The air in between

For Sir Crispy, Sally-tintulú, Mi-colú, Yiud, Siouxsie, Toto, Berni-bernini, and Chimini
Guillermo Santamarina
Así es, ahora es ahora
2010
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The text begins as the recovery of thought. Thought moves through time at a hostile velocity. Nonetheless, this text beckons it to fulfill its role; why invoke it otherwise? Behind this racy attempt to grasp the flux of ideas—are they not unreachable?—work tries to keep a steady pace by means of some digital file, with its presumed efficiency, or at least through some material file, based on what little the gaze manages to focus or that which penetrates the ear.

The text also deals in degrees of hostility. It is not always yielding (much resembling mercury in this sense), nor does it loosen with atomizer for the infected throat. The mouth is, paradoxically, the loosest channel, whereby the largest amounts of excretions fall from. The ear, therefore, is the depository of much waste. And reason, a pipeline…the plumber is, then, a capricious friend.

The text is not art; it is an exploration into a definite terrain to plant a word and, if possible, another. Words linger like tombstones in a graveyard, where, fortunately, the worms return for birds to seize, and the marble finally cracks, revealing the course of its grains, thus reviving, for the engaging gaze, the impulse of art.

In the stone that frames the silence of the dead and the work of these insignificant creatures, thereby lies thought, linked to this urgent phenomenon we recognize as consciousness, carrying through the lines of blatant certainty, signals of a sublime organic condition and their workings, as proof of the fluxes that nurtured and threatened its nature.

Nature in and of itself is sufficient. Thought seems not to be; though I am not sure. Functional thought is not a natural operation. It is not solely founded on instinct, even though this determines the hues it takes on. And I, with all these pores and freckles, large ears, and eyes that keep losing focus—such a dreadful annoyance—keep pressing for the conviction—as proposed by so many examples of vital inspiration (which I am not inclined to mention by name for now)—, that all the forms of work which occupy the time of many thinking beings, help each other land, so as to avoid falling into their own precipices—with poetic breath.

The text blushes due to the ingenious audacity it bears in attempting to control vital energy. It forgets for a moment that intelligence is vigorously hostile when noticing things to be entangled with realities yet beyond us; as through our ridiculously singular negotiations for a reliable basis of thought, with all that this incorporates.

And I now say I have been subdued yet again, in attempting to support a route traced on marble; a stone green as green as I…or aren’t I already rather rotten?

I read through the introductory ideas by which in 1935 Carlo Belli tries to make sense of a hopeful expansion of art (“Kn”). I cannot help remembering just how fragile we are, and, wondering why I’ve not yet taken my medicine, I become anguished at the briefest glimpse of an ocean composed of the fundamentals that consequently reach out for that, while maintaining deference for the obscure maneuvers of Volcano the Bear—not just any task, mister. And, all this as—I will no longer say, despite of-- I simulate myself a platform of comprehension worthy of the experience of gazing upon and listening to the triptych (Solar, 2009; Macapule, 2009; Xiriah, 2010) by Luis Felipe Ortega and Israel Martínez.

“The rights of art—Belli asserts—begin where those of nature end.” I try to recognize the frontier he so elegantly proposes, without necessarily passing onto the other pronouncements that configure his cannon. I suppose that further ahead, when I can restitute a sense of dimension, I will be able to place it because I have remained observant for quite some time to the coats and veins that run through the three works brought about by the association of these two artists. An observation, by the way, that demands returning to its surfaces several times, so that in each occasion I feel the weight of the images have captured of the untamable indomita nature or of human activity—maybe poetic, maybe banal. And, no, I do not manage to find the limits of an energy facing the other sum of matters.

“Observant of order, we have a profound respect for one and the others.” I distrust this panorama and precipitate to intervene it: observant—in singular—of the orders I intend respect for the inevitable synergy that flows from them and myself…my vision recovers interior moments from a whole the photographs of the powerful environment, the sonorous electric stretch marks, and the at least three different physical-intellectual devices have compressed in my mental time and space.

Then also I recall that I am not always willing to submerge deeply regarding phenomena that vibrate and circulate through the trans-urban reality, the hostility of which I rather not notice anymore.

Belli continues in his Homenaje a la Naturaleza (Homage to Nature): “the art that invades the natural world is no more than a manifestation of an organized poltroonery that aspires to a parasitic life. It is a reaction against that spirit which imposes work upon the brain; an abandonment of duty.” Oh, ok, he must be ranting about those seamless landscapes placed in living rooms to adorn a reality packed with things that are only there to be used or merely to avoid being drowned by a current no drainage could possibly contain.

But, how will we safeguard the victims of an irremediable circumstance so deeply associated with parasitic life? Or, how, at very least, can one hue the everyday and hostile manifestations of poltroonery that we too, involuntarily or voluntarily through necessity, organize and perpetuate? (I, for one, hate cars; I find them rather hostile…).

In Solar, people appear, enacting something —maybe an important task. It happens in a desolate context, the dunes nearby an admirable flow of water, or in the bottom part of a cosmic disturbance, and in the ground there is something signifying a difference. Or also, in the working hours of a manufacturing environment, focused on the industrialization of strings, that could very well ascribe meaning to the concept of duty or to the maintenance of those artifices that sustain livelihood.

At the same time, from what the sonorous aspect of the link unfolds, inflections seem to surge on those questions that refer us again to our instable singular identity (by the energy of our own melancholic disposition), meanwhile triggering dispersions our memory has naturally kept away and now projects again. This other source, this sum of noises, flows, momentarily coinciding with the panorama; it clouds it, and then continues on its course, its beading, its work, its destination of silence.

Moving on to Belli’s next affirmation that claims, “nature becomes, then, the comfortable hook upon which art is hung,” I can only believe that this condition will also be—from another perspective, paradoxically—that which further clouds the supposed continental divide between nature and art, together with its alleged rights, and that maybe in such a contradiction the justice of a fused circumstance appears; a justice not despicable for its modernism, nor necessarily degrading for either of these entities found to join in consciousness, and formulated as compromises that the artist can assume, if so inclined.

Mister Belli, nonetheless, categorically manifested his willingness not to confuse: “We want to liberate nature of such servility by freeing art from nature.” A mission truly…monumental!, that, by the way, achieved little success, not even in the heroic episodes of the conquest of architecture and engineering, and less so in the tragic advances of the subordination of freedom, firm in so many armed confrontations, or in the efficient procedures of functional ignorance that mediated culture imposes on us.

It is useless to doubt whether or not art has been related to such aspects of the proliferating contemporary urban panorama. Belli’s project remains at but an incipient degree of what will inevitably happen to art. It would—as today—take part of the aesthetic evolution integrated to models of design, technological characters, or in the infinite extensions of the tradition of progress and critique all at once. Precisely in the operation-redemption of these entrapments of nature, resistances emerge: through artistic work associated to humanism’s new claims, through the defenses or even the contradictions and cynicisms that stem from the expressive will art is founded upon, and even through the possibilities granted to the unordinary conscience of the marginal condition that pragmatism imposes on intelligence, creativity and the inextinguishable romantic fervor.

Belli’s text manifest—I believe—of an oblique urgency ultimately in favor of art, in the end assents: “the nature of art, instead of, the art of nature,” constituted, I suppose, the ecstasy of a human process (configured by its motor and intellectual capacities, ultimately its nature) that would be—and is—the foundation of the urban order, that given the present historical conditions, one cannot, at least, affirm is a disaster.

In Xiriah, the third piece in the triptych by Ortega and Martínez, the subjective gaze “adapts” to the formidable circumstances the nature of the environment imposes (sands of a tender pink which under the shadow of the afternoon are chocolate powder; in the penumbra they are dark entities of a mystic exaltation, as happens with the sea to one side, that by a single tender tone transforms into a tragic cobalt). As the gaze continues to feel less insecure it fixes—trembling—on the forms of a spectral architecture. The sounds that accompany the experience are furtive as can be the marks on the sand that surround the gaze (it is impressionistic, yet akin to the dramatic auguries of Turner, the painter of sea storms, as to compositions by Ligeti, which were, no doubt, also based on the transit of the landscape). There, where the hand and the intelligence of man are found unable to control the splendor of the environment, a daily battle among powers is fought, and at least three other coexistent elements rise adding themselves to such an episode of this conflagration.

The synergy of the art of nature is reciprocal to the evolutions of the nature of art. Art is hostile towards nature; but what of the control nature imposes on art? With this said, this text is finished. I know not if it is art. It may only be my natural obligation to work…and to believe again that to be alive is not bad, with the dogs and the cat that have not left yet, despite so much catastrophe.