Vivir sin después
Media: video projection and surround sound; sand-covered floor; Running time: 5' 32"
Remarks on Vivir sin después
Vivir sin después (To live with no afterwards) is the title of a DVD installation, conceived by the Argentine artist Ariadna Capasso, which runs just over 5 minutes in length on a continuous loop. The subject matter concerns the play of a young boy – a colono (of white and indigenous blood) – together with his friend on the beach of the Napo River along the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon. Here we sense the drama of the boy’s ritual motions as he scampers to and fro on a sandy beach, occasionally hitting a fallen tree with a stick. While the actions are simple, the success of Capasso’s allegory is augmented by two additional and indispensable elements: the presence of a darkened sky filled with looming clouds in the background, and a magical, nearly hypnotic sonic environment provided by the eco-composer Damián Keller.
In the course of a recent conversation, I suggested to Capasso that her approach to video reminded me of something I once read about the Abstract Expressionist painter Franz Kline. While standing in front of a white canvas he rarely knew exactly where the painting was going to go. It would seem that Vivir sin después began much the same way. Like a painter, Capasso collected images in her camera without knowing what the results would bring, while her colleague Damián Keller recorded fragments of sound not knowing how they would be utilized. The post-production phase of their work would initiate the crucial intersection. Working together in the studio, Keller mastered the sounds so that they might flow unobtrusively in relation to the sequence of images. In order to enhance the drama, Capasso digitally altered the color so as to provide more contrast in the images. Conventional time was reconfigured through the editing process to create an overlay of simultaneous activity. New cadences of images and sound were discovered as the artists worked with the density of form in relation to time and absence.
But there is another important meaning to her work. As one enters into the projection space, there is sand beneath the viewer’s feet – a sensation that disturbs the normative way we feel in the space of a museum. We are given a link to the boy whose small feet also stand in the sand. At this moment, we enter into the story -- but for any kind of experience to happen a certain empathy is required, specifically in the way we feel nature. By being in nature, normal hierarchies of power and mindless accumulations that routinely fill our lives begin to fade away. In Vivir sin después, we are given a simulated space of abstract “change and variation,” as described by Capasso. Through the vision of this small colono boy against a stormy sky we may begin to see the world differently.
Robert C. Morgan
New York City
Winds, Haim Chanin Fine Arts, New York, 2004 (catalogue)
ArtexArte, Buenos Aires, 2004 (catalogue)
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, 2003