El Lenguaje de las cosas

Identidad y contexto

Sobre la relación entre hombre y naturaleza

Actualmente la modernidad ha establecido un modelo de relación entre hombre y naturaleza como términos opuestos. Esto es conocido por el famoso dualismo naturaleza – cultura. Se trata de un concepto mecanicista de la naturaleza del cual Descartes (el llamado padre del racionalismo) fue su ideólogo. Este concepto se ha arraigado en la forma universal de entender al mundo a lo largo de los últimos 4 siglos. El Racionalismo se basa en las matemáticas clásicas y en conceptos de mecánica para describir al mundo y los organismos que lo pueblan, ignorando procesos mucho mas complejos sin explicación entonces y aún no muy entendidos (como son los sistemas de crecimiento y reproducción: Genesis).1 Nuestro sistema económico mundial depende y abraza hoy mas que nunca esta comprensión mecanicista de la naturaleza. Debido a las crisis actuales, como el cambio climático y sus consecuencias económicas, sanitarias y ecológicas, se ve la necesidad de tomar distancia de esta visión antropocéntrica del mundo y crear una visión en lo posible „neutral”. Así surge lo que hoy denominamos post-humanismo. Filósofos como Spinoza, Marcuse están siendo discutidos y releídos. Un filósofo francés que ha estado pensando en este sentido desde los años 90 es Bruno Latour (Parlamento de las cosas). El hombre es visto aquí como parte de la naturaleza y no como su opuesto. La cultura sería entonces parte de la naturaleza y por consiguiente, todo lo que el hombre hace también.

En base a esto, y teniendo en cuenta los conceptos mas inclusivos de naturaleza y cultura, en el trabajo elaborado durante el laboratorio FESE reflexiono y busco una definición apropiada de lo que llamamos identidad en relación con entorno y de qué forma puede ser el sonido un elemento que los amalgame.

Tras haber investigado sobre la relación medioambiente – palabra – cultura que se observan en culturas como la Wayuu y cómo esta se relaciona intrínsecamente con la creación del mundo, se me ocurre indispensable abordar la palabra misma (pütchikalü, en idioma Wayuu) cómo núcleo creador de identidad y también de contexto (en el sentido que Humberto Maturana le dá al lenguaje).

Trasfondo teórico

„Ya en la década de 1960 sociólogos, pero especialmente antropólogos y geógrafos sociales han reconocido el papel del entorno en la constitución de la identidad. Sin embargo, lugares como el hogar, la zona residencial o la ciudad han sido científicamente muy descuidados en su significado psicológico para la identidad, ignorando a Georg Simmel que ya en 1903 había descrito el fenómeno en su obra sobre el comportamiento y la experiencia del habitante de la ciudad. Tuvieron que pasar casi otros 60 años antes de que se investigara mas sistemáticamente la importancia psicológica del entorno espacial y los fenómenos de su conexión con la identidad y el yo de una persona.

Lugares como símbolos del yo: En The urban villagers, Herbert Gans describió cómo en la „re-urbanización” de distritos urbanos los planificadores destruyen sin saberlo la cohesión social y, por tanto, la “identidad territorial” de los residentes de dichos distritos.

En este contexto, el estudio de Herbert Gans (1962) ya mostró cómo residentes reasentados perdieron la oportunidad de cultivar su identidad. Las consecuencias negativas de este desarraigo provocaron problemas de salud y patologías entre estos habitantes. Además, con la pérdida de “identidad territorial“ aumentaron la delincuencia juvenil y las dificultades escolares, la delincuencia y el alcoholismo y el suicidio.

Las reacciones de duelo o de estrés en forma de nostalgia y problemas de salud se documentan como consecuencias psicosociales.“ 2

En este fragmento de Urs Fuhrer se nos revelan con claridad procesos de desarraigo del entorno que se pueden observar tanto en las zonas urbanas como en zonas campestres. Desde mi punto de vista esa intervención física sobre el espacio construido prosigue a una conceptualización geométrica del espacio que surge de la base racional y mecanicista del mundo promovida por el lenguaje. Es decir, se puede descontextualizar a una población sin necesidad de moverla de sito, sino atravez del lenguaje, redefiniendo su entorno.

En resumen; trabajar en un lenguaje mas inclusivo de todas las formas (vivientes o las llamadas inertes) que coexisten en nuestra realidad cotidiana significa construir und entorno mas sano y una identidad mas estable.

La palabra como trazo del entorno

La escritura es el dibujo mas colmado de significado. Una palabra escrita es silenciosa pero la escritura en sí no lo es. Escribir produce sonidos secundarios a los contenidos del texto; el sonido del teclado del computador, el sonido del lápiz sobre el papel en todas sus cualidades y combinaciones, etc. El sonido de la escritura no se considera sonido del lenguaje. Muy diferente a la voz que lee lo escrito, el sonido de la escritura hace evidente a los materiales que se frotan para dibujar las letras. Ese sonido es el que me interesa en cuanto es el sonido que amalgama la superficie del espacio que rodea al texto, el instrumento/objeto que se utilizó para escribirlo y su interacción con el espacio y el significado escrito; es decir la expresión cultural.

Entonces, qué sucede si en vez de escribir en y con medios convencionales se usan como medios objetos ya cargados de significado. El espacio arquitectónico mismo puede ser empleado como soporte y algún desecho industrial podría usarse como „lapiz“. El sonido que producen estos dos elementos al frotarse expresa su naturaleza física y la posición simbólica (e histórica, si se quiere) que ocupan en una cultura.

Hasta llegar a nuestros oídos el sonido primero toma un recorrido múltiple, refractándose en las superficies que hacen al espacio que lo rodea y transportando todas esas materialidades mas la materialidad de su fuente. Un sonido es siempre su entorno; lo transporta y lo amalgama. El sonido es el lenguaje de las cosas. A travez del sonido nos unimos a las cosas y estas se unen a nosotros en un espacie de dialogo ininterrumpido. Así es que tomar una identidad, pertenecer, sentirse parte, así también como la simple escucha, es hacerse entorno.

Instalación y acción performativa

Las frase „hacerse entorno“ se escribirá en una pared del espacio expositivo Odeón mediante el raspado de la superficie con un objetos chatarra de las calles de Bogotá haciendo hincapié en la relación „entorno urbano <–> lenguaje“. Los sonidos generados por el raspado/escritura en las paredes serán el elemento principal de la obra. La escritura no tiene necesariamente que ser legible. Los sonidos de fricción generados por la escritura reemplazarían a la voz.

Tanto la pared como el objeto chatarra estarán conectados a microfonía de contacto que hará posible la toma y grabación de los sonidos producidos por la fricción de ambos. La acción se documentará en video y este será parte de la documentación de la obra. Unas vez finalizada la acción, el objeto chatarra se dejará apoyado contra la pared y los sonidos grabados se reproducirán en la sala en forma de loop.

1. Vease: The Machine conception of the organism in development and evolution: A critical analysis, Daniel J. Nicholson,
2. Selbst, Identität und Raumbezug (auf der Grundlage eines Aufsatzes von Urs Fuhrer für die Enzyklopädie Um-weltpsychologie, 2008)

El lenguaje de las cosas

Instalación sonora y acción performativaUn trozo de chatarra, 2 micrófonos de contacto, 1 grabador y reproductor digital, 1 mezcladora, 2 altoparlantes activos – Mario Asef 2020

Festival Estación Sonora Experimental
FESE 2020

Puerto Contemporáneo: Espacio Alternativo para las Artes
Bogotá, Colombia

Acción: Sergio Jimenez , cámara: Jimmy Morales
El Lenguaje de las Cosas, installation view
El Lenguaje de las Cosas, installation view
El Lenguaje de las Cosas, Detail
El Lenguaje de las Cosas, installation view
El Lenguaje de las Cosas, Detail

Photographies © Zoila Silena Arias

Acousmatic Lectures

–an ongoing lecture series–

The Acousmatic Lectures have roots in discursive practices and propose a listening experience based on the Pythagorean acousmatic model: a mode of presentation in which the speaker is hidden from the public. Acousmatic Lectures encourage both orator and listener to focus exclusively on the acoustic space that provides a frame for the spoken word, its temperament and tone, without the addition of visual information or the speaker’s body language. For this series of lectures, all visual clues generated by the speaker’s facial and bodily expressions (which normally influence how information is received) remain hidden. Nevertheless, the speaker’s voice and its dissemination in the surrounding environment still convey the speaker’s physical presence. This approach underscores the dialectical conflict between abstract and sensorial information, confronting us with an array of decisions specific to the act of listening itself.

Acousmatic Lectures –view–

* Acousmata

The term references a Pythagorean tradition according to which only Pythagoras’s most devoted students were allowed to see and visually perceive him during his lectures. By contrast, newcomers were made to sit before a curtain concealing the master’s physiognomy. Students were therefore left without any visual information and had to try to follow the lectures solely by attentive listening.

The lectures are academic in nature—a deliberate choice of the artist. The speakers are academics and scholars who talk about their specific areas of expertise. The intention is to observe what impacts the acousmatic settings have on participants, and specifically without the influence of any artistic or aesthetic sensory effects. In the Acousmatic Lectures held thus far, a performative character has been observed that condenses the classic academic lecture scenario into an acoustic experience that functions both informatively—on a linguistic level—as well as in an acoustically qualitative way—on the level of the voice as instrument—and is capable of transforming situations, content, and space. These aspects are made legible through the ways in which the acoustic characteristics of the voice interact with the surrounding space. As such, they might be experienced as a means for determining the interaction between and transfer of linguistic and affective sensory information.

Poster symposium – Akusmatik als Labor

Lecturers: Alex Arteaga, Sabeth Buchmann, Ernesto Estrella, Markus Gabriel, Marcus Gammel, Federico Geller, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Nihad Sirees, Birgit Schneider, Sven Spieker, u.a.

Listen to the Acousmatic Lectures online visit the official page >

Interview für w/k Zwischen Wissenschaft & Kunst – Online-Journal (German)

or download PDF here

Alex Arteaga, Acousmatic Lecture rehearsal 2017

Statements

Maniere Noire, Berlin

I often think that there is no explanation needed to understand the very essence of the real. Its inconsistency. Its sharpness. In this way working with language presents a struggle. Language is uncomfortable terrain for expresing ideas beyond that terrain. However the deft use of language can be a strong instrument for mastering reality. Language is a tool, which allows us to navigate the real world.


”Objekte sind operationale Relationen im Prozess des Sprachhandelns” (Objects are operational relations within the process of verbal activity) is the title of my exhibition at the Maniere Noire Berlin. We enter the exhibition space and see to our left a sentence painted on the wall with a brush that reads: “Der Boden der tatsachen ist ein Spinnennetz” (The ground of facts is a spider web). We can compare the relational structure of the consistency of our truths to nets made of thin threads connecting the facts that support our reality. We walk on safe ground, when we move from fact to fact, we might think. But it is fragile ground constructed of words and symbols; a text; the narrative that built our reality. The gaps between those symbols however are what becomes relevant here. We are confronted with a kind of perforated reality which we move though ignoring the openings.

Statements –installation view, Maniere Noire, Berlin–

There is a fan plugged in on the same wall. It is on and the wind it’s producing is strong.

On the opposite wall we read: “Eine These ist ein japanischer Garten” (A thesis is a Japanese garden). So the land we are walking on is drawing us through a pathway especially designed to show us a specific articulation of the space that is equal to the linguistic articulation of our thoughts. Meaning: A thesis is a spatial/linguistic articulation of some truths. And of course our truth is the consistency we build between the physical and the mental world. The path is our truth: the narrative through which we see the world.

Statements –installation view, Maniere Noire, Berlin–

On this wall another identical fan is blowing wind in the opposite direction. Our hair swirls…

Is this a visual symmetry built out of asymmetrical assertions? A garden, a thesis, a spider web, the ground of facts; these terms are scattered throughout the space.

A framed drawing is hanging on a third grey wall. The drawing shows four interconnected equations as follows: “an image is a diagram – a diagram is a narrative – a narrative is a machine – a machine is an image” There lines connect inter-equational terms. We speculate on the legitimacy of those equations until we realize they function as a way of defining their own function within the drawing. Meaning; the drawing is defining itself. The drawing itself is an image that is a diagram and a narrative and a machine at once. The work becomes self-referential.

Statements –installation view, Maniere Noire, Berlin–

Lines, pathways and spider webs form the narrative of our physical and mental reality. On this aspect of the exhibition Ernesto Estrella asked: “what does a line think?” He has previously discussed the issue of “…where the line appears…” and that it “… seems to have the function of bringing back language a little closer to its materiality, even to remind those inked decisions that there is a void around them, that “…Those lines need to be handled with care, and cannot always be trusted. So the best thing we can do is to approach the ear, the eye, and ask them what they are thinking in there. For there will be no better clues for understanding and enjoying the unbalanced garden they are part of.”

Statements –detail, Maniere Noire, Berlin–

In Jorge Luis Borges tale “The Disk” an old man asks a woodcutter for asylum. He said he was the king of the Secgens, of the Odin people, and had lost his kingdom. He said he would prove it. Then he opened his hand to show something to the woodcutter who, seeing nothing, touched it and felt something cold and saw it glitter.
”It is the disk of Odin,” the old man said in a patient voice, as though he were speaking to a child. “It has but one side. There is not another thing on earth that has but one side. So long as I hold it in my hand I shall be king.“ I may add: …not even a drawing.

Statements –detail, Maniere Noire, Berlin–

It becomes evident that the show is centered on the interface and the interconnection between words-images-objects. Each work defines itself while defining this relationship. So, for example, the invitation card for the exhibition with the title tells us what is actually happening in the space: Objects are operational relations within the process of verbal activity.

As Humberto Maturana notes: “there are no objects outside the field of language”. So Henri Lefebvre’s idea that our cities are texts within which we are moving around is not a metaphor but a fact. And yet they are more than just texts. Urban landscapes respond to a narrative, which we are supposed to interact with. And so we do.

Read more >

See also:  / Maniere Noire/ Brookling Rail / Voice Republic >

Statements –installation view, Maniere Noire, Berlin–
Statements –installation view front window, Maniere Noire, Berlin–
Statements –installation view, Maniere Noire, Berlin–
Statements –book, Maniere Noire, Berlin–

Statements

The Mystery and the Wonder

Kasa Gallery – Istanbul

The Mystery and the Wonder almost follows the lead of visualising a long lost space. By presenting the Zenon paradox of the ancient hero Achilles and the turtle, Asef re-narrates the disappearance of the city of Byzantium. The paradox describes a race between the two, which end in the infinity of algebraic analysis. This textual work is confronted with the legend of the history of the palace Dolmabahçe in Istanbul –a building formed from the immaterial, whose factoring was based on the Sultans order to print more money, because the financial capacity of the city has already been exhausted.

The Mystery and the Wonder, graphic, Kasa Gallery, Istanbul

The Mystery of Achilles

The city of Byzantium, founded by Greek colonists in the 7th century BC was to form the nucleus of one of the greatest centre of civilization in the history of mankind.

The ancient authors refer to a number of important buildings but their form and location remain unspecified. According to them the city house the famous Baths of Achilles, located immediately adjacent to the Strategion.

In the Zenon paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise, we imagine the Greek hero Achilles in a footrace with the plodding reptile. Because he is such a fast runner, Achilles graciously allows the tortoise a head start of a 100 feet. The tortoise runs in 1sec time 1/10 of the distance Achilles do. So,  the footrace stars and Achilles runs the 100 feet. In this time the tortoise runs 10 feet. Achilles runs that 10 feet and the tortoise runs 1 feet. Achilles runs that feet and the tortoise 0.1 feet and so on never-ending. Achilles can never overtake the tortoise.

We have to remark that, to make this footrace possible, the participants have to reduce their own size becoming smaller and smaller until de-materializing themselves.

It is told that up to this days Achilles is still running his footrace against the tortoise in an endlessly small Byzantium.

The Wonder of Dolmabahçe

The famous painter Melling visited Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Mahmut II and the wooden palace is represented in many of his prints. After Mahmut II, Sultan Abdülmecit came to stay at the palace. He ordered to be rebuilt in a western fashion between 1843 and 1856. For this purpose Abdülmecit took a credit of  3.500 Kurus, enough to buy paper and ink to print 3.500.000 Kurus to pay the built of the palace.

Dolmabahçe actually means ‘the filled garden’. The Palace is built on land reclaimed from the Bosphorus, hence its name and its materialization appears from the abstract world of infinit numbers became money and transferred into stones and handcraft to finally built a building in our presence.

The Mystery and the Wonder, installation view, Kasa Gallery, Istanbul
The Mystery and the Wonder, detail installation view, Kasa Gallery, Istanbul
The Mystery and the Wonder, installation view, Kasa Gallery, Istanbul
The Mystery and the Wonder, drawing, oil crayon on rubber, Kasa Gallery, Istanbul

Empirien

EMPIRIEN is a series of interventions in public space (1998-2006) that work with the transposition of signs as an idea of reorganizing elements of our urban surroundings. These interventions are reduced to almost imperceptible events that through a redefinition, or reconstruction, of everyday space try to make visible different social mechanisms.

Without previous notice objects will be shifted and replaced in public and semi-public spaces. The users of those places take the initiative and reestablish the ‘normal’ everyday order of things and thereby go about dismantling the interventions.

Dialogue – Sabeth Buchmann & Mario Asef (text)

X
Ferry Bus Station, Hong Kong Central / Materials: twenty-five meters of thread /

In the Lorentz transformation, if the X´-axis opposite the X-axis is rotated around the zero point “0,” all points of the X´-axis (except 0‘) vanish from the observer’s experiential realm in reference system S into the fourth dimension. This seems to contradict all normative experience.

One must imagine, however, that one X‘ -axis passes through each point of the X-axis. This means: we must imagine a plane in Minkowski space that is densely filled with X‘ -axes. Each of these comes from another time and is present simultaneously—even when an observer in S discerns just one point of each axis, namely the one point located on his own X-axis.

Brownie Ranch
Balzac Coffee, Berlin / Materials: 10800 cm3 of brownies /

After arriving in Berlin in 2000, I began working at a bakery where I specialized in making brownies. At that time, I developed a system of cutting brownie sections in the baking pan that represented the proportions of a primitive hut in 1:50 scale.

I assembled the prototype only once in the bakery, later offering the pieces for sale.

Europe Towers
Bausch & Lomb storage, Walldorf / Materials: six pallets of ninety-one boxes each; Lot N* 800523/547 /

Over the course of two workdays, I restacked 546 boxes of optical medical products from DIN pallets onto Euro pallets. The boxes were stacked according to a system similar to the distribution of housing units in high-rise apartment buildings, which allowed the same quantity of boxes to be stacked on the smaller Euro pallets, while making them more stable at the same time.

Two days later the Europe Towers were dispatched to Holland together with the rest of the stock.

Jobcenter
Arbeitsamt Südwest, Berlin / Materials: one piece of furniture /

In a job-center in Berlin, a temporary ramp had been installed to transport files between the first floor and the basement. While waiting for a work permit, I moved part of the ramp to a corridor in the basement.

Sleeping Policeman and a Hole
US-military base, Heidelberg-Pfaffengrund / Materials: approx. 0.98 m3 earth /

Much has been written on the history of metaphors. Little is known about their materialization. There are objects in this world for which one prefers to use metaphors, since their true meaning extends beyond the functions or physical outline that they describe.

I dug a hole on the property of the US military airport in Heidelberg (Germany). The earth was placed on a bike path on German territory and served as a bump for reducing bicycle speed.

Fragile – handle with care / appropriation /
Covent Garden, London / Materials: nine cardboard boxes /

On the evening of February 21, 2004, nine cardboard boxes intended as improvised accommodations were set up in front of the Covent Garden Theater Museum in London. The morning after, the camera recorded how the homeless had appropriated the intervention.

A street artist performed a comedy in front of it.

Mudança*
Eixo Monumental Via N1 Oeste, Brasilia, Brazil / Materials: forty-eight meters of rope + one sign

* to move, relocation; change
(Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva in his first official speech as president of Brazil on January 1, 2003.)

Farmers belonging to the Movimento sem Terra (Movement of Landless People) of Brazil took over state land on April 22 in the satellite city of São Sebastião, near the capital city of Brasilia. By the time I arrived, people were already demarcating property lines and clearing the lots.

Take your Time
Long Tsai Tsuen, Hung Shing Yeng, Lamma Island, Hong Kong / Materials: six dustbins

Lü Dong Bin, one of eight immortal Taoists, is believed to have lived during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). One time while traveling, as he waited for his porridge in an inn, he fell asleep and saw his future life before him. When Lü Dong Bin awoke, eighteen years had past and he decided to live as a hermit.

Fox fur / donation /
Museum of Natural History, Berlin / Materials: one fox fur

On March 11, 2000, I bought a fox fur. I kept it and took care of it in my apartment.
On July 1, 2001, I donated the fur to the Museum of Natural History, Berlin.
The museum administration was not interested in keeping the specimen.

Hröns
Tieckstrasse 5, Berlin / Materials: three plastic chests + three wooden chests /

According to Jorge Luis Borges (in his story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius), certain objects exist in the utopian land of Tlön that are merely projections of human will. For example, if somebody has lost a jewel box and several people go searching for it, it is possible that each person will find the box, but in different places. This implies a multiplication of the object. Such multiplied objects are called hrönirs and are characterized by a peculiar, barely noticeable deformation that distinguishes them from the original. If a hrönir is lost, and its duplicate then found, one will notice an even stronger transformation due to the function of human memory. Such objects are called hröns.

One could hypothesize that the entire variety of objects that make up our cosmos come from ONE original object that has been modified and multiplied by the projection of human will throughout the centuries.

Neolithic
Hagar Qim Temple, Malta / Materials: one rope + two racks /

On the island of Malta, a rope and two racks were placed in front of the archeological site of Hagar Qim. These framed two stones coincidentally situated in front of the temple entrance.

Mekka
St. Clement Danes, Central Church of the Royal Air Force, London / Materials: one carpet /

In Whitechapel, London, I bought an oriental carpet in an Arabian bazaar.
Lost in the labyrinth of the city, I embarked on a pilgrimage for hours in the opposite direction of Mecca, finally placing the carpet at the St. Clement Danes, Central Church of the Royal Air Force.

Bastón / donation /
Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin / Materials: one walking stick /

On January 21, 1999, I bought a walking stick and carried it around with me for some time.
Years later, I donated the walking stick to the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin.
The museum administration was not interested in keeping the exhibit.

Popular
Volkshochschule Mitte, Berlin / Materials: ten tables /

Since Pyrrho claimed there is no truth to the reality of sensorial things, the legend circulated that he would not avoid things standing in his way or horses or wagons approaching him, or he would even walk into walls in the conviction there is nothing consistent about sensorial perceptions. Only his friends, it is said, prevented and saved him from all sorts of foolhardy collisions.

See also books >