Paratext #37 by Marzia Matarese

Paratext #37
July 24, 2019
By Marzia Matarese

Jeanine Verloop (Summer Sessions 2019 exchange grant)
Julia Spínola (International residency)
Lara Fluxà (Long term residency)
Sandrine Deumier (Casa de Velázquez – Hangar Exchange Grant)

The last Paratext before the summer break, the last act before the Polivalentes and the summer drift. We concentrate again in the Ricson room, this black cube of ours that, when light turns off, becomes a space of possibility, where many places are given way in one, a tesseract1 of visceral and “rare” experimentations. The one that has once been affectionately nicknamed “the largest dark-room in southern Europe”.

With lights off we can glimpse different set-ups in the gloom distributed throughout the space. This time it seems that we are going to attend the encounter between the survivors of a collapsing, drifting, disintegrating and vertically falling civilization. As well as their forms of resistance: through recovered memory and the gaze of others, the subversion of the fragment, love in times of ecological devastation, the fragile and cutting force of contact, the sacrifice of the bodily…

A spotlight is lit, we witness a first materialization in the western sector of this multiverse.

First contact – Jeanine Verloop (exchange residence between Hangar and V2_Lab)

A shiny, transparent exoskeleton waits quietly, resting on a table, perhaps a remote activation. Fragile fingers of quick touch remain immovable in a retracted and uncertain position. A voice resounds from an intercom loudspeaker:

– Imagine that you have never seen a human being before.

The alien perspective infiltrates among those present, gently laying on us its bluish prisms.

– Their devices look all the same. Shouldn’t there be more imagination surrounding them?

A laser cuts a writing device. Laser eyes outline grey hands that approach a body (of human appearance) and reconstruct it. Hands hesitating, trying to follow confusing designs: files decrypted by archaeologists of the future, collected on hard disks of transparent methacrylate.

Next to them, piles of prototypes accumulate. There are so many that could fill an entire hangar: what remains of a re-design process of a partially registered anatomy; incomplete renderings refined with alien dreams.

– Each arm has an independent motor. They have to organize and coordinate.

An assembly of arms, a council of recovered intentions and desires.

– Technological progress incentivate the psycosis around the authonomy of it from your body.

A holographic image is projected a few meters away from the operating table: a young Gutenberg with his back turned assembles in the semi-shade a mobile ouija in an attempt to talk with God. On the floor, sketches made by previous machines recreating abstact paintings, approximations to recovered collections.

Once again the darkness falls, screen jump.

Second contact – Júlia Spínola (national and international residence in the cabin)

A flow of light halfly floods a white leaf. FRAGMENTS gather around an assembly of voices. The idea of red. How are ideas formed? Do fragments think? MULTITUDE. Details occupy at the same time the stain. There are no models of representation for the visualization experience. An external memory that captures and deletes sequences of objects is listening. A voice declares:

– the possibility to delete allows to see all the objects in all their parts.

Visualization errors occur in the memory. Bodies and shadows are squeezed into a compulsive taking of images until they disintegrate in a complex and obtuse way. Again, a voice emerges:

– the ARTIFICIAL OBVIOUS is difficult to see, I am bony and dense; I see what I expect. You have to learn to observe unscrupulously!

The debate opens. Technologies of the gaze: phármakon, colour, drugs, writing… A thought imposes itself, suddenly, interfering in the dialectical battle:

– Don’t blink!

Training the length of appearance: FLASH VISION. Grease the interaction between objects, the light and the visual apparatus. A false sun is dazzled and provokes an uncontrollable evolution of forms. The speed of the sun generates VISUAL METASTASIS. The ocular bulbs are entertained waiting to capture a variation, a signal that confirms that the image is still alive, that it exists in its duration and durability, that it does not disappear in a flash of which we do not conserve memory.

The space contracts and unfolds in a toolbar: visual decomposition technologies. Another FLASH of light, everything vanishes. Screen in black, wait, fear.

The hands are operating again, now as tenacious workers of the image. In their production process they break, dirty, accumulate, knead the remains. They do and undo. They delete, they make mistakes, they throw the slag from this process into the pile of waste that continues to accumulate in the hangar.

FLASH. The image tries to rebel, resists forced manipulation, goes on hunger strike, freezes. The faithful tool puts it back on the operating table. It is dissected until, in an act of last resistance, the molecules of the image react generating a new metastasis.

– I don’t care what I am.

she says. And in a last act of revenge:

– since I don’t have to decide who I am.

Fade to black.

Third contact – Lara Fluxà (long-term residence)

Again a voice, this time lent by a friend. A stubborn fire accompanies her, accompanies us, lets itself be surrounded. It tells us:

– You have to get your hands dirty.

With affectionate touches, expert hands capture the fragile, shy and transparent matter: glass, crisp mineral, silent witness. Pieces of glass under the nails. Her nails, but also ours, in an exercise of collective catharsis.

We immerse ourselves in the story: DELU. The breath of the fire shapes the altered crystal, of an incandescent red. A camera, silently, spies.

The material also has some voice, it expresses its joy in those hands that took years to know it.

– Just because it’s you! I let myself be captured just because the touch is yours.

The story invades us like a song heard during adolescence, it smells of domesticated memories. Between the unfolding of the story, the movement of the hands insinuates:

– Consciousness makes you ask about limits.

What’s outside the camera’s field of vision?

– Fear is learned.

Waste from a factory is dumped into the sea. Someone justifies themselves by appealing to the memory of water: it knows what to do. The Black Sea is the rebellion that takes Delu and the Mineral, engulfs them, takes them with force towards the past, together with the rubble of their timid existences. These coagulate with animal blood, giving shape to viscous limbs. Madness, lies and domestication are concentrated around the island. The environmental consequences are not easily seen, covered by the technologies of progress and money. From the deepest, a stain waits, ironically looking at the irreversibility of the process. The viscous extremities mutate, they become fragile, subtle and fine, to cross the stain. Delu and the Mineral are decoded in the deception of a pure love, of youth.

The exoskeleton reappears, transforms, is disfigured to continue dreaming, the memory of a happiness that is no longer. The fragile body also becomes a tool, it shields the eyes to protect them from the too strong glimpse of a process in constant acceleration. The fragile body becomes inert, metallic, mineral, left to harden by fire: an armor.

A few sparks bounce off the walls: dim light and darkness again.

Fourth contact – Sandrine Deumier (Residence of exchange between Hangar and the Casa de Velázquez)

The voice and the fire leave the room together to go out for a smoke. They leave behind an audience in the shade, waiting in silence. This time their gazes are directed towards the northern sector of the Ricson hall, fixed on another vision device: the OCULUS, illuminated by a white light bulb.

A blink of an eye. A few seconds or perhaps years have passed. ElectedX gets up from their seat, goes slowly towards the stage and puts on the mask of vision. An opportunity that only one achieves: the possibility of overcoming the barrier of the body, privileged access to another layer of the multiverse.

Today was lottery day. ElectedX was the lucky winner of a private tour in the world of the after: luxury neighborhoods for the elite of the future. There resides a new generation of humanoids who managed to escape from the prototypes stored in the hangar, emancipating themselves from the material limits of flesh. A white space of bodies in constant transformation.

A shiver shakes the stalls. The suspicion of a possible margin of error in this journey, since those of the world before us still have bodies and glasses cannot neutralize the responsibility of matter. Perhaps it is safer to sit here and watch the live broadcast on the mobile app – thinks ObserverX1, a cathartic tool provided by the engineers of the after.

Behind the prisms, ethereal, smooth and shiny beings fall like flies. It seems that the contact with ElectedX’s body has provoked an uncontrollable epidemic. Perhaps in the utopia of the after there were no antibodies for the desires of the before, its vices deeply rooted in the flesh, in what is corrupted, palpitates: boiling organs.

FALLING. Ethereal beings begin to fall and dismember. Their forms create a descending vortex incorporating everything they find around them: animals, objects, code. They blur to form new transhumanoid constructs, in collision with virtual space. The collapse reflects the perfection of their remains. Noble rubble surrounds ElectedX, it tries to engulf them in order to satisfy the unexpected desire awakened by the collapse.

Even so, ElectedX’s body resists, hesitates for a second, but it is impossible for them to separate themselves from matter. They look around in the temptation of getting lost in the vortex, they want to let themselves be touched, fused with it, mixed in the collective movement. The responsibility of matter does not allow them to forget themselves, their specific weight. They are separated from the collapsing environment, forced to be a silent witness, an impotent observer of this silent catastrophe, whose memory will be partially erased from their mind, in a flash, when they take off their glasses.

The other spectators look at the virtual cataclysm through the screen, spying on the irruption of the body into the world of later, its collapse. Until the screen turns blank.

The light turns on and the white floods everything. We are expelled from the multiverse Ricson, back to our homes, until the breach is reopened. Until the next Paratext.

1A tesseract (or hypercube) is defined as a cube out of phase in time, that is, each instant of time by which it moved but all of them together.


Categories: Paratext report |

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