In recent years, the feeling we’re going through something unlike anything the world has known before has gained momentum. Concepts like the Anthropocene—which Russian scientists conceived of as a formal epoch of geological time in the 1960s—have lately been subject to renewed scrutiny. If we cop to living in that era—said to have begun when human activity first exerted irreversible impacts on the earth’s ecosystems—we have finally acknowledged that non-human organisms also enjoy a preponderant place in the world. Such concepts have decidedly changed our understanding of the planet.
This record, as well as the exhibition which it is part of, serves to echo that notion, devised to live outside our culturally conscious frame of reference. Each of the woks in it conceive of the world within a larger spectrum—a perspective that does not depend on the immediacy of our “proven” knowledge, but rather, that provides a space of skepticism, and eschews any insistence on explaining the world we live in. In this vision, geological time is related to obsolete scientific theory; universal space connects to ancient knowledge and collective wisdom is associated with uncertainty. Here, artworks are smoke signals reminding us of “the space we’ve got left” to live on. As such, the feeling something big is immanent; a connection to a more ambiguous negotiation with contemporary culture; and the suspicion we all speak to each other in an unconscious language were the tools that made the exhibition, and this soundtrack happen.
An awakening of interests and concerns such as these often occurs at historical moments like our own, when old paradigms come under question. Arguably the last of those recurring moments, in the modern period, was the late 1960s, when unrest agitated the world in several cities, among them Japan, and Mexico, where this tracks were recorded.
As 1970 approached, Yusuke Nakahara proposed Between Man and Matter (ultimately for the 10th Tokyo Biennial), an exhibition that, alongside When Attitudes Become Form and Square Tags in Round Holes, gathered the work of several artists whose different perspectives reformulated notions of art and its functions. Our existence as human beings, notes Nakahara in his exhibition draft, is not merely being connected to the actual world through meaning. This actual world, he explains, is a totality of which we are part, not just the matter that surrounds us.
In that spirit, the works, as well sa the tracks here, signal a return to positions in which “man and matter are joined together inseparably, with mutual influence and control;” it leads to a proposal for a Between Man and Matter that could be as meaningful today as it was in its own time. As vague as an overheard conversation, the statements these works make are all long-shots whose trajectories can only be guessed at for now.
The Space We've Got, the exhibition, and this soundtrack was produced by Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo.
released October 25, 2015
Voices: Luix Saldaña and Deva Baumbach. Percussions: Luix Saldaña. Synthetizer: Gustavo M. Hernández. Lyrics: Mario García Torres. Production and additional percussions: Ernesto García and Mario García Torres. Recording, Mixing and Engineering: Ernesto García. Thanks to Carlota Perez-Jofre, Memo Méndez Giú, Ximena Romero, Elisa Uematsu, and everyone at Taka Ishii Gallery. Recorded at Los Amoritos, Tepoztlán, México.
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