1:1 | system-cinema: ecstasy & exercise
1:1 | system-cinema: ecstasy & exercise
system-cinema: ecstasy & exercise
A closed-circuit video camera system captures images from the exhibition room at the gallery Jaqueline Martins and from a private dwelling in its surroundings, transmitting them in real time from one place to another. The framing of the cameras do not show the totality of these places, instead they do a close-up on a group of objects, which is duplicated and placed in both of the spaces. Each of the sets consists of an item in silicone, a series of printed writings and a notepad where new elements can be transcribed. Both the users of the domestic space and of the gallery are invited to exercise themselves from the handling of these objects, an action that is filmed and transmitted between spaces. The video images are periodically recorded and archived for later use in other videographic forms. After residing for a period of time in one domestic space,the set of objects outside of the gallery is taken to another dwelling, and soon, making this system sequentially connect the exhibition space to a series of dwellings in the neighborhood.[i]
The system-nomad enters the various domestic rites and rhythms. Its arrival is negotiated, anticipated and authorized by its hosts, under the condition of a temporary stay. The system-guest is accompanied by the live images of its "double," located in the gallery, and transmits a fragment of the domestic space-time to the exhibition space. The presence of this system-double is both corporeal and chimerical, underlining the interchangeability between inside and outside, between transient and fixed, and between belonging and aloofness. Such dualities, inherent to the very condition of the guest, contaminate the intimacy and interiority of the private sphere, creating a breach in the membrane that separates it from the outside. Even at the mercy of its host's rules, the guest’s presence automatically institutes another temporary system within the pre-defined mechanisms, triggering a reaction-reorganization of the frame that hosts it. The system-guest, established between the gallery and the residence, encourages and welcomes the participation of the users in its workings, becoming the host of an interaction between its objects and the different subjects that manipulate them. The handling of the pieces, when filmed and transmitted between both places, concurrently becomes a performative and a voyeuristic act. On the one hand, it is an action performed to a distant receiver/audience, on the other hand, it is the contemplation and testimony of the activity that is being executed at a distance.
The static shots of the videos show the pressing, stroking and gripping of the hands over the protrusions and recesses of the silicone piece. The shapes of the object do not refer directly to anything known but are strangely familiar and close to the body. Its design does not follow ergonomic rules which would aim to raise the efficiency levels of its handling or to optimize the accomplishment of a certain task. Its “anti-ergonomics” and tactile materiality seeks to establish a familiarity with the touch, stimulating the manual interaction and the corporal apprehension of the object’s silhouettes. In the videos, the rhythm, the strength and the expressiveness of the hands, while handling this "in-utensil,"[ii] produce a narrative that is thickened by the written fragments located around the object. The printed words and expressions are continuously reorganized and recombined by the users of this system, and generate, at each new configuration, different messages and other syntaxes. The object and the words not only incite participatory circumstances but also the production of a thought about this process, which the "participator"[iii] can express through his own calligraphy on the notepad included in the set of objects. In the captured images, the relationship and negotiation between the protrusions and recesses of the silicon forms, of the handwriting, of the printed words and of the hands’ physiognomy, create a silent dialogue, a modality of interlocution where there is no predominance of a true single language and where any meaning is relative and provisional.[iv] In the absence of action, the video cameras witness the inert objects, still-lifes that manifest the messages left by the gesture and the body as discursive tools.
The system is a generator and disseminator of communicative processes. The invitation to manipulate the items and the words is also an invitation for conversation. Dialogue. Soliloquy. The geometry of language structures the corporeal existence of the "I" and articulates its relation to the "other." Touch is one of the most effective forms of nonverbal communication in the transmission of a message and is also one of the most effective ways to create a bond between individuals.[v] Feeling the bodily topographies of the silicone piece brings the individual into his own body, while also connecting it indirectly to the body of the "other," which manipulates the replicated object at a distance. The piece is simultaneously a vehicle through which one has a concrete bodily experience and a symbolic extension of the subject towards the experience of the "other." System-prosthesis. The shapes of the silicone object attribute a specific quality to the nature of its manipulation, which refer to the different modalities of intimate touch. This type of physical contact, considered private and personal, circumvents the logical and educable part of the mind and enters the primitive brain, the place of instinct, memory and desire. The intimate touch is the pinnacle of individuality and subjectivity, represents the closeness to oneself, self-discovery, the “I” that opens outwards, the understanding of the other and of otherness. But at the height of its non-transferability, intimate touch is also something profoundly collective, transversal to all, as a common, fleshly, denominator, that unifies and levels all. Universal language. Ecstasy.
The domestic space is the place that generates and preserves intimacy, allowing the maximum expression of individuality and subjectivity.[vi] It is also a device through which collective values and behaviors, which are above individuals, are implemented, unifying and leveling them. Habits and hierarchies produced in the micro-scale of domestic everyday life[vii] reverberate in the macro-scale of the socio-spatial dynamics. Conversely, "official" discourses convey the notions of "domestic" and "home" to political, economic, and ideological purposes.[viii] Today, the "home" is increasingly a permeable structure, which receives and transmits images, sounds and data, within a virtual relational network where the boundaries between the domestic and the public, and between individual and collective, distend and dissolve. The "intimatesphere" becomes a spectacle, a currency for exchange and an object of political management, carried out through techno-capitalism, biotechnologies, global media, social networks, and the citizens themselves. The res publica dodges away from the public and enters the intimate-domestic; it becomes omnipresent and dissipates. The exponential expectation of intersubjectivity and interactivity creates colliding nexuses between participation and voyeurism, between attachment and disconnection, between individuality and impersonality, and between the"I" and the "other." For the ocularcentric and vigilant society the camera is the prosthesis of the eye. In an amnesic society, the recording is the prosthesis of memory. Fast-Forward. Friction-Fiction. Introjection-Projection. Replay. The History in loop.
Bruno de Almeida
[i] The work presented in the 3rd edition of the project 1:1 is part of the "System-Cinema" series that the artist Ricardo Basbaum has been developing since 2001. This series consists of establishing a procedure for capturing, transmitting and recording images in real time, in conjunction with the construction of installations, interventions and objects that respond to the specificities of a given context.
[ii] LEMINSKI, Paulo, “A Arte e Outros Inutensílios” ("Art and OtherIn-utensiles”) in Folha de S. Paulo, caderno Ilustrada, p. 92, 18/10/1986
[iii] Term-concept created by Hélio Oiticica to refer to the viewer as part of the artwork
[iv] BASBAUM, Ricardo, “Conversations” (co-authored with Bojana Piškur) in Manual do Artista-etc, AzougueEditorial, Rio de Janeiro, 2013, p.203
[v] Although touch, as a physical act, is not an emotional event, the sensory stimuli carried from the skin to the brain provoke neural, glandular, muscular, and mental changes, which we call emotions. The amount of touching between individuals increases as a relationship becomes more personal.
[vi] The house, the basic cell of the organization of human space, is a space that goes beyond the basic needs of man, being understood by several authors as a reflection of memories, conflicts, desires and existential achievements. See, for example: "Building, Dwelling, Thinking" (1951) by Martin Heidegger or "The Poetics of Space" (1957) by Gaston Bachelard.
[vii] Such as the organization of work, the naturalization of repetition and routine, the binary and hierarchical construction of genres, the instrumentalization of sexuality, among others.
[viii] The relation between the "house" and the socio-political structure finds a specificity within the Brazilian context where there is historically a constant blurring between the public and private spheres. From early on, the house occupied a central place in the socio-spatial dynamics of the newly founded "nation," as Frei Vicente do Salvador in 1627 describes: "(...) things are shifted on this land, because all of it is not a republic, while each house being one." Gilberto Freyre, in 1933, emphasizes the importance of the house in the Brazilian socio-cultural formation, arguing that the architecture of the colonial "big house" expresses Brazil's patriarchal mode of social and political organization. Roberto Da Matta, in 1977, explains Brazilian society through the reciprocity between the"street" and the "house". Sometimes the "house", the place of maximum intimacy, encompasses and totalizes society, sometimes the"street", the place of impersonality, encompasses the private life. These factors are the cause and effect of a patrimonial society.