Yesterday I arrived in Germany, so it might be now the time to make a short resume about the last ten weeks, that I spent in Mexico, developing „The An-Archic Device“ as far as I could, following the text „The Conquest of Mexico“ by Antonin Artaud.
When I was interviewed some days ago by Mexican TV station Canal 22, there have been two questions, that I hadn't thought of before, but that seem really self-evident. The first was, how I dealt with violence in Mexican society, and the second was, how I percepted the differences of Mexican culture to European Culture.
Retrospective I have to say, that the first two, three weeks of my stay have been overshadowing and forming my perception of this country / culture. The cultural differences never became a big focus for me, since while I was directly stumbled into a state of emergency, I found myself in a situation, where everybody seemed to be in the same boat. Today it is easy to smile at these days, but I think we will not forget these moments of insecurity, where nobody really was knowing what will be happening next. There was a big amount of fear within everybody, and it took quite some time until these reservoirs became released again. It was quite an interesting experience to do some self-observation, when the social life slowly started to reappear. Together the people helped each other, to get rid of the traces of their paranoid dispositions, while humor became an always helpful agent. I was told before that there are serious problems with crime and violence in Mexico, but luckily, moving a lot through the city, I didn't notice them myself. Also, in the media the influenza replaced all other topics / problems in the first weeks (a lot of people I spoke to supposed that the government also used the influenza partly as an instrument of propaganda, to push the national problems aside, a few weeks before the big elections, that actually take place today). I realized a lot of social differences within the Mexican society (you just have to compare in the afternoons the people that use the metro and the people that go by car), huge gaps regarding education, income and living quality, certainly latent traces of racism against the “native” population, but alltogether Mexico seemed not to be very alien to me in these days. Most people I dealt with (people from the Centro Multimedia, artists and curators) also had a lot of international experience, and I became once more assured, that we as artists in a global community are very privileged, but that there is also a big responsibility.
The time I spent in Mexico was not enough to finish my sculpture, what you can see in the Galeria A/B until the end of this month is kind of a status quo, but I am quite happy with it as it is now. The mechanics, fully workable only since this Thursday, are still not connected at this moment, and you will only see a basic draft of one of the four acts if you input a ten pesos coin (length about 5 minutes), but I think it is surely worth the effort to visit the installation in the Galeria A/B. Right now I continue to work on it in Germany. I think I need another 2-3 weeks to finish all the different parts, to make the final edit of my video footage and to do the computerprogramming of the different lighting moods and the mechanical movements. While I was reading a lot in Artauds texts during the first half of my residency, I spent the second half to create and collect all the different parts. Now finally comes the most fruitful and interesting time, where I go back to Artaud and connect all my different material with some of the ideas, that I extracted out of his writings.
Theatrically, the problem is to determine and harmonize these lines of force, to concentrate them and extract suggestive melodies from them. These images, movements, dances, rites, these fragmented melodies and sudden turns of dialogue will be carefully recorded and described as far as possible with words, especially for he portions of the spectacle not in dialogue, the principle here being to record in codes, as on a musical score, what cannot be described in words. (Artaud)
I really liked the idea to create an object, that is “made for use” instead for contemplation, and to look out for the forces / possibilities of the materials that I decided to use, instead of using them only as an additional support for the expression of vain artistic ideas.
A distinction must be made between two types of science, or scientific procedures: one consists in “reproducing”, the other in “following”. [...] following is not at all the same thing as reproducing, and one never follows in order to reproduce. [...] One is obliged to follow when one is in search of the singularities of the matter, or rather of a material, and not out to discover a form; (Deleuze & Guattari)
Last but not least I also want to thank all the people who did great support so far (most notably Sebastian and Dr. Naether from the Goethe Institut, my host Eusebio, and the people from the Centro Multimedia, Omar, Cuauhtémoc, and all the others), and also all the artists / friends that I collaborated with for this project (Dyan, Juanpablo, René, Yurian, Monica, Matthias + René).