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  • Mawat

    Una ley de colonización agraria del Imperio turco-otomano designó con el nombre de mawat a los terrenos desocupados dentro de sus fronteras. Para demarcarlos, la ley proporcionaba un criterio sonoro: una zona pasaba a ser mawat si los sonidos y las voces de la población más cercana dejaban de ser audibles. Mawat –muerte, en árabe– devino de este modo la característica administrativa de las tierras sin voz.

    En la instalación, una retícula de ventiladores pone en circulación el aire de la sala. De forma periódica, el movimiento se detiene y la superficie pasa a funcionar como una estructura resonante. Viejas melodías del cancionero agrícola castellano llenan el espacio durante esos intervalos.

    Al igual que en el caso otomano, la transformación del paisaje llevada a cabo por el Instituto Nacional de la Colonización estuvo basada también en la identificación y renovación de terrenos improductivos. Significativamente, uno de los aspectos llamativos de esta renovación es que muchos de los nuevos poblados nacieron sin cementerio. En Mawat, este detalle es recogido por una secuencia de imágenes alrededor de la pieza central. Ausencia, movimiento y retorno caracterizan un espacio marcadamente espectral. El sonido, en Mawat, abre la superficie y apunta a un suelo: el silencio material de la memoria.

    Mawat takes the name of a law enacted by the Ottoman Empire on the occasion of an agrarian colonisation programme in the last quarter of the 19th century (Weizman, 2015, p.39). It is the name given to those barren lands prone to be expropriated by the government. In order to demarcate them, the rule provided a criterion based on sound: a zone was mawat if it was not in production and the sounds and voices of the nearest towns were no more audible. Mawat — meaning literally “dead” — became this way the administrative characteristic of the lands without voice.

    In the installation, a grid of fan sets in circulation the air in the exhibition space. Periodically, the movement stops and the surface starts to work as a resonant structure . Old songs linked to agricultural practices fill the space during these moments.

    As in the Ottoman case, the transformation of the landscape carried out by the National Institute of Colonisation was based too on the identification and renovation of unproductive lands. Significantly, many of the settler towns created during this program were built without graveyard. In Mawat, this notable detail is addressed in a sequence of images around the central piece. Absence, movement and reappearance characterise the spectral space of the installation. Instead of the strong visual nature of the colonising programme, the air is brought to the foreground, and with it, the blurred space where wind and voice coincide, undifferentiated, and in continuous flux.

  • Marching Ants, Marching in Rows

    Marching Ants, Marching in Rows is a process that addresses materially the screen in terms of surface. In between a media archaeological approach and a DIY type of diagram, it is an elaboration of a software entity that is present in every image editing application: the marching ants effect or the marquee selection. That is, the animated border of dashed lines where the dashes seem to move slowly sideways and up and down. Which is, as we know, the visible sign of a potentially immediate transformation within the surface of the screened image.

    The mechanism that creates the movement of the dashed lines is displayed here as a process of stacking separate layers. It is an operation on the screen, a play on the surface where materiality is not brought as a question of materials, but in terms instead of material relations. In this layering of surfaces, the movement of the marquee lines emerges. “After all”, in Giuliana Bruno’s words, “a surface condition creates sensitivity to the skin of things”. The interaction of a stone, a paper mask and a screen “emphasize the actual fabrics of the visual: the surface condition, the textural manifestation“.

    Devised as a physical diagram of a diy practice, Marching Ants, Marching in Rows recalls the notion of a “spectator-maker” suggested by Lygia Clark when writing about her piece Caminhando (Walking). There she cut repeatedly a moebius strip of paper, inviting others to do the same. In that performance, as in this material diagram, the role played by scissors, hand and the surface encounter of paper and stone is transformative. It is through techniques that their immanent forces perform and start to be sensed by us.

    Special thanks to Maria Andueza.

  • Artist in Residence - Canal+ Skyline

    Broadcast timetable: http://www.plus.es/programacion/skyline/E915437/

    As an artist in residence in the experimental program Canal+ Lab I created a real time visualization to be shown as the continuity signal of its cultural channel, Canal+ Xtra. The result, Skyline, is still showing to viewers what is happening at the online site of the national broadcasting television, plus.es, as well as the user interaction with the site in real time. A new concept in continuity, a screensaver with a life of its own.

    It was featured with a Bronze Laus 2011 international prize from the ADG-FAD design association.