Among masks and furs *

Forwarding: de-materialised postcards against memory objects                    /                    Visibility processes

“In a small, windowless room at the back of the store, he opened a cardboard
box and pulled out twelve identical photo albums. This was his life's work, he
said, and it didn't take him more than five minutes a day to do it. Every morning
for the past twelve years, he had stood on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and
Clinton Street at precisely seven o'clock and had taken a single color
photograph of precisely the same view. The project now ran to more than four
thousand photographs”.                  

Paul Auster. Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story

This Paul Auster story is about an individual who, for twelve years, has repeatedly taken photographs of a place in Brooklyn from the same point and at the same time every day. Here, one can see how an effort is made to make visible things that usually escape observation by those who live in the city just because they are ordinary and routine. The story is an essay on visibility that begins with the will and aim of moving away from the convention of remembrance and that is established by the repeated and indiscriminate accumulation of the same image. The image is seldom modified in a series and finally turns into a sequence of photographs of a life film. Only the further view of the whole and the contrast between some of the situations that appear in the album permit the random, unnecessary rescue of those that are established as singular episodes of a life that is connected with the observer.

In the same way, in the action GC has started, which is as narrative as Paul Auster’s, there is obviously an intention that originates in the creative process itself and turns into a means for unveiling our most daily scenarios without proposing any kind of predictable result beforehand. Creation comes from the intentional accumulation of data that have different nature and extent, from places and architectural manifestations to skins and textures, which are barely distinguishable from each other. The maladjustment and disassembling of a reality that can hardly be redirected to its original state are manifest.

The differentiation that we establish between these two stories lies in the different value that scenes and agents are given in each of them. In the first story daily life had an influence in all the characters that accompanied the unmoveable scene in every moment. It drew a direct relationship between surrounding and individual, until the latter became the reference that marked the singularity of the image. On the contrary, in GC’s story it is the appearance of the physical medium -which bestows its own material make-up on it-t hat becomes a device to show the difference and make room for some characters that have randomly disappeared or have been intentionally disposed of. Consequently, in their potential incorporation into this world, individuals carry out their own interpretation of it to reach the new atmospheric ambience of the places.

Thus, in a de-constructive process that disintegrates the captured image into a thousand strata and exfoliates it until it stops being consistent as an object by itself, a new via of meaning is attempted for the photographing of our cities and surroundings. The final photographic version takes on a new role as one more element in a renewed physical medium. This is a narrating technique where meaning and medium join to present urban scenes. Among words and voices, the blank spaces and silences are made available, as part of the experience, to the individual or community that might come to inhabit them.

Here, each proposed image -each construction- turns into a means of transport to carry the observer toward the perception of something bigger that overcomes it as singularity. The images are an element of delay and transit towards the figuration of that which is important as a whole: the perception of a city that is offered as a suggestion to achieve each person’s own city. There is the possibility of recovering a present-day space and time of habitability that are based on that which is closest and most singular albeit taken to its utmost contemporaneity and extension. In the process, tradition and memory merge and vanish. At the most, they are hinted at. Instead, an ever-changing, up-datable geography appears in a series of images that are gathered together under the name ALCACOGRHUJAMASE, or under any city name one can imagine.

José Ramón Moreno Pérez
Félix de la Iglesia Salgado


* Fragment of the text published in the book Ciudad Imaginario (Cajasol. Sevilla 2008)