Paratext #30 by Irina Mutt

Paratext n#30
24th October 2018

by Irina Mutt

Anna Irinia Russell (short term residence)
Lucía Egaña Rojas (long term residence)
Tere Recarens (Kooshk Residency and Hangar Exchange Grant)

I often start texts justifying why I write them. When you write about a project in a dossier to obtain funds, residencies, options. You frequently start by justifying the project in itself, to provide
explanations as to why it is interesting and merits attention, money.
This text is about Paratext no. 30 with Tere Recarens, Anna Irina Russell and Lucía Egaña at Hangar. I like all three artists; I’m interested in residential projects and I need cash: therefore, I write.

Maybe a text could work like the strategically placed mirrors to reflect sunlight rays and send signals or to direct the light to an orchard. These luminous reflections and signals of which Anna Irina
Russell spoke.
Writing as a system to send signals, flashes that denote a position, but can also signal danger. The lights of a lighthouse, besides guiding, warn of a possible battering against the reef.

Writing could also be a system for finding gaps and filling them. To overflow centers, to weave relationships and encounters. Every text is written by a body: what can bodies do, against what
bodies collide. That also affects writing.
Lucía Egaña used the TED talk format in a DIY version, punkier and more precarious, but also less imposture than official TED talks. Same staging and rhythm as a TED talk, but to speak about holes and gaps, projects that leave you without time, friends who are collaborators, or collaborations that turn into friendship. When projects are situated and positioned, it happens usually: you end up doing them with people you like, with whom you have something in common. Even if they are ephemeral alliances, bound by loose and thin threads.

Tere Recarens’ presentation seemed to be aimed at weaving, textiles, stories or weaving stories into fabrics. Personal and political stories worn like skins, like clothes that explain origins and
defeats. Sometimes something also goes right, the stories also speak of love and bountiful feasts, of happy days and hope. Writing could be skin, contact, what you try to explain and cannot.

In Hangar I am part of the Commission, that is, I participate in many juries. This strange mini-power, of being able to decide who gets money, the studio, the project. Obviously, you learn by looking at artist dossiers and projects. But there’s the part where you say no to someone. Saying no to people you like and even like what they do. Meeting everyone at the opening.
As a counterbalance, we have the other side: applying to announcements, residencies, and scholarships. When a streak of “no” drops. When two, three, four falls in a row. It’s always
embarrassing to say it in public, because no matter how many positive vibes we have, no matter how affectionate we are, solutions we talk about, in art there’s a lot of capacitism. And if you’re annoyed, you lose points. You have to be visible, to do things, to move, to connect, to apply, to try, to risk.
We don’t talk about the blows you take along the way, in any case, they are poetized by quotes from Becket, Derrida, Coca-Cola, or whoever said that fail better. (There are also privileges in failure).

This is an attempt to tune in to other device bodies. To scream, to measure distances, to desire proximity. But also, to leave the blood and scraped skin on the shore, to point out places with
paces to fall; here is danger, here is a hole, here you can fall into it.

In the streak of “no”, many “yes” often overlap. Yes: I collaborate with you on this, yes: I write a text. Sure, we can do an interview, we’ll meet where it suits you, I’ll give you feedback, I’ll sign up, I’ll stop by your expo, I’ll stop by your studio, yeah.

To say yes to everything because you can’t afford to. Whether it’s for money or an emotional bond: yes, to everything.

Starting most emails apologizing for being late sending the email and the message, the message, the invoice, whatever it is you had to send. Apologize for being late, for not coming, for not being able to. Apologizing for not having time, while forgetting to give yourself time.

I don’t intend to drag Anna Irina, Lucia, and Tere’s projects into a narrative about discomfort, failure, or bad breaks combined with lack of time. It has more to do with applying certain strategies that appeared in their work. To do things with help from friends, to learn from experiences and conversations with them, to share dances, parties, and feasts, to go back to them in moments of trepidation and weakness. Doing things which you trust and feel at ease, that in the end, heck, it’s good to be excited about what you do (which does not necessarily imply being consistent and effective). Launching yourself without a parachute, occupying spaces, smashing into them, filling their gaps.

To write during a bad streak, when things are twisted but it is necessary to continue.
To write to exhibit also the shitty moments, to collectivize them and thus stop being afraid of them.
To break down zones of security and power. To crack and break the hardness and rigidity from what is unstable, soft, and fragile.


Categories: Paratext report |

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