THE LANGUAGE OF THE NIGHT
SATURDAY 22 FEBRUARY
CURATED BY JULIA MORANDEIRA AND MANUEL SEGADE
Escuelita is a living research department at CA2M: if the institution were a body, then this would be its digestive apparatus, governed by a slower, more open and experimental functioning. It poses far-reaching questions that are declined in different formats and structured in seasons, responding to conflicts and issues that plague us today. This is why Escuelita is a slippery programme, impossible to pin down or define.
Night and night-time are also territories that refuse to be tied down to a fixed definition. Their fuzzy texture is made up of all kinds of atmospheres and affects that look to experiment with other forms of relationships, of desire, of being together. This season wishes to address night-time as a space of possibility for social choreographies and as a structure of sensation to try to grasp the fleeting and the wild. Its profoundly ambiguous, evasive and uncontrollable nature means that night-time is an ephemeral and residual register that, as José Esteban Muñoz argued, is made up of “a kind of evidence of what has happened but which is by no means the thing in itself.” For this reason, this season comprises a programme of actions that seek to explore in depth those nocturnal “traces, glimmers, residues and stains”, articulated in the form of an open lexicon. Each session is conceived as a declination of a voice for this dictionary of excited words. Just as we need darkness to re-enchant the world against the monotony of sterile reason, language needs the night to express many other things that cannot be said otherwise: “We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark; and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night.” (Ursula K. Le Guin).
SATURDAY 22 FEBRUARY
_11:00 Presentation: Julia Morandeira and Manuel Segade
_11:15 Mourning, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, music, cold and shots, Martí Manen (director of Index -The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation in Stockholm)
Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ passing ushered in a time of deathly silence. Not being ready for a distant death, though the idea of death had hovered over the artist for a long time, with his work Felix Gonzalez-Torres aimed at an emotional contact related with the possibility of loss. But with his death—his own death as a being—the loss became physical, a presence. There was no choice. And, then, mourning. Mourning as an undefined time in which there are no words, nor should there be. Mourning as a necessary impasse. Mourning as a time in which the body gradually adapts and waits for the mind to catch up. Mourning like dancing very late on a dark night, dancing without thinking, with the slowness of clumsy steps. Dancing to pass away the time, until nothing remains.
Mourning, whether individual or collective, calls for situations to be closer to rituals. Sounds, smells, songs, fruit, furniture or other sporadic elements will appear during mourning and will act as conduits towards the following state. It is during mourning that something will be formed, though it will be beyond control and without a choice.
To engage with mourning and Gonzalez-Torres, the proposal is to escape towards other moments of loss. It is 13 January 1996. Felix Gonzalez-Torres died just a few days ago.
_12:00 Employment Contract (on Felix Gonzalez-Torres), Pierre Bal-Blanc (performer for Untitled (Go- Go Dancing Platform) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, curator, former director of the CRAC Brétigny and part of the curatoeial team for Documenta 14)
In 1991 Felix Gonzalez-Torres presents “Every week there is something different” at the Andrea Rosen gallery in New York. This exhibition is crucial for understanding the artist’s work but is also an important landmark in relation to the turning point that artistic practice has taken in relation to the previous decade. Time and living become decisive factors for the practice of the exhibition, which until then favored a relationship mainly oriented towards space and object. With this exhibition the performative returns, but not according to the same coordinates as those which governed it during the post-war years, until the 1970s. From the 1990s the artist was no longer the only protagonist; the performance is delegated to other individuals who embody their own history or social status. The opening hours of the exhibition and the daily reiteration replace the duration of the unique show. Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform), 1991 is one of the works that appeared during the exhibition presented in four parts for several weeks. A pedestal fitted with a light bulb received a go-go dancer who used it for himself during the day simply dressed in a silver panty - wearing a walk-man - at the time and for the duration of his choice. Pierre Bal-Blanc, now curator, performed this work in 1992 within the exhibition "Gegendarstellung - Ethik und Ästhetik im Zeitalter von AIDS" for three months while working as an exhibition handler in Hamburg in Germany. The film Employment Contract (on Felix Gonzalez-Torres) (1992) testifies to this experience by proposing to adopt the point of view of the performer who performs this task. The critical position that Pierre Bal-Blanc adopts in this work in relation to Torres' piece will be decisive for all the exhibition projects he leads from “Living Currency” in 2006 to “Draft Score for an Exhibition” in 2010 until today with “Collective Exhibition for a Single Body”.
"Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform)", 1991 by Felix Gonzalez-Torres translates for Pierre Bal-Blanc the state of the biopolitical body (enslavement) which according to Michel Foucault succeeds the disciplinary period (subjugation). The reversal of the point of view on the work of Torres of which the film of 1992 testifies opened the possibility to the curator through several artistic collaborations (Santiago Sierra, Teresa Margolles, Roman Ondak, les gens d’Uterpan, Sanja Ivekovic etc ..) on the one hand to deconstruct the new norm of the neoliberal era (the competition of beings and human capital) and on the other hand to reclaim slogans (conduct of conduct) of a biopolitics.