For the last several months, I have been living in the Forest of Dean, in southwest England bordering Wales. During this time I have been flooded with a series of thoughts and reflections on what such a radical change in lifestyle entails: going from living in a city like Barcelona to being isolated in a house a half hour’s drive away from the nearest town. Some factors that have changed in my life are the passage of time and time management and how it seems like the forest envelops everything in a comfortable languor. There are many more, like leaving behind consumerism, noise and the bustle of civilization, and others of a political nature, such as whether isolating oneself corresponds to a desire for civil disobedience.
The project is a series of correspondence between my home in the forest in England and La Capella in Barcelona. Making use of documentary and paying tribute to Chris Marker and Harun Farocki and the correspondence between Víctor Erice and Abbas Kiarostami, they are filmed letters that use these topics and others to reflect on life in the forest, seeking to glean whether Thoreau was right when he wrote that living in the forest is living life in the real way or if it was only a romanticisation of nature.
El misterio de Caviria parteix d’una investigació al voltant de la facultat transformista del dibuix, capaç d’activar-se, destruir-se, alterar-se i injectar vida a allò que l’envolta. Un espectacle visual a l’estil copla-terror on topen dues mitologies, la del cabaret barcelonès i la grega clàssica. Una invocació als déus del subsòl seguint la tradició del ritus dels Cabirs, en què el foc, la sang i la ridiculització dels atributs masculins són els ingredients essencials que permeten conèixer una història local i, alhora, universal.
Within his prolific literary output, in 1976 Alberto Cardín wrote a film script that remains unpublished, titled No es homosexual simplemente el homófilo, sino el cegado por el falo perdido, today part of the Biblioteca Alberto Cardín. The script was developed in the context of Spain during the first project for a political reform bill and the first democratic election of a president following the Franco dictatorship. Its activation and realization -for the first time- in the present again impacts national macropolitics right at a time of paradigm shift, or what is being called the ‘Second Transition’.
On 24 September 2013, Texas senator Ted Cruz announced to the press that he would speak as long as he could maintain himself upright – “until I am no longer able to stand,” he said – in opposition to Obama’s proposed health care reform known as Obamacare. The next day he delivered a 21-hour faux filibuster, which is the practice of giving a prolonged speech with the aim of paralysing parliamentary debate and blocking the approval of a law.
Until I am no longer able to stand proposes to convert the Espai Cub into the stage for creating a filibuster speech to take place on the last day of the project exhibition. It will be delivered in order to delay as long as possible the scheduled closing of La Capella. During the exhibition, the Espai Cub will be prepared to become a space that facilitates preparation of the final speech, and open rehearsals will be held prior to the last day. The working process, then, appropriates the rules of filibustering to try to close the doors of La Capella later than planned. There will be a reflection on this process, and a number of relationships with other concepts and different references will be presented, such as filibuster speeches delivered throughout history, the literature and modus operandi of Michel de Montaigne, drift, horror vacui and blind text, among others.
Using a neo-materialistic approach, the project investigates materials which, decontextualised from their business, scientific and technical environments, have become media used in the visual arts. The materials thus function directly as a discourse rather than a means, asserting the mechanisms that render them invisible and neutral within the flexible forms of art. In short, Background Immunity explores how the notion of progress affects the way in which the forms of artistic representation as well as the relationships of technical dependence between scientific development and artistic discourses responsive to the social evolution of technology are established.
Demo is an audiovisual concert in which reappropriation of sounds and sculptural vision play a key role. The concert establishes the Espai Cub as a sound stage/instrument, an echo chamber hosting different screenings and objects to be played by PLOM at the opening but which will remain throughout the exhibition, inviting the public to interact with them if they wish. The result is an installation in which the objects and video game screening play a decisive visual role and the sound output from their use an even stronger one, shaping an objectual sound space.
-- Absent from other people’s meaning, accidental alien with respect to naïve happiness, I owe a supreme, metaphysical lucidity to my depression. On the frontiers of life and death, occasionally I have the arrogant feeling of being witness to the meaninglessness of Being, of revealing the absurdity of bonds and beings.-- (Julia Kristeva, Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia, 1987)
‘Being blue’ is an expression used to refer to an imprecise conglomerate of emotions that may signify sadness, dejection, melancholy, gloominess or depression. The argument put forward by Visceral Blue draws on the critical possibilities that arise from attributing a colour to a feeling. ‘Being blue’ avoids the inertia of incriminatory or normative terms and thereby makes it more difficult for us to consider ourselves as permanently safe from the blues. The exhibition stems from a wish to understand the current prominence of feeling blue and proposes an explanation that interprets the tendency to the blues as a collateral effect of the neoliberal paradigm.
Every economic model shapes a type of subject who, it goes without saying, benefits its dynamics and even embodies them. In the case of financial neoliberalism, principles such as speculation on value and the logic of credit are the gearing principle of economy, but also that which governs the construction of subjectivity. Adding another twist to the analysis of the consequences of cognitive capitalism, we could say that every facet of the subject and sociability are oriented towards the increase of appreciation in order to instigate investment.
This constant negotiation of one’s own value in the public sphere puts self-appreciation at risk and places us within specific mental and somatic co-ordinates. In the words of Michel Feher, it is possible to “associate speculation on value to an affective field polarised between depression and plenitude; between self-shame and self-esteem”. In this context, the possibility of failure when it comes to ratifying one’s own value before social, labour or political powers-that-be has a direct impact on self-esteem and steers us to the supposed negative end of the spectrum, that emotional conglomerate of ‘being blue’: shame, disorientation and endangered self-appreciation.
Given that the speculation on one’s own value is negotiated using external and systemic criteria, Visceral Blue goes against the privatisation of psychic suffering in the belief that it is perverse to hold the subject solely responsible for an unease that is linked to prevailing circumstances.
The exhibition is, firstly, an act of publicising. It is an attempt to facilitate a public and shared space for feeling low, for being not as attractive, efficient or eloquent as it is required of us. Secondly, the exhibition stresses the connection between feeling blue and financial exigencies, including pieces in which the visceral – a notion that blends the mental and the physical – is linked to economic or political in place. In many of the works, political struggles have a part of their battlefield in the mind and in the body.
Exposing this connection is intended not only to provide an understanding of and to democratise feeling low as the collateral damage of a model, but also – and above all – to think of it as a space of dissidence against that very model. Visceral Blue seeks to restore belligerence within fragility; to make it possible for the blue to become visceral; to suggest that fragility or weakness can be a space of lucidity and action, which often involves common agency; and to view the inadequate not only as something that does not suit the system but as that which deliberately refuses to adapt.
Artists who dare to inhabit and accept fragility, antiheroic gestures of empowerment, works that hold economic powers responsible for psychic vulnerability, and narratives that open up spaces – albeit holes – in which to indulge from the downer that comes after the constant high and over-stimulation of the cokeheads of Wall Street.