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

Photographies © Zoila Silena Arias

Konsum der Landschaft

Spreewald Brandenburg

Under the catchword “consumption” artist Mario Asef developed for the Aquamediale 11 two projects dealing with processes of landscape usage and transformation. On the Lübbener Schlossplatz he appropriates an area of the park in order to set up his own brick-making production. He mixes local iron-ocher mud with cement for the production of bricks and tests the results for sustainability of use in building construction.

The focus of the work was on the so-called “Brown Spree”: As a late consequence of coal mining, iron hydroxide dissolves from the soil and colors the Spree river in ocher of varying intensity. Fish, plants and microorganisms die off. Every day about 8.5 tonnes of iron oxide mud (ocher mud) flows into the Spree river, while it is not yet clear how large the environmental damage will be for the ecotourism region. In a daily Sisyphean work excavators clean the waterways while the material accumulates unused at their edges.

Parallel to this, Mario Asef developed in cooperation with Edelmond Chocolatiers GmbH a “geological cake” that reproduces the specific geological composition of the Spreewald soil in chocolate, vanilla, marzipan, and icing. The cake is been served to customers at Edelmond’s restaurant during Aquamediale 11 festival.

Workshop at Luckau’s primary school.

Graphic of coal mining pit with accumulation of iron hydroxide on the base level.

Berliner Zeitung – Die Lausitz als Kuchen (German)

Lotería Nacional

México City

Lotería Nacional presents Mexico’s socio-political situation from the perspective of the artist, who makes use of theoretical speculations regarding methodologies of archeology and the social sciences in order to develop interventions in public space, drawings, videos, and objects. The reflections presented revolve around the idea of “reality” as a socio-cultural construct and are firmly connected to central aspects of Mexican society that go beyond its basic political or religious structures.

The project is divided into three chapters or “moments” that appropriate public space and its symbolic structural meaning. Various artistic strategies are employed to achieve this including placarding graphic works along the avenue of Colonia Sta Maria La Ribera, gaining closer access to urban situations via video documentation, or the intervention with megaphones from a wagon selling scrap metal in order to communicate a new message.

In the exhibition space at La Miscelanea University UNARTE, Puebla, Mexico, the three moments outlined above are presented concurrently in order to establish a formal and thematic dialogue between the works. The chanting of demonstrators from 8. November 2014 (in Video 1) serves as background for the organ music, which accompanies the restorers working on the facade of the National Government Palace (Video 2). Through a megaphone lying on the ground, the voice from Moment III, systematically repeats the listing of methodological actions associated with digging and excavating an object.

Acción Día de Muertos

Protests over the “disappeared” students in Ayotzinapa took place under the slogan “They took them alive, we want them back alive.” Given the political circumstances and the strong presumption that the students are dead, the demand “of wanting everyone back alive” becomes an impossible request. While the all-or-nothing nature of the demand remains legitimate, it exposes a radical ideological structure that is determined wholly by chance and a reality that more closely approximates a game of Russian roulette. Under these circumstances relying on fundamental human rights is imperative.

The phrase “43 or nothing” was drawn on forty-three pages of the Mexican National Lottery’s infobooklet. These were installed in public space along the Colonia Santa Maria La Ribera during nighttime placarding actions on November 1-2, 2014. In the lottery’s symbolism the number 43 is a metaphor for balcony, connected here to the meaning of the popular Mexican term balconear.

Balconear is vernacular for “standing on the balcony” or trying to conceal something obvious.

8 de Noviembre

The various social and political levels of representation that can be detected in the physical constitution of a city reveal the structures of power and order to which society is subjected. Cultural expressions often reflect these structures on a superficial level. On November 8, 2014, a group of anarchists among the demonstrators protesting Ayotzinapa spray painted anarchist slogans on the facade of the National Government Palace in Mexico City, and tried to burn down the gates while chanting: “Death to the government, long live anarchy.” On November 8, 1519, Hernán Cortés and Moctezuma II met at the same location for the first time. The National Government Palace was built with stones from the palace of Moctezuma II, after it was attacked, looted, and destroyed by Hernán Cortés.

The work 8 de Noviembre consists of two video projections and a table “adorned” with diagrams, on top of which is situated a model of the National Government Palace with burned gates. The first video shows television footage of the incident on November 8, 2014. On the opposite side of the gallery a second video projection shows a group of restorers at work on the facade of the National Government Palace.

Compra-Venta / Cavar-Fosa

Every archaeological method can be reduced to the banal action of digging a hole. But the act of digging a hole is not archaeological per se. Both Mexico City as well as Tenochtitlan were built on the premise of covering existing structures with stones in order to create a new physical and symbolic structure embodying the social, political, and cultural values of the “new” rulers. Over time, it is necessary to uncover again what was once buried in order to rewrite history.

Compra-Venta / Cavar-Fosa is a sound intervention in the form of a wagon for selling scrap metal, where the typical announcing of objects offered for sale is substituted by a listing of historical or forensic reconstruction techniques. The voice speaks methodically about the digging and excavating of “objects,” which is the basis for current materialistic culture and represents the most effective way of generating myths.

See also:

Publication ARTMargins (MIT Press)

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.

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.



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.


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.”

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.



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

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 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.