On Tenterhooks


A series of objects, drawings and a text
cut envelopes, paper spikes, cement blocks
presented for the first time in the group show:
(+) Mundos (-) Imposibles
Jorge Cordonet, Ana Raviña and María Laura Rodríguez Mayol
Carolina Andreetti, Corina Arrieta, Natalia Carrizo, Romina Casile, Chiachio & Giannone, Mariana Collares, León Ferrari, Vera Grión, Marcos López, Liliana Maresca, Juan Carlos Romero, Luis Pazos, Tamara Stuby
Museo Prov. de Bellas Artes Emilio Caraffa
Córdoba, Argentina
in the framework of Bienalsur
text by Tamara Stuby:
Hang Out to Dry*
*Idiom: To abandon someone
who is in need or in danger,
especially a colleague or
dependent. Often carries an
element of betrayal of someone
who might have expected
protection or assistance.
How far down is the street? At what velocity does one fall to reach it? On the street, there is a paradox, tragedy or crime that takes place, where a life becomes invisible, right in front of everyone's eyes. No one knows who they are, how many, or where they come from; no one asks age, sex, sign of the zodiac, color of preference or favorite song, etc. This twisted form of privacy (complete lack of interest) describes--by way of opposition--the insatiable voracity for data that devours anyone who still finds themselves indoors, a roof over their head and connected to the system's mainline. The slightest hint of interest they show in response to any thing is sought after, registered and processed.
Once on the street, one is no longer tracked by the data miners, but pursued by agents of public order and control instead. A loose person is dangerous; a free radical. When someone is not encapsulated in a (fixed position) box, and no longer has anything (to be taken or to lose), the data-inquiring eyes drift away and the strings that manipulate the marionette snap, with no profit to be made.
In this sense, the house has been transformed into a holding device, a data vacuum hose, an extractor of value, a facilitator of extortion and an exposition cell. It is the infrastructure for electricity, gas, water, internet connection and cable; these [secret] services are already inside. Their envelopes slide in under the locked and bolted door with a serpent's hiss. Perimeter security provides no protection against their contents; they can induce suffering--cold, heat, isolation, thirst or filth--via remote control, simply by raising a number and patiently insisting, to the point when service is cut off. Even with something absolutely essential at stake, this cut is not considered an act of violence; it's merely a legal issue, like the "pound of flesh" that we all seem to have forgotten about.
The curious thing is that we practically rush to open the door, anxious to give in, to give things up, to hand over control of our finite resources to strangers. We swallow the convenience of automatic debit schemes without as much as a hiccup. We believe that "easier" means for us, not for them. Although we know that cutting a foot off one end of a blanket and sewing it to the other does not make the blanket any longer, we think--or let ourselves be convinced or seduced to believe--that cutbacks ("austerity"), presented as the only action possible, are capable of generating more of something. We accept the delusion against all logic, history and science.
From the service providers' standpoint, the reasoning and implementation are perfectly clear. It brings an example from nature to mind: the Loggerhead Shrike, colloquially referred to as the Butcherbird, is a little bird that kills its victims (which include insects, small mammals, amphibians and even other birds) and then impales them on sharp thorns, thus saving them to be consumed a bit at a time, in a sort of automatic debit system set up by nature.
On our side, I can only think of the kaleidoscope. My grandfather made one out of cardboard (I still have it), and it has always fascinated me due to the enigma it presents. It is an object with a powerfully hypnotic effect, and yet the effect is in no way diminished by full knowledge of how it works. It is just as impossible to resist its invitation to peer inside and make it spin, and we wind up captivated by our own hand. The secret? Gradualism: the slow, unstopping, circular movement is what generates the illusion of change, growth and infinite transformation. Yes, we know that they are merely broken bits, in perpetual freefall, seen through a very limited optic, and that the marvel disappears the minute the gaze is lifted. But who wants to avert their eye if it means being left with no more than a cardboard tube and a tiny pile of trash? And so we continue, immersed in that tunnel of darkness.
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