera 601 (La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona 2019). Composed a work where the interaction between fiction and reality meet a thoughtful proposal with regard to the present. Working with multidisciplinary techniques. Recent projects are noted for their work in collaboration with artists and cultural agents.

About Eyeframing

<eye-framing=OM7> is a project that activates, updates and expands La Comunitat, the digital archive that contains the profile of the creators connected with La Capella during the 25 years it has been in existence. <eye-framing=OM7> is conceived as a device that interacts with La Comunitat, exploring its ethical, aesthetic and political potentialities and widening its limits.

The research processes bring into play the notions of ‘archive’, ‘community’ and ‘future’, which in turn are intertwined with the discourses of the creators in La Comunitat with the aim of imagining different accounts and raising their visibility. These accounts are posited as visions of the future and, at the same time, as mechanisms that build communities. Mechanisms that revolve around the core issues of history, memory, travel, language, the affects, care, capital, border zones, the relationship with the physical world, the connection between art and the user, and the materiality of bodies. The project brings together narratives that develop in a rhizomatic manner, framing fictions and exploring the possibilities of the communal in the social space.

<eye-framing=OM7> is a project organised by the curatorial team consisting of Bella Araneda Puentes, Germina Bastardas, Arthur Brun, Juan Antonio Cerezuela Zaplana, Zahira Dehn Tutosaus, Diana Juanpere Dunyó, Victoria Ellm, Santiago Parra Barrios, Ivana Pinna, Anna Stec and Laura Zapata. It is co-ordinated by Christian Alonso and Olga Sureda. It is being run as part of the practical phase of On Mediation/7 (programme of curatorial studies), directed by Martí Peran. With the support of La Capella.