THE AN-ARCHIC DEVICE
The An-Archic Device is something between toy theatre, street altar and peepshow: a small-scale stage model, a blinking automata, an audio-visual machine, that produces physical and anarchic dissociation by means of laughter.
Based on Antonin Artauds theater manifesto „The Conquest of Mexico“, The An-Archic Device deals with Mexico as a space of otherness and as a subjective heterotopia. Following Artaud, Mexico becomes the playground for an examination of danger and fear along the site, where each subject is set back to its self in its relation to the world.
A ten pesos coin starts the device.
Since my presentation at Dorkbot Mexico two weeks ago, where I spoke about "Breathing City", "Cold Lights", the concept of "The An-Archic Device" and the manipulation and deconstruction of the Tft-Screens (see photo), there has been some progress regarding the installation. I am looking forward to present “The An-Archic Device” in Mexico-City from the 30th of June until the 31th of July at the Galeria AB of Centro Multimedia at the Centro Nacional de las Artes. The offical opening is scheduled for the 30th of June at 6 p.m., and I hope that almost all the people I met in Mexico-City so far will find some time and come around, and for sure there should be some possibility to continue our discussions about Art, Technology, Power and the relevance of Antonin Artaud. If You can make it, don't forget to bring a 10 pesos coin with you ;-)
The next Saturday I went with Juanpablo Avendaño (a Mexican designer and performer aka Montezuma) and Cuauhtémoc Sentíes Rascón (the director of the Centro Multimedia aka Hernan Cortes) to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan to make some videorecordings. For two reasons this became quite a funny experience: First, we weren't allowed to use a basic tripod inside the area, since a special permission is needed, which is about !300! euros. And second, since I didn't want to have tourists running through the image, I decided to go to an area, that is not open to the public. So we were recording for about 5 minutes, when 2 guards were approaching and were telling us to leave this place and to get rid of the tripod. Pretending to look for a mobile that Cuauhtémoc claimed to have lost, we were able to stay another 40 minutes and to get all the recordings that we wanted (that the two performers now always seem to have their faces turned to the ground, is actually a nice "Verfremdungseffekt").
With Yurián Zerón of the robotic wokshop I went to buy some wood, and together with the carpenters of the Centro Nacional de las Artes, that have their working space in the basement garage beneath the Centro Multimedia, the wooden parts of the sculpture have already been assembled. Furthermore, I also started to work together with an experimental musician, and I sent some images of the Aztecan Codex Cospi to my friend and collaborator René Liebert in Germany, who does now some basic animation with the Comic-style drawings.
Then I got a serious cold in the middle of the last week, and while I was still wondering if it was the swine flu or not and was staying at home, I had some more time to read a little bit more in Artauds Mexico Volume and to reflect some of the recent discussions I had here in Mexico-City, that dealt mainly with the relations of art and politics. In “I came to Mexico, to escape the European civilization...”, a lecture Artaud held in Mexico, he opposites his notion of “total revolution” to the notion of “revolution” in a Marxian way:
For us the problem seems not to be the replacement of one class with another, in order to get to an abolishment of all classes in the last instance; instead of that, we have to look for the reasons of an eternal decline in the way of living of the human being. […] For me, there is no revolution without revolution inside of culture; that means, inside our universal manner, the manner that all human beings share, how we apprehend life and how we face the problem of life. It is good, to dispossess the owners, but for me it seems to be much better, to dispossess each human being of the taste for property.
It seems to be very crucial for me, that Artaud always remembers us, that it is indeed very easy to blame the others, but that on the same time we also adapt very easy to structures of power. We have to be very careful also, that we do not just reproduce another multiplicating part of the big machine, that seems to grow faster than ever in these days.
I think Artaud is very contemporary, if we talk about collaborative approaches to art (opposite to the market-based idea of a single artist-creator who produces surplus value) and open source movements. One of the projects at the Centro Multimedia I personally like the most, is the providing of an bootable open-source-cd with its own linux-based operating system through the audio department. A big focus is here to make resources available to the public in all parts of Mexico, so that everybody can start to play around without the need of big instructions. Even if this is only a small step, I think it is a central question of ethics, to provide anybody with free access to commodities.