Review : INTER-SCAPE, Mnemonic City
Review: INTER-SCAPE, Mnemonic City at Building Bloqs, 2013 London
By Sebastian E Wanguard
I am a spectator. I was invited to a show. The group behind this show does not create spectacles. But there was something spectacular about it all…as I recall my journey. Where does this word come from? We wear spectacles to compensate for poor vision. We could say the performances and displays that took place within the event afforded a deeper vision into the mind of each participant but more so into a situation. This situation is not only a location, not only a point of reference but the lack of it. It is an open field …literally and metaphorically, it is an interior space, also literally and metaphorically. The situation situates us the onlooker inside the mind of time –space continuum. The memory builds up with each step we take across a body, as we piece the parts together. This body is human. But it is fragmented until we give it form. And this is operated through the intervention of each art state that intersects our trajectory. The event slowly builds itself into a series of experiences each reflecting a state of being, and with each moment in arrest, an image turns into a feeling, a sound turns into a colour, a colour turns into a word…This is what I mean by spectacular. What we were given is the time to forget time.
We were met by two guides outside Tottenham Hale station. They took us to the canal toe path. We walked without worrying about how long it would take to reach our destination. From this point on, we could not be late for anything. After all the guides were there to lead us to the right place in good time. Because each performance would only begin once we were watching.
We walk by the canal. This is not an insignificant factor. First of all we constitute a group and the guides intermix with us. They film the surrounding area, the spectators, the objects we come across, and the performers who have somehow merged with their host…the space they have chosen to inter-relate with in a state of active and open research. We could almost say this is a field trip and it would be true in both sense of the term. We can talk of grass root, hands on approach. The ‘tour’ is not really associated with fine art. We regard it as recreational and excursionial. In the nineteenth century, romantic students, poets, novelists and painters embarked on the grand tour, a journey of cultural and artistic discoveries spread across the Mediterranean, mostly consisting of the Hellenistic period. Our itinerary however would be the equivalent of time travelling rather than history trekking. Instead of imagining it as it was or might have been, we see it and sense it as it is. We are in the middle of it as it happens. We are led to the occult manifestation of a moment through a singular mind’s eye.
This man, Amos Shein we gaze at sits in total repose, his back to the waters. He appears as if lifted from an ancient forgotten world. No one knows why or what it means. It is a scene. A yogi meditates on the edge of a river. We are not here. He is. But we wish to arrest our attention, we suspend disbelief and motion to remove ourselves from a forest of pre-conceptions.
There is a rustling in the trees. A leg hangs , a hand opens and closes among the leaves, an eye peers through. A woman, Sofia Figueiredo (River) looks through a frame that hangs from a branch. She climbs up the tree and begins her suspension dance above the water. She uses a white sheet as a rope and a support, a resting place,a hiding place, she hovers between earth and sky.
The land is flat and wide and buildings soar out of the plain with a kind of tranquil aggressiveness. Figures, Alexandra Baybutt & Mark Carberry, with Lindsey Dayavati Best and Wendy Windle (Drifting, Grassland ) grow out of this depth. We are not certain they are human or how they got there. They are entirely oblivious to us, like the trees, weed, and structures. They also seem separated from one another by another kind of space, an ambiance filled with absence. We could imagine them as druids, lifting their arms to the sky, praying to the earth, listening to the flowers. This is a ritual, yet, we do not remember its origin and the performers emulate an ancestral history that no word ever spoke. White hands and feet have been painted by Carlos Moi on the path echoed by the line on which a black foot print has been made by Bruno Jamaica. Humans often depict our species through these attributes, as in the caves of Altamira where hands have been imprinted in the positive and the negative alongside animals. For these paintings may not have been there to invoke preys, good luck, the rising of the sun. They were quasi living symbols of divinity understood in their chthonic aspect. The human sense of natures ‘s power permeates these images which resonate with spontaneity and reverence. Is there a will within us now to catch this “elan creatif” without wish to attach a name to it? These image makers were artists although this may be the wrong word if it entails any form of artifice, and Joseph Beuys would probably agree, these proto-artists were in fact shamans.
A shape languishes on the path, Dagmara Bilon(Renactus). A woman dressed in black face down lies there as if left for dead. The crowd gathers just the way it does on a busy street around something unusual, an accident. There is a sudden frenzy. The guides and the audience transform themselves into paparazzi. She slowly rises and walks among us yet apart. Now we are here but she is not…looking for her shadow. She is a shadow lost in an invisible departure lounge.
Already the group disperses, and moves like an amiba. Something strange attracts our attention. A large clock face is held above a promontory by a woman, Andrea Meneses Guerrero. A child climbs on top of it with her help. She plays with the object, she hides her face , her face is a clock, the clock is a moon and a rope is tightened with clothe swinging as if a great wind blew through them. They stand there, the grown human and her young, above the Earth or some imminent deluge, but also inside the elements. An electric pole hovers above them menacingly, birds, perhaps pigeons, break into a mass flight. I recall apocalyptic scenes, The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock, the emptiness of urban slow motion dystopia in Antonioni, and I also wish to crystallize this vision, this pseudo memory in the making. Just before the bridge, a shed is left open, we are ushered in by Jennifer Lewin. ( Noisy Stillness)There in the penumbra, I hear voices slipping out of corners. Some light pierces through. But it feels weirdly warm and almost soporific. We could stay there a while longer in this wooden womb although the shed has just appeared, and would be deconstructed soon after our passage. The words fall out like leaves. They land in unpredictable places. A monologue in the dead of night. It is transient and ephemeral, yet as any form of false permanence, that takes the shape of our habitat, the poetry that may arise therein can be tainted by the morbid obsession for temporal constancy and a kind of salutary objectification. I feel this inherent contradiction, the human sound, then, the suffocating haziness, the artificial warmth, the walls that divide the body and/from the light. On the opposite side, two artists, Momoko Nishizono and Mario Fruilio (Onikakushi) have played with different sameness. the surface of the water has been split by broken mirrors. More mirrors are propped against the wall across the canal. Jean Cocteau turned a mirror into water. Now the water growths mirror skins that float, angular tears shed by Narcissus as he glared from the river bed, one stone among many. A world inside out. The bridge is covered in a mantle of egg shells. Reka Ferenczi (Tread softly because you tread on my dreams). Most have been trodden on , so fragile, so easy to shatter. We hear them, those mini skulls, crack under the swift weight of our soles. Below the bridge, ( white plaster limbs hang from the metal beams or surge from the tarmac. Much later, after entering Building Bloqs where film projections and an exhibition awaited us, we were led by the man in a cloak into the street ( St Antony’s way) to follow the trajectory of a performer.
Rodrigo Cesar (Ferreira) ( A Walk on the Pole) lifts a plank and lies it flat on the ground in a slow methodical manner. As he does so, he stands aside and retraces his steps back to the ‘end’ of the plank opposite the direction of his progress. He steps on the plank that seems to indicate the forward direction of his trajectory. It is not dissimilar to the sewing technique, one forward, half backwards, and round and down and again. But he does not see where he is going , and his back to the point of ‘destination’ gives the impression that he is moving away from elsewhere, not moving closer to anywhere, fate, a blind guess, an allegory of existence and a possible allusion to existentialism.
In the meantime more people have arrived, pouring into the cafe to eat and drink while watching the screenings and the gigs that follow, but also to visit the exhibition room. As above so below. I felt that, as a traveller, I had reached my destination. The works on display gave the rightful impression of a collection of experiences and objects reverberating their first utterance, specimen of phenomenological value. Bill Howard ‘s tv seems abandoned. (Commuting: Dark Heart of the Lea)The vision becomes a distortion of our own journey through this anonymous topography where the river Lea comes under poetic scrutiny. Amos Shein‘ s table nearby appears weighed down by chaos. It clarifies itself as we keep looking, a circuit emerges linking all the found objects, perhaps an allusion to the initiatic journey of the human psyche. The large pendulum built by Rodrigo Ferreira (Creation, Meditation, Transformation) wavers imperceptibly as we brush passed it. A chicken made of scrap rusty metal stands firm. It is cockerel. Mario Pesenti said of it: “ I did not want to draw it, I wanted the metal to draw it for me.” Ines Bonhorst ‘s piece (Immutable) focuses on the paradox through which time and timelessness incoherently fuse with finite and infinite space. This paradox is contained in the human form. It is a key and a key hole at once. The body turns air into an opponent and each gesture becomes a battle with no definite end. The rhythmic violence of the network encircling us is emphasised by the acceleration of the super highway jutting out on each side of the body thus contracting and dilating in slow motion as it senses the monotony of its infrastructural cell. A strip of sky line sketched by Irene Pulgaevokes the low land etchings and drawings of 17th century masters like Vermeer. It is poetic and unencumbered by technical solutions. Yuri Pirondi’s (Quest:Prelude) is a story, almost like a dark fairy tale concentrating on the internal world of a homeless man ( whom Yuri enacts) as he drifts almost aimlessly in and out of the city. One object holds his memories and his imagination in suspension, a snow bubble. Yet, in this bubble we see the world of a decaying epoch, the electric pole, one of thousands that feed our cities and lives with artificial energy. This bubble is a Rosebud of sorts, a talisman too. Yet it also represents an enslavement, a sense of loss. On another ‘foor tv’ Luri Leche‘s (N7 Piece) moving image works like a recurring dream. Torrential water, a human shape, the submerging of a body…It goes on , bluish, blurred, in and out of focus, as if someone desperately attempts to remember, yet, the memory disintegrates as we grasp it, and the water rushes and erases all. Jaimi Valtierra‘s ( sarcastic visual humour slices through etiquette with his visceral poetic acts on canvas. A giant ear protrudes and eves drop like a conspicuous fly on the wall.
Of course there were other artists including Julian Thomasset, Rupert Jaeger, Pascal Ancel Bartholdi, David Richter, Vera Karlsson, Monkey Jar, Mauricio Velasierra, Michael Baur, Petr Davydtchenko, Eugenia Mossa, Ioanna Theodorakou...who all contributed to create a unique artistic experience and will continue to open and maintain a common and personal space of activated imagination.
That’s the Facebook event:
Cinema Afternoon Facebook Event
Amos Shein / Mario Presenti
Bruno Jamaica / Reka Ferencki
Bill Howard / Carlos Mol
Bejamin Minot / Ioanna Theodorakou
Charlie Vallely / Rodrigo Cesar
Dagmara Bilon / Jennifer Lewin
Dila V & the Odd Beats
Ines von Bonhorst
Irene Pulga / Eugenia Mossa
Lucia Tong / Sofia Figueiredo
Mario Frulio / Momoko Nishizono
Mark Carberry / Alexandra Baybutt
Pascal Ancel Bartholdi
Vera karlsson / Petr Davydtchenko
Rebecca Fox / JoWonder