PHOTOGRAPHY AS A COMMON EXPERIENCE
“… The more profound the distance that a gaze has to reach, greater the charm which emanates from it.“
As a social practice, photography does not end exhausted in an image. There is a before, an after and a middle time. A whole sequence of gestures and agreements that, confusing the boundaries between object and subject, compose an event horizon. For some ones, could be a a death micro-version experience, a parenthesis, a ghosts science that opens different uses of time, also providing a new perspective and telling another possible story.
Exposición en tiempo real, from its title, proposes a vanishing movement. Contrariwise, this project it involves a way of understanding and practicing photo- graphy outside the finished product, that is to say, outside of its most frequent commercial uses. To think from an expanded field perspective the technical procedures, inside a bigger circulation system: a multiple vitality of caracters or a proliferation of natural and artificial agents, human and non-human. Even those abstract or invisible elements that we do not normally perceive, but that have a direct participation in the process.
I think, for example, of chemicals products and lenses or, more unknowingly, of the spatial trajectory of an image. However, on the spectator’s side, this exhibition is not only visited. One participates while an endless number of realities of different natures act out. Photography as choreography: network of affections and effects: that is, when technology is understood not as a gadget but as a complex device inserted in a system of procedures and disciplines that give shape to the political. Or what is the same: how Vivian Galban, on this occasion more inductive and accomplice than author, pushes the photographic language to a field of collective agency, to a doing with others that focuses on the idea of performativity.
A few accurate instructions on the wall receive the spectator. Although from outside the gallery the people can realize the wooden camera obscura created by Galban. The wooden Camera’s dimensions and its scale, bigger than human size, make us think in a big scale installation, an environment or, as Joseph Beuys said, a social sculpture: a societal framework where thought, action and objects converge. In a demonstrative way, the text incites to resist the exposure time and leave the imprint of each visitor’s passage. To hold the presence, now that we almost have a time to rest. Experiment again a certain stillness, slowdown, as today claimed several activist groups that advocate fort hes lowlife, healthier, less pathological. Vivan Galban coincive her work as around trip of photography, alongside of a series of movements and agents that can not be missed in a performance practice. Space, time and body: what Walter Benjamin called aura: rather than a quality, a knot or a network that sorround us with the artwork. Because by aura, in addition to issues that already address the exhausted discussion between original, simulacrum and copy, we can realize a momentum, an almost transcendental capacity for affection. The magic instant of an encounter, when a certain thing can become intoanotherone. Now, what it is transformedat this exhibition in realtime? Is the reality that see how an image of it’s own skin comes off? Is it the passing of time that is suddenly challenged? Or is it something that happens both at the molecular level, at the same time in our own body in the exhibition space?
There is also another factor that enables thinking about this project as a social sculpture or, directly, as a performance. Something certainly unusual in the context of an art gallery like Rolf, dedicated tot he exhibition and contemplation of contemporary photography. I am referring to how in this opportunity the artist “place her body”, an expression converted into a slogan by certain conceptions and by the new age philosophies. Not in vain, beyond how every author cover up himself behind the work, Vivian Galban takes an active part in the network of entities that embody to this Exhibition in real time. It is the artist herself who will carry out the development of the images. Live, in the exhibition hall at the gallery, but hidden inside her camera obscura, the visitors are invited to come in, going inside to the labyrinth. A place usually banned from the public, which here opens its doors to reveal the process of making real what was invisible. It is Impossible not to go back in time and think of those pioneers who, until the twentieth century, traveled the routes with their track-studios. Photo- graphy as a nomadic life way, as errancy, some times also as a failed process, a veiling and a latent image. A distant moment that today we feel with tender- ness, in parallel to a certain fascination, almost fetishist, for the cameras, the film and the analogue development. Just when the circulation and digital production of images seems to threaten the very materiality of our lives, that is when infinite reproducibility and postproduction propose a new visual ontolo- gy.
Although in view of how noble techniques refuse to disappear, and not only of certain initiates spheres, there is no reason to announce the death of photo- graphy. However, technology, regardless of how Tacita Dean celebrated the death of the 16mm film, is always cumulative. It is metamorphosed by substrates bifurcating into supports and different modes of employment, where anachronies, preferences and previous visual desires survive even at the birth of the same photography it self. In this way, Galban’s proposal is not reduced to a nostalgic gesture. This is not a vintage claim of photochemical processes. Or at least the photo-chemical processes are not the center of her project. The interesting thing here is to share, share a time and a space. Since it is, a call to understand the image in its binding sense, as a vehicle to articulate and implement a certain social and material circulation. A symphony where altogether will set the images of the visitors that stop by… in front of the dark camera of Galban, set up at the gallery ́s walls according the exhibition happens until its end advances. Therefore, we could talk about how this Real-time Exposition shows how all photography essentially involves a passage or a movement. A dance that, as it will be evidenced by the differences between each exposed image, is increasingly difficult to contain.
Little or nothing remains of that famous expression “stop the time” or “for eternity” of the image that, supposedly constituted the magic and the ultimate charm of photography. The powers of alchemy point in another direction. More interesting certainly is what proposes an exhibition that, surpassing the framework of relational art, is related to some choreographic experiments proposed by curators like Raimundas Malasauskas, with her expanded readings of what can be an artistic object or art exhibition. Visions and above all actions that, as we said, surpass the bond establi- shed by Nicolas Borriueud between the viewer and the artwork, now expanded to the agency capacity and affection of a whole network of entities and perspectives that operate at the margin of any activation. That is to say, an update of the situational art proposed by Michael Asher at the end of the sixties, more open to the mysterious effects of space than to the discipline imposed by the museum or the art gallery. Because admit it: there is nothing more ridiculous and petulant than that of activating shows once that they have been inaugurated, as if they were not alive without the presence of humans, as if they needed the viewer’s gaze to exist. Thus, Peter Pal Pelbart suggests, sometimes it is a matter of acting and of allowing oneself to act for and with others. which would be stop for a moment… do not do … let do. Suspend our will to merge with others in a common space, without intention or interest. In other words: to stand in front of Vivan Galban’s camera and trust, to experience a real-time exhibition visit in the manner of a game. Surrender, like someone who gives himself to an event of unpredictable resonances.
Febrero 2019, Buenos Aires, Argentina