Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lisette Lagnado in Seu Corpo da Obra, by Olafur Eliasson

In this beautiful book which documents Eliasson’s exhibition in Sao Paulo Lisette Lagnado looks at the Danish artist’s practice from a South American perspective in her text “What Is it that Makes Space Productive”. She raises many interesting questions such as the power that Eliasson’s work has to captivate the audience, but also to what degree the work is a visualization of existing scientific ideas.

“Obviously, two areas that are pernicious to art are out of the question: scientific illustration, in which the object merely serves a didactic purpose, and works whose message comes to an end in the manipulation of technological devices. If the installation superimposes the complexity of the media on the work’s poetic-political meaning, we are faced with a trick. This is a common misunderstanding in cases where the technology has existed for only a short while—which brings to mind an early show of holography I saw in São Paulo in the early 1980s.”

She goes on to ask questions about the relationship between consciousness and identity:

“Everything that lives—plant, animal, man, woman—is able not only to reproduce, to produce a symmetric other, but also to produce itself. Its true meaning, the question of identity, was jeopardized by the figure of the clone, but this character is not important here. Within the initial question there was therefore an implicit degree of reflexive consciousness: whatever it is that makes a space productive also requires interiority.”

And in the postscript she formulate a beautiful question:

“It would be fundamental to guarantee the continuation of this interior monologue that has already lasted [me] two months. And if the path does not lead anywhere? And if it was nothing like what I thought, it will be a scientific proposition without proof. Would it be a fiasco? For this reason, curiosity—yours and ours—is the method and the training, engineering that benefits the uncommon, an attentive gaze on the sparks of nothing, until a minimum becomes a phenomenon”

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