Recent encounters with metaphors so piercing as to make one gasp, have drawn me to the idea of trying to find a metaphor for a metaphor, a combination of words able to capture the essence of the very act of putting alien words together in a way that produces the feeling of closeness to some actual thing in the world. Trying to define the attitude that is being played out in El Luthier now brings me back to that exercise, as although the work is by no means a metaphor in itself, it seems to deploy the mechanism of that literary instrument.
The metaphorical mechanism has to do, foremost, with the inaccessibility of actuality, with words functioning as mediators or codes for things that are otherwise shapeless, only perceived by the ever-questionable tool of human senses. What metaphors do is try to use words in order to not only bring to mind a thing as a distant object known to exist, but also evoke the actual experience the thing holds, the abstract feeling of the thing before it is translated into the codes of words. The way they achieve this is by creating intersections between words from separate fields of meaning, thus flooding the reader’s mind with a constellation of different (coded) thoughts and emotions that together resemble the all-encompassing complex experience of encountering something in the world. This mechanism works not only in relation to things that one already knows and has experienced, but can also evoke the feeling of recognition with regard to things that are foreign or even completely fabricated.
El Luthier can be thought of as a similar construct, one that tackles the sensorial inaccessibility of the thing it strives to evoke by intersecting it with another similarly inaccessible phenomenon. Guillermo Rodriguez defines his ambition in the work as making “the space itself become the medium”, thus pointing to the desire to turn space, this concept that we use extensively but can’t fully experience or understand with our senses, into something able to convey sensible information and mediate artistic intention. The way this installation goes about achieving this is by physically attaching to the bare architecture of the gallery (the peripheral, sensible aspect of “space”), tightened strings able to produce sound – the sensible feature of resonance. The strings and the architecture function here like words, not loaded in themselves but used to indicate the overlapping, un-felt but consciously present phenomena of space and resonance. This opens up the potential of accessing these phenomena not directly, which is impossible, but by means of this intersection which, like a metaphor for something one has never seen, can nevertheless make them possible to recognize.
texto para la exhibicion La Imposibilidad de Ser Tropical de Andres Pereira-Paz
…como aquella hipotética Antilia que reaparecía una y otra vez,
siempre de manera furtiva, en los portulanos de los cosmógrafos.
Antonio Benítez Rojo, La Isla que se Repite
Como la isla/remolino de basura que orbita en el Océano Pacífico (sin fronteras, sin forma, sin base ni superestructura) el trópico/galaxia que aspiramos habitar siempre aparece como imagen imposible. Se trata de topografías flotantes de composición dinámica y fragmentaria en estado de cambio constante –entropía. De este junkspace caótico surgen archipiélagos recombinantes, trópicos alreadymade que se contraen y se dispersan para volver a juntarse y cristalizar por períodos brevísimos como constelaciones transitorias.
Queriendo aprehender este caos como entidad inteligible, vamos juntando en vano fragmentos flotantes para formar islas provisionales y archipiélagos escurridizos. La práctica que por ahora llamaremos entropical consiste en percibir/concebir esos intervalos insulares sin pretensión de hacer de ellos “tierra firme”, sino aspirando a participar del momento fulmíneo de su emergencia.