…and my questions go to the way in which we will narrate the present time, and what the world will choose… the future cannot be the past… how to be and how to be in the world, how this story continues, how this project goes on…
Edition and soundtrack: Ignacio Laxalde
Texts: Adriana Almada
Photographic postproduction: Julieta Anaut
Projection format: mp4 H264
Dimensions: Full HD 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio: 16.9
Running time: 5:25 mins.
Year: November 2020
Most of the images were filmed in Buenos Aires, the still photos correspond to diverse contexts very different from the one we are living in and belong to my personal archive. However, although they have been decontextualized from their origin, the loneliness and helplessness that our planet registered then continues to be present in them. To these photographs were added the exquisite verses of the poet Adriana Almada.
This video has its correspondence in the book “Suspended Time” Manuela López Anaya Editions, published in November 2020.
In April of this year, as I was about to travel to Europe to fulfill the residency to which I had been invited by the Institute for Advanced Studies of Nantes, with my bags already packed and a booked flight, I saw on the news how European airports were closing and the great isolation that began a few months earlier in Asia, extended to all of Latin America.
Immersed in these new circumstances, I received with joy the email from Camila Perusso, requesting from Nantes a brief text and images illustrating this fragile moment, so that it could be part of the Covid-19 Tour du Monde, a publication featuring intellectuals from various countries published by Manucius Editions, Nantes, France. Tackling a new project is always intense, much more when it is surrounded by the uncertainty of our present times crossed by the pandemic, but we artists are used to reinventing ourselves.
I quickly joined the call and began to search my photographic archives for the images I had taken on my work trips around the world. They are images that correspond to very different contexts from the one we are living today; however, although they have been decontextualized from their origin, the loneliness and helplessness that our planet registered at that time, continues to inhabit them. To these photographs were added the exquisite verses of the poet Adriana Almada. Finally, the whole of this material traveled to Nantes by post for Camilla.
This small publication, which is the result of what I felt in the first months of confinement, is also for me a sample of how art gives us life and keeps us, beyond everything, in action. A few months after the unfulfilled trip, I’m sharing it with you from my studio.
Buenos Aires, September 2020
If at some point in our lives we imagined the end of the world, perhaps we expected it to come sonorously. But in January 2020, something invisible and mute began to spread across the planet, filling us with surprise and silence.
At that time, humanity was discussing global warming, the renewal and affirmation of feminist movements and other vital issues of our contemporaneity, envisioning a future of which we only knew its contours.
Today we look at the intensely blue sky, as we hadn’t enjoyed for years, locked in our houses, serving quarantines of various lengths, depending on the country and the continent. We, within, and nature, taking over the world, quickly occupying its former space.
The canals of Venice, transparent; the sky of Lima, without clouds. The condors descend on the city in Santiago de Chile; the waters of Lake Titicaca, in Bolivia, are blue again. I wonder if the place we inhabit needed a parenthesis.
Something abruptly changed and made all the information turn on the planet, and also on the dead, without imagining that the countries would live a dramatic humanitarian situation. Globalization was present in an intense way. The old CNN effect (the news instantly) did its job: the daily news have their profiles defined and condense the fears and threats of this unusual moment.
While Covid-19 continues to move globally at will, I think that perhaps it is time for certain utopias that fuel a profound transformation on the planet. Although today it is difficult to speak of utopias, of changes in values in this agitated and silent world, a text by the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano returns to my mind that describes in a few words feelings, sensations, needs, fantasies, illusions and questions inherent to the human race:
“Utopia lies at the horizon.
When I draw nearer by two steps,
it retreats two steps.
If I proceed ten steps forward, it
swiftly slips ten steps ahead.
No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.
What, then, is the purpose of utopia?
It is to cause us to advance.”
And my questions go towards the way in which we will narrate the present time and what the world will choose … The future cannot be the past. Lack of ethics can lead to extermination. The Covid has begun to generate a crisis in our civilization. How to be and being in the world? How does this story continue? How does this project continue?
As a visual artist, through my production, I have always been interested in taking a stance towards the world, since art is a way of making worlds. Now I see worlds crossed by history and today, in a destiny that continues to be unsettling.
The post-media era that was announced in art a few years ago, really, was this?
Creation in times of pandemic reinvents itself and sneaks into the unpredictability of everyday life. I think that, at this blind spot in history, perhaps art should return to its vital origins of desire and passion for creation.
I see that artists have quickly been present in this intense episode of humanity, adapting each field of art, shaping and giving visibility to an accompanying message that circulates around the world from social networks. The launching of online independent and institutional artistic programs has allowed us to enter their homes while they continue dancing, singing or creating.
And it is no longer about professionalism, efficiency and security exclusively, since it is known that, in its genesis, art has always managed to manifest itself in the face of dogmas and the rigidity of fundamentals. Today, finally, it is about risk, resistance and adaptation, as art persists, animating life and ordering chaos, even if only for an instant.
This pandemic has reopened important wounds that will take time to heal. Today everything is too fragile and dynamic, and the impact will not affect everyone in the same way. The question of what the future coexistence will be like between us, between countries still floats in the world; if there will be a nationalist regression …
At this moment while confined in my studio, phrases from distant readings come to my mind and a fragment of the novel A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, which particularly caught my attention during my childhood years:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age
of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of
belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was
the winter of despair.
How long will this interregnum last? Who knows?
Buenos Aires, May 12, 2020