Liquid Cartographies

From: Friday, 06 October 2017

To: Sunday, 11 February 2018

Place: South Gallery

Liquid Cartographies provides a transversal approach to the premises of Zygmunt Bauman and his idea of liquid modernity, as based on the work of twelve Mexican and Spanish artists.

Artists: Carlos Aires, Edgardo Aragón, Emilio Chapela, Miguel Fernández de Castro, Fernando García-Dory, Elena Lavellés, Morelos León Celis, Maider López, Rosell Meseguer, Asunción Molinos Gordo, Mauricio Orduña, Ana Roldán

Curators: Blanca de la Torre, Paula Duarte and Carlos E. Palacios

The celebrated philosopher and sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) believed that after a period of solid certainties, modernity had become “liquid” because of its “compulsive and obsessive ‘modernisation’, as a result of which, like liquid, none of the consecutive forms of social life is able to maintain its shape for long”. 

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Under this idea, the social and classificatory boundaries that we have imposed as subjects of regulated societies –economy, communication, health, culture– are innocuous and ineffective according to Bauman’s “liquid” thinking. The malleability with which they are cemented, conceived and evolved helps them to unfold in other fields of thought and remaining areas of human development. This is why in principle, and as a way of articulating a non-topographic mapping of conceptual ideas based on Baumanian philosophy, six basic subjects have been proposed that are in turn fluid thematic clusters to address the dialogue between Spanish and Mexican artists:

1. Border/boundaries
2. Economy
3. Sustainability
4. History/archive
5. Networks/communication
6. Habitat

The methodology we are generating with the aim of mediating conceptual terms and artistic proposals, as well as Zygmunt Bauman’s liquid premises, was to establish certain correlations between the work of a Spanish and a Mexican artist in order to display fluidly the comparative realities interwoven between both geographical and cultural scenarios. However, by contrasting our ingenious aims with the ideas of Bauman, we agree that including each of these concepts in a clear classificatory radicalness is at odds with the concept of “liquid and transmutable” modernity. Therefore, we believe that a rhizomatic approach allows for a consistency more in line with the watery idea of the concepts arising from Bauman’s thoughts, their intervention and relationship between each other. This exhibition structure would suggest with greater authenticity the intentions of a liquid cartography.

Blanca de la Torre, Paula Duarte and Carlos E. Palacios

Contemporaneity

Economy / Market
According to Bauman, the commercial sphere permeates everything, even human relationships, which are currently only being formed on a cost-benefit basis. A fluctuating, ambiguous concept in which such drastic notions as “human waste”, marginality and state of waste loom on the horizon and the existence of the other once again becomes present.

Networks / Communication
Transitional, volatile states of human bonds
The key to success consists of cultivating the art of ending relationships
If there is something common to Bauman’s notions, it is the transitional, volatile states of human bonds. According to him, the key to success consists of cultivating the art of ending relationships, disconnecting and anticipating decay (...) knowing how to cancel contracts on time. His final work expressed the immediate need of today’s societies to generate only virtual ties for fear of establishing lasting relationships and the frailty of building solidarity.

Border / Boundaries
Separation that entails
He who does not recognise
Unknown lands
A separation that entails a physical or psychological barrier with the other creates uncertainty. This term, widely studied by Bauman within his postulates of otherness or the unknown stranger, accounts for the subject’s impetuous reaction when confronted with that which he does not recognise as his own, this other obscures and eclipses the clarity of classificatory border lines through which the subject recognises his territory.

Habitat
They have become transitional spaces
According to Bauman, our spaces, those that we consider to be habitat territories, have undeniably become transitional spaces characterised by populations of artificial, liquid, frail communities. The connotation of place is immovable, provided it corresponds to a physical, tangible space. However, modes of occupation are as changeable and changing as the liquids to which he always refers.

History / Archive
Decline of the welfare state
Bauman questions the current scope of history, believing that today´s decline of the welfare state has yielded to the negation of collective stories, although it is these that really give meaning to history and individual lives. The changing character of today’s societies that Bauman outlines suggests the production of micro-narratives that bear witness to the pluralism of such inventions rather than the creation of a linear, canonical history.

Sustainability
All by-products that are imported and consumed.
In today’s commercial and economic terms, our societies are travelling on a completely autonomous path, thanks to free-trade agreements, new models of agricultural development, extraction of natural resources, land use, etc. When trying to amalgamate the necessary yet still utopian idea of consolidating a sovereignty of resources, with Bauman’s notions related to his assumptions about the uncertainty that subjects and products of unknown lands possess, as defined by the origin of the other, we could most certainly conclude that any imported and consumed by-product would carry with it the contaminating feature of the other as a supposed carrier of dirt. Without literally resorting to the adoption of Bauman’s terms, we could infer that within their liquid connotations he would advocate the search for sustainability linked not only to production systems, but rather aimed at constructing human relationships, and these with their surroundings.

Opening programme  Leaflet  

Liquid Cartographies from Artium on Vimeo.

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