Martí Peran
sábado 24 de julio, 2021 19:32 PM
Martí Peran
sábado 24 de julio, 2021 19:32 PM


Where We Are (first note for Doron and Koby)
martí peran

A few days ago, a run-of-the-mill conversation made me remember the importance of that fundamental gesture by Bruce Nauman, now distant, wondering how he should pass the time in his studio. Along with the beauty of the commonplace, the problem of art was shifting ground from the rhetorical problem of how to contribute to a perfectly established and predetermined world to the straightforward question of deciding what, in itself, may prove an interesting thing to do. It was no longer a matter of successfully doing something relevant from the artistic point of view, but rather the contrary, it was one of identifying the same tension in art by asking the simple yet momentous question, What can I do?
Yes, I know this backdrop is practically literal in the career of Daniel Chust Peters, who now presents an Airsoft which, by making scale reproductions of the studio he once occupied in Jerusalem during his stay there, manages to answer that same question head-on: if I’m not sure what I can do in the studio, I’ll at least begin by reproducing it and, in the process, other questions will arise as echoes. But my reference here in no way intended to introduce Chust’s project at this point (after all, the assignment is limited to writing exclusively about the works of Doron Rabina and Koby Levy, though I anticipate this being a task difficult to fulfil to the letter). The mention of Nauman has a strictly panoramic purpose. What really interests me is recognising and highlighting that which lies behind this project: promotion of a new productive situation, with no prior interest in collecting finished artworks susceptible to export towards new audiences. This function is already sufficiently performed by the biennales and other events that disseminate contemporary art throughout the new, expanded geography of global markets. The adventure now lays in responding to a sort of delocalization of the artists, with a view to having them confront the spirit of this outrageously human question: What could I do here?
The apparent absurdity of this starting point might suggest an easy misinterpretation according to which once again the artistic action would be mistaken for a free performance, dreamed up out of the blue and demanding attention through its eccentricities. A vulgar, classist possibility of action that ends in appeals to the ingenious and the supposedly original. We are not however making an apology for this free-thinking and creative prerogative in art. The question no longer consists in legitimising just any proposal insofar as it represents a response to an open situation; it is about converting the aforementioned question – What can I do here? – into the very subject of reflection, in the category that organises the materials of each project from the outset. This is the framework and the essence of the task into which Doron Rabina and Koby Levy were thrust when they were invited to work in Barcelona.

Doron Rabina confronted the situation with an explicitly voyeuristic attitude. The different Details are images captured by a passive eye that avoids intervening in the drama of what it sees. Approaching the city as a heterotrophic reality, Rabina chooses to situate himself behind a camera-window and film little accidents: young tourists being evicted from a shop on the beach where they spent the night or made love, and a tramp’s furtive masturbation in a park. Both videos contain significant points capable of further development: the poetic nature of the event and the discovery, the micro-political dimension of practices of spatial occupation, the sexual urges that infiltrate public space, the dialectic between the hiding place and exhibitionism, the personal and institutional management of collective space… but we should leave exploration of these issues for a second note. What interests us here is a more in-depth study of that work process which transforms looking into the way of addressing this first dilemma to arise out of the question What can I do?
Deciding that it is relevant to assume the role of spy means translating the problem inherent in the tasks from a dramatic perspective. Instead of discussing what could be done, Rabina enters the equally dizzy process of deciding where to direct his gaze. Naturally, the incidents in each Detail contain their own literary dimension, but the espionage itself constitutes a system of dramatic visibility for different reasons: the tension of remaining discreetly in the background, succeeding in watching eloquent episodes despite not knowing their outcome beforehand and, above all, accepting that presenting yourself as a spectator is as relevant as the very event being watched.

Travel Cards, the project by Koby Levy, is a cacophonous essay in which a huge number of coordinates converge and which may perfectly well be interpreted as a developed argument for this situation of strangeness. The supposedly introductory question – What can I do? – explodes into a new network of disparate interrogatives: What can being in Barcelona mean to an Israeli artist? What responsibilities are involved in an invitation of these characteristics? Can the artist work in contexts unfamiliar to him? How can a dialogue with the others be structured? Is it possible and legitimate to mix the roles of artist and tourist? This series of questions that should in theory be answered prior to making the decision about what to do becomes, just as we pointed out, the first centre of attention.
To confront this situation, Koby Levy has designed a double display strategy. In the first place, he proceeds to translate the background of all these preliminary questions from a bibliographic point of view, which enables him to inject reality into the unknown factors. After all, the artist affected by this network of interrogatives has a name, his own stories and his specific obsessions. Put another way, the only way of supporting and managing this panel of questions lies in compiling a vast amount of details and anecdotes which will somehow have to control the possible development of the entire fabric of statements. In this way, a heterogeneous series of small realities (from the Moroccan origin of his family to the reencounter with Muslim butchers in Barcelona) acquires a relevance that provides the palette of materials on which to operate. His second mechanism of display consists in seeing all this material as a pile of shuffled playing cards, even before clarifying whether they belong to the same pack (if there is one sole internal logic capable of harmonising all the material details) and, naturally, before eventually putting them in play (converting the question into an action). The final game-board is a journey, crossing the peninsula from Barcelona to the Atlantic. During the trip, conceived to a certain extent as a sort of return, all those questions about identities, responsibilities and tasks gradually materialise – as the cards are played – in a complex circular essay on movements and migrations. In the end, the exercise is structured as a metaphor on mobility understood as the twilight zone in which the very condition of the contemporary subject is fuzzily drawn; that subject who found himself obliged to wonder what he could do when he felt exported to another situation.

Segunda nota para Doron y Koby.

Antes de la ratificación científica de nuestra absoluta proximidad con los simios, ya sabiamos que estos se caracterizan por una desarrollada tendencia a vivir en comunidades instintivamente organizadas. La verdad es que ahora mismo desconozco si a esas prácticas se les reconoce explicitamente la condición de mecanismos de sociabilidad; en cualquier caso, en el escenario “selvático” por el que se recortan las siluetas de este grupo de simios lo que se impone es, ante todo, un natural impulso por estar juntos. Maneras de estar juntos o , a lo sumo, pequeñas sociedades gregarias y enormemente vulnerables. Sobre este eje gravitan, de un modo coral, los distintos trabajos que Doron Rabina orquestra – en una reunión igualmente precaria – para el proyecto Passer-by.
El Detail 1 registra un pequeño incidente en la playa de Barcelona. Unos jovenes que pernoctaron felizmente frente al horizonte son desalojados al alba por la policia. El plano fijo de la camara reproduce la sutil dramaturgia del levantamiento del debil campamento. De la noche a la mañana el pequeño grupo se descompone. Hay muchos “asentamientos” con una explícita voluntad de permanencia, pero las comunidades afectivas, impulsadas por la ocasionalidad de las economías del deseo, acepta con resignación su precariedad. Diseñar maneras de estar juntos es apenas un composición de cuerpos en el espacio. Lo político convertido en una leve performatividad grupal. En Detail 2, la atención se concentra en los movimientos ritmicos de una masturbación furtiva. El cuerpo tendido sobre un parque público se oculta infructuosamente bajo una manta que no puede disimular una minuscula coreografía sexual. El registro lo realiza un ojo complice, sabedor de que son las pulsiones más orgánicas quienes organizan las dinámicas del espacio público : ojos que ven, cuerpos que se tocan y cuerpos que se agrupan.
El diptico de fotografias reproduce la misma convicción. Del cuerpo adormilado emanan voluptuosas naturalezas muertas de frutas jugosas y coloridas. Ya no hay un sueño de la razón engendrando monstruos sino, por el contrario, un cuerpo vivido y agotado el sueño del cual invoca alimentos. De nuevo asistimos a una pequeña acumulación de elementos distintos, por igual preciosos y caducos, los únicos pilares para construir maneras de estar juntos.

Disponemos de numerosos modelos teóricos para comprendernos : nuestra condición social, étnica, religiosa y política. Cada uno de estos parámetros nos ofrece una suerte de barrera de precepto que encierra territorios de vida, en el interior de los cuales la experiencia quedaria felizmente comandada y legitimida. Sin embargo, a cada paso reconocemos fracturas que hacen tambalear esos modelos. De algun modo, estamos condenados a regresar a la experiencia para construir sentido, sin la asistencia de libros de ruta ya establecidos. Este gesto tan aparentemente liviano es el punto de salida del viaje de Koby Levy por la costa mediterranea española hasta el extremo atlántico.
El viaje es una acumulación de situaciones, paisajes, encuentros y acontecimientos que a penas pueden articularse. Esta es la tensión que atraviesa todo el proyecto : el esfuerzo de interpretar un relato homogeneo frente a una acumulación de fragmentos. Koby Lovy, en efecto, intenta reconocer para cada elemento una imposible condición de detalle que permitiria despues aunar todas las piezas en un todo revelador; sin embargo, los fragmentos se caracterizan precisamente por no tener un perfil amable sino una forma violentada que no admite ninguna recomposición. Se acaba por imponer una realidad cacofónica, en la que cada experiencia reclama la potencia de su misma literalidad. Pero el proyecto no se disciplina convirtiendose en una mera colección de singularidades sino que, por el contrario, convierte esa misma paradoja en el núcleo del trabajo en una clave falsamente teológica.
Al presentar sus trabajos como diseñador grafico para una comunidad evangelista en Tel Aviv- arropados con la primera gravación del pastor en su iglesia- Levy intenta dar con una clave que abra los registros con suficiente amplitud de miras para emprender el viaje al modo de experiencia unívoca (minorías, desplazamientos, ..). Tras esta introducción, el viaje experimenta sucesivas situaciones que solo consiguen gravitar en torno a esas coordenadas (estudiantes de excursion, aves migratorias, turistas, inmigrantes indocumentados,...) sin vertebrar un relato preciso. El último video, reproduciendo la reproducción de videoclips religiosos en la habitación de una inmigrante nigeriana, en realidad, ya no puede cerrar el circulo evocando las notas del organo en Tel Aviv. Es un falso cierre, un último fragmento que da cuenta de que la unica teologia posible tiene una naturaleza trágica : no unifica ni compacta, sino que difiere y descompone.
El bote debia operar como recipiente donde los fragmentos confluian y se articulaban. Pero permanece despojado. No es un instrumento cohesionador sino una herramienta de desplazamiento y diseminacion. A su vez, junto al bote, el ojo divino ensaya una concentración fracturada. Esta es la teología trágica : un dios que no sana sino que mantiene abiertas las heridas. Frente a los modelos impuestos para estar y ocupar el mundo, una experiencia teleologica negativa, desmenuzada, paradójica y constantemente agitada por la diferencia.


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