“They come with fruitcakes. Brown-skin nylons. Leatherette shoes. Mammy I have to go to the toilet.
“The shadowless light. Simply to be gone. Or for affair as now. A single leg appears. Seen from above. You separate the segments and lay them side by side. It is as you half surmised. The upper is the longer and the sitter’s loss the greater when seat at knee level.
“Come running by the lake. Eyes mist to the wind feel the fresh rush past. That new day it’s so early in the morning. I step there. Cool and cold and colder.
“Knowing from experience that the height or length you have in common is the sum of equal segments.
“First the body. No. First the place. No. First both.
“But by far the greater part of what is said cannot be verified”1Samuel Beckett, Company, London: Calder, 1979
For the following series of juxtapositions, I invited Elsa-Louise Manceaux to pair up some of her drawings with fragments from Samuel Beckett’s “closed space” novels as well as paragraphs from Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half Formed Thing (2015) and from Lina Meruane’s Fruta Podrida (2016). The way these writers use language and grammar – or rather, fragment them, to reduce narrative time to points and space, work in a similar way, it seemed to me, than Elsa’s abstract visual fields created by substracting and fragmenting visual forms and fields, appropriating ready-made figures and translating these perceived visibilities to her drawings. For Elsa, the pairings of images and texts work as dichotomies, as spaces between things, as anti-illustrations, openings and/or complementarity as well as contrasts.
To be continued…
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Samuel Beckett, Company, London: Calder, 1979|
Why do people see what they see? There must be conventions. There must be expectations. We see nothing otherwise; all would be chaos. Types, codes, categories, concepts.
Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World, p. 58.
According to Hito Steyerl, the new normal is not seeing anything intelligible. This is because information passes through as a set of signals (electric charges, radio waves, light pulses) that cannot be perceived by human senses. Since contemporary perception is largely machinic, human vision can only cover a tiny part of it. As a consequence, vision has lost relevance and is now replaced by machinic filtering, decrypting and pattern recognition. This means that unless signals are processed and transformed, humans are unable to see them, because images look different to machines than to humans1Hito Steyerl, Duty Free Art (London and New York: Verso, 2017), pp. 47-49.. In other words, an unintelligible reality is being created by images imperceptible to humans and thus reality itself, has become, to a certain degree, unintelligible to human consciousness.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Hito Steyerl, Duty Free Art (London and New York: Verso, 2017), pp. 47-49.|
Miguel Ventura’s (b. 1954, San Antonio Texas, U.S., based in Mexico City) collages juxtapose an array of apparently disparate elements: Classic Modern architecture and contemporary iconic Starchitecture, modern and contemporary art, images of celebrities, contemporary artists, politicians, dead bodies, a swastika every now and then, all arranged beautifully in intricate patterns. Similar juxtapositions appeared in a gigantic collage as part of Ventura’s 2008 installation Cantos cívicos at MUAC (University Contemporary Arts Museum, Mexico City), which gained the artist censorship, a civil lawsuit and accusations of making a “carnival of symbols” in which he effectively juxtaposed (not amalgamated as many claimed) Nazism and neoliberalism.
Crossing the Margins of the Encounter and the Ghosts of Coloniality: Clarisse Hahn’s Mescaline (2017)
Dismantling the organism has never meant killing yourself, but rather opening the body to connections that presuppose an entire assemblage, circuits, conjunctions levels and thresholds, passages and distributions of intensity, and territories and deterritorializations measured with the craft of a surveyor.
Ciguri is the very mystery of all poetry.
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaux
Clarisse Hahn’s (b. and b. Paris, 1973) Mescaline (2017), is a narrative about the consequences of the mutually ignored crossing of the margins of an encounter. The events unfold in a small town in the Wirikuta desert in the northern center Mexican State of San Luis Potosí. It features a young European couple on a “Mystical Tourism” trip in search for the magic cactus, the peyote, in desert. They are cultured and curious and have traveled to Mexico following the steps of Antonin Artaud and Henri Michaux, looking for the secrets of the earth that can be revealed in the experience offered by peyote intake. For over 5000 years, peyote has been considered by Huichol and other indigenous peoples as a sacred food. Its consumption produces hallucinations during religious ceremonies, which they believe helps them develop healing capacities and communication with their gods. For them, all living beings have a soul and thus the peyote plant possesses a spirit and wisdom to share. For decades, travelers after Artaud – but also Carlos Castañeda, the American anthropologist who wrote extensively about his experiences with peyote – have traveled to Catorce to embark on a spiritual journey in the desert.
Sara Eliassen’s (b. and b. in Oslo, 1977) site-specific video-intervention for her project The Feedback Loop, which also encompasses a film and conference program and an exhibition at Munchmuseet on The Move – Kunsthall Oslo, Dronning Eufemias gate 34, was displayed in Oslo Central Station for one week in June 2018. To devise the intervention, Eliassen parted from the idea that it was important to break through the daily flow of the images that surround us – the sensible regime – in a dense public space. For the project, screen time from advertisement spaces in Oslo’s Central Station was bought. Some of the screens have the format of giant smartphones, others are more traditional large displays and in them, Eliassen inserted five versions of a (10-) 30 second long video that pop up simultaneously on all screens interrupting the stream of local commercials.