٠ Reina’s Altered States ٠

43_at002© Francisco Reina, from the project Altered States

43_at007© Francisco Reina, from the project Altered States

43_at011© Francisco Reina, from the project Altered States

43_at014© Francisco Reina, from the project Altered States

A minimum amount of truth is necessary to justify the communication of any kind of information. To tell the truth is often very difficult and even when a lie is told by omission of certain information can result in an accusation of being guilty of hiding the truth. Additionally, manipulation can be defined as the act of representing something false as real, a negative as positive, a degradation as beneficial.

In every society there is a general need to achieve both economic and political power and when these two forces come together to rule the State, manipulation is implemented to turn people into subjects, potential voters or consumers. Some of the political and commercial strategies are very familiar with this strategy of manipulation and are constantly focused on supplying society with enough sensuality to keep the citizens´ animal sensitivity alive. The most well known form of manipulation is lie.

Current society would not exist if people did not have reciprocal trust. Manipulated language can be received with confidence and good faith and eventually people may be guided not by the truth, but by the manipulator´s intentions. Therefore, each of these manipulations is a lie servicing the social realm.

The picture of the world that is constantly being shown to us has nothing to do with reality because the truth about every single event is buried under a mountain of lies. This system has reached extraordinary success at creating a dissuasion from the menace of democracy and what is really interesting is that this has been achieved under the banner of “freedom”. Reina’s statement
“From all illusions the most dangerous one consists in thinking that there is only one reality”
Paul Watzlawick

25_absence-001© Francisco Reina, from the project Absence

25_absence-007© Francisco Reina, from the project Absence

25_absence-008© Francisco Reina, from the project Absence

With Absence we venture into the forest. […] A place where man abandons all his beliefs, yielding to the uncertainty of destiny. Here, the notion of a forest, as a part of a landscape, ambiguously stands for two separate things at once. It is, on the one hand, a particular physical place and, on the other, it is a figurative representation, a construct of the mind in which the dreams and desires that have made their way inside are participants. Here we are offered an actual forest. This is where our fears, hopes, and desires are hidden. It is a world in which the idea of presence turns absence into a corporeal being.

Absence has now become a black mass whose human or animal silhouette warns us of the real possibility of our desires materializing in one form or another. We are left with the possibility of deciding whether what we see is, was, or will be what we are seeing. Hence, the relation between man and forest is cast within a long running story “a story of looks” in which spectator and scene are directly related and where the subject’s gaze helps to construct the landscape lying right before his or her eyes.Reina’s statement

More from Francisco’s work here

┐ Fernández Rivero, Colector └

esqueletonanaglifoEngland, William, Skeleton leaves, London, 1862

1368634029_596114_1369239532_album_normalMother and daughter, daguerrotipo, c.1860, unanimous

1368634029_596114_1369239019_album_normalJean Laurent, Córdoba, street scene (1870)

1368634029_596114_1369239048_album_normalJoaquín Oses, Suitcase with guitar, 1880

1368634029_596114_1369402923_album_normalVictorian album
1368634029_596114_1369402616_album_normalKusakabe Kimbei, japanese couple, Yokohama 1890. Albúmina coloreada. CFR

“Fernández Rivero (Málaga, 1956), former economist, has been acquiring photographs for a quarter of a century. He first started with those depicting his city, Malaga – today these are one of four parts of the collection -, then expanded his attention to Andalucia and the rest of Spain. His “specialty”, he says, is the XIX century (with the arrival of the revolutionary way to fix reality). “Then the photographs were commercial and documentary, different from what came later at the end of the XIX century, when photographers started to create art” (…)

Fernández is also “an investigator” that from his place on the web – with some 10.000 works already digitized – and his blog, spreads the work of pioneers (…) “I am always acquiring new works, always originals, I don’t miss being a millionaire, this is not like painting”.

excerpt (translation) of yesterday’s article about Fernández Rivero’s collection in El Pais
His blog here

┐ Direct Action └

© Javier Barbancho

LEADERS of a workers’ union in southern Spain staged a massive raid on two supermarkets on Tuesday, filling at least 30 trolleys with staple foodstuffs to give to the poor.

They gave their entire haul to local ‘food banks’ which supply hampers to families who no longer have any income to be able to feed themselves.

The Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores (SAT), or workers’ union of the Andalucía region, staged an uninvited supermarket sweep on Mercadona in Écija (Sevilla) and Carrefour in Arcos de la Frontera (Cádiz).

Their misplaced Robin Hood impression annoyed management at Mercadona, a national firm which is very well known for, and has received great praise for its social responsibility programmes.

All staff are on a minimum net wage of 1,200 euros a month for full-time hours, never work Sundays or bank holidays – except where at least four non-working days are strung together – and some have crèches for children of employees.

Last year alone, the chain created 6,500 new jobs, and it actively seeks to take on employees with mental or physical disabilities, who would otherwise struggle to fend for themselves.

“We resent the fact that we were forced in this way to give to charity, when our own charitable operations close to home are already extremely active and well-developed,” said a representative of Mercadona.

Mayor of Marinaleda (Sevilla), Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, is thought to have been involved in the Mercadona raid.

The regional minister for the interior has given the green light for all parties involved who are found to be arrested and tried.

┐ Cabello / Carceller, II └

© Cabello / Carceller, Off Escena: If I were…, Madrid 2011

Gender Issues1

“How can we explain a term which is in itself so complicated, but which most of society is determined to simplify? How can we explain that the majority prefer to appear not to understand its diversity? And what is it that makes this pretense possible? Why do gender differences still exist as bipolarized and insurmountable categories? Who benefits from the continuation of this binary split? Why is it indispensable to pathologize those who transgress gender boundaries? Why do most of the transgender representations existing in the collective imagination end up appearing exaggerated, as though from a pantomime? What is it people are so afraid of? The prescriptive division of gender leaves us standing before an undisputed frontier, whose existence we not want to recognize in case we find ourselves disputing it. Those who cross it at best begin to sicken … at worst they can be assassinated for “moral reasons”; either way it is clear that the mere fact of crossing that frontier confers a special status on us and converts us into a political problem which demands the intervention of the public authorities. On the other hand it is perfectly clear that if the boundary is not crossed completely and one decides to live undefined, the problem becomes more serious, partly because there is no room in society for these possible new hybrids. We say “new” not because the issue did not previously exist but because, as we have already said, there is no will to discuss this matter in a down to earth and effective way. We can describe it as a new theme because it was not relevant, because its existence was marginalized on the whole deliberately, because it has been insistently dealt with as a subject associated with sexuality, thus reducing its political magnitude. The discussion was postponed until it turned into the last question, to be faced only once the rest of the problems affecting our society were resolved; when it comes down to it, they said, it is just a minority problem. They are right, because the majority of citizens cannot or will not face the fact that one of the principle variables marking their lives and driving their way of interacting with others is something imposed on them, just as they cannot face the fact that they themselves have turned into what is called the “gender police,” a force of law and order which judges others, takes action, and forces them to maintain the current categories. And they do it frequently in daily life, through apparently insignificant gestures, boring conversations, and attitudes which are so assumed they pass unnoticed. The gender police are present when employees are hired, in schools, and at the doctor’s, when tax returns are presented and in the queue for the public toilets … How then can we consider ourselves free when we have naturalized gender and turned our bodies into prisons of identity?

Masculine or feminine. Apparently we have to accept this simplistic choice. It would seem that according to our political systems only predictable persons can be emancipated/emancipable; that is to say, only predictable persons can be social beings with rights. Unpredictable persons—to use the terminology of Carla Lonzi2—are not politically useful, they are instead potentially dangerous, and for this reason they should be relegated to being an invisible caste. In societies based on communication, invisibility ends up being the greatest punishment, as it has as its consequence the loss of effective political rights. This is why the de facto powers have to hinder the possibilities of representation for those who do not wish to take an active part in the social network, and above all, those to whom it wishes to deny—as it is currently doing—their civil rights. Nowadays, presence in the collective imagination is indispensable to gain a voice in the social network; without that visibility one cannot even declare oneself part of the political body or be understood as a part of it.

If we agree with Judith Butler that gender constitutes an imitation without an original, which “imitates the myth of originality itself,”3 building the illusion of an existence of a primary and internal gender, or parodying the mechanism of the aforementioned construction, we can understand that there are many possibilities for the corruption and transgression of the established gender divides, divisions which are fictitiously presented as “natural” from the perspective of the dominant heterosexual. In the field of representation, and more specifically in that of visual representation, the spaces for the construction of possible identities which hinder the ruling assignment of gender are a priori multiple; identities which would distance us from the insistence on the illusory creation of that stable and sexualized self that Butler associates with the management of a regulatory hetero-normative fiction. This regulation however is perfectly in force and deeply anchored in various societies and cultures. If we interpret representation as an action of “presenting oneself again”—of re-presenting oneself in an indefinite postponement of the stability and unity of the generically regulated and ordered presence—we would have in it an apparent ally which would allow us to play with its possibilities and we would make the most of its important impact on the contemporary social space. However, images created from resistance to the hegemonic view and established categories are displaced and interpreted with the help of a spectacular and histrionic key; they are distanced from spaces where a genuinely plural and impartial imagination is being constructed. The receptive echo of these possible images in the critical discourse places them in closed compartments, by which their variables of interpretation are reduced and the opportunity for them to access open readings denied. A redundant order of gender, whose structure remains hidden under the cloak of neutrality—which is in reality impossible—looks after the promotion of all those images which fit into the aforementioned order without flagging, while it condemns the exhaustion caused by any kind of nonconventional imaginary.

As artists we considered the possibility of working with what we denominate “arte degenerado” as early as 2000. In the first place, “Degenerate Art” (Entartete Kunst) was the concept chosen in 1937 by the Nazi regime in Germany to classify and insult productions of avant-garde or modernist art. Secondly, degenerate also means an “individual with an abnormal or depraved mental and moral condition, commonly accompanied by a peculiar physical stigma”4 and has been widely used to refer to individuals with sexual “perversions” (a classification which enfolds in the same concept people who use violence, such as rapists, and people who are on the receiving end of violence from the dominant group, such as homosexuals). Thirdly, despite institutional opposition, in Castilian Spanish the word género has taken root as the literal translation of the English concept of gender. This was the basis on which we decided to use the term degenerado additionally in the sense of genderless in cases where affiliation to a normatively valid feminine or masculine gender was absent. Fourthly, in Castilian Spanish, the word género also relates to the usual classification of the various artistic disciplines: photography, painting, sculpture, video … (in English, the term corresponds to the word “genre”). In all these senses, arte degenerado5 could, as a minimum, cross four frontiers: political, sexual, and social frontiers, and that of destabilization of conservative artistic language.

Can one really jump over the gender barrier? What we do know is that this has scarcely been examined. During the moral revolution that took place in some Western countries in the second half of the last century, the question really was posed as to whether the supremacy of the female and male element had to be equalized; but no one asked about the need to transcend the permanence of this symbolic order, whereby the possibility of upsetting the normative gender was limited only to the field of entertainment, pathology, or adjusted marginalization. It is true that changes have only just begun, and, by simply looking around us (a look that includes, of course, the art world) we realize how far we are from that judicial, economic, and political equality (if any of these categories can be used separately from the others) among those necessarily masculine biological men and those necessarily feminine biological women who constitute the ideological majority. But maybe we are asking the wrong question, because the answer is obvious: we currently lack that freedom, and in the public sphere we are still being identified as a part of one gender or the other. That is to say, it is not a problem that should be analyzed within the private sphere. It is a public question about power relations. Our assignment of gender is, in our identification, documents, which are almost more important than we are, as their possession conditions our mobility through the world; in fact its absence puts our very existence into question. Race is not stated on them (at least not in Spain); neither is economic class (although to show solvency the documents should be accompanied by credit cards). Nor is our religion stated … but the need to know the compulsory gender to which we have been assigned is almost obsessive. Why? Let us go back to the beginning. Who benefits from the continuation of the binary split?”

1 / This text is connected with the text “Archive” in this volume by Cabello/Carceller.
2 / Carla Lonzi, Escupamos sobre Hegel, Editorial Anagrama, Barcelona 1981. Originally published as Sputiamo su Hegel e altri scritti, Rivolta Femminile, Milan 1972.
3 / Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Routledge, London 1990, p. 38.
4 / Real Academia Española, Diccionario de la lengua española, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid 1984, p. 447.
5 / In English it would be a sort of mix between Degenerate Art and Degenderate Art.

source: Atlas of Transformation

║ Alessia Rollo ║

© Alessia Rollo, Untitled, from the series In-Domestico

© Alessia Rollo, Untitled, from the series In-Domestico

© Alessia Rollo, Untitled, from the series In-Domestico

“The photographs of this series are excercises of figures of speech. A calumbur, such as the cactus transformed into a coloured fish that is dying in the silent agony  of a fishbowl,  like a defensless Ophelia. An other is an oximoron with the almond that cries for the spring.

Some images are the fingerprint of a crime, without a trace of blood, because they have been transformed into fine art. The sweet innocent of a child making light fun of the house she inhabits. A fallen angel, who has broken her wings and has lost her sandals because it is no longer a part of this world, but another in which the doormat become cold in the refridgerator and the flowers wither in the jars. The classic look of Balthus, sadistically container.”

Carmen Dalmau

More of Alessia’s work can be seen here

║ Javier Marquerie Thomas ║

9. Beltrán (2007)

© Javier Marquerie Thomas, Beltrán, from the series Flight of Fancy, 2007

10. Vivian (2007)

© Javier Marquerie Thomas, Vivian, from the series Flight of Fancy, 2007

“Flight of Fancy; to daydream.

Between the impetus of infancy and the inertia of maturity. “The best years of our lives”. Years envied, idealized, over rated. An extensive cloud of anecdotes. An accumulation of memories without a clear continuity. In retrospect, a “phase”. During puberty, we are conditioned to successfully confront the “real world”, but instead we live in a disoriented fantasy; hybrid between something that really has been and a tale.

My mother tongue, apart from Spanish, is English which lead me to being an English teacher. A few years back one of my classes was with two businessmen. We had one-hour classes, twice a week. I was twenty, they were sixty; married, with children and one of them with grandchildren. I was going home to a mattress on the floor and pending bills to pay. The irony of this all seemed somewhat funny, mostly however, it saddened me. Not because of the mattress, this I liked, but because of the realisation that I was now a grown-up. From one day to the next that desire for maturity had turned into something tangible and the image I sought of my self was no longer so pleasant to carry.

Flight of Fancy is a catalogue of characters, fictions conceived as sociological documents of a transformation period. After that leap towards utopia: that is adolescence, we land by inertia into a scripted role, only to find a fiction completely alien to out smattering of adulthood.

Inevitably, in the current, we remain.”

Javier Marquerie Thomas

To see more of Javier’s work click here

║ Carmela Garcia ║


© Carmela Garcia, Untitled, from the series Paradises, 2003


© Carmela Garcia, Untitled, from the series Paradises, 2000

“The photograph’s eroticism is not always lesbian yet it obviously belongs to that space among women. Carmela Garcia’s work neither touches on nor focuses on this theme directly, though it does convey discernment to it, questioning and challenging it. Garcia’s work has no political agenda or biographical and existential intentions. Though it could be argued that the subjects of her photographs draw on and involve discourses related to questions of identity and gender, her fictions and fantasies always unfold as representations of desire and pleasure rather than documentary, evidential artifacts or ideological projections. Formally rigorous, perceptive, sceptical of grandiose statement and yet always beautiful, suggestive and often mysterious, Carmela Garcia’s work convey a progressive exploration of the ‘woman’s’ world.

The photographic language of Carmela Garcia expends the borders of photographic practice when it shakes the dust of the knowing smile of the viewer and reminds us that the photograph is an artistic scheme, fictional and not a representation of reality. The work is a narrative, a poetic construct. The images that Carmela Garcia presents us contain a story of the possible that exist only in the work itself.”

Source: Chelouche Gallery

To see more of Carmela’s work click here

║ Alfio Tommasini ║


© Alfio Tommasini, from the series Antonio & Paloma


© Alfio Tommasini, from the series Antonio & Paloma


© Alfio Tommasini, from the series Antonio & Paloma

“Another day dawns on the Manzanares river. In the midst of houses, bridges, construction sites, a beer factory and a soccer stadium there is a container where Antonio and Paloma have lived for the last three years. A Spanish-Gipsy couple that came to Madrid from Asturias in the beginning of the nineties, in the search of a new life.
Antonio is 53 years old. His days are marked by the sunbeams, he has breakfast, tidies up himself and then he goes to work. He walks along Madrid his smile and his car full of scrap. Antonio is man of routine; he peddles his wares in the small street-markets all
morning and then goes home after a trip, perhaps to recover the lost levity.

Paloma is 43 years old, and, like Antonio, she makes each day as it comes. She is a housewife, one of whose principal duties is care of his husband, beside to wait him anxiously when he’s gone. In the afternoon, she rests at his side and spends hours as participant and spectator to her favourite soap operas. They have 4 children to whom every night they devote their last thought before falling asleep.

I was seeking different mode of living in the city and a glimmer that could bring to a new human relation. Destiny and luck brought me to a place where two people have opened their selves and their home to me and where time has made a strong bond of friendship. An environment, sometimes difficult, but always full of tenderness and simplicity. I have spent days and nights with them, in a space so small that it creates its own sense of intensity and intimacy.
A home that is custom made, like maybe all homes, where the quality of life depends on how you live it, and Antonio and Paloma have a love that reaches beyond the space where they open their eyes every morning.”

Alfio Tommasini

To see more of Alfio’s work click here

║Sergio Belinchón ║

© Sergio Belinchóm, Untitled 8, from the series Berlin, an Archaeology, 2005

© Sergio Belinchóm, Untitled 8, from the series Berlin, an Archaeology, 2005

To see more of Sergio’s work click here

║ Naia del Castillo ║

© Naia del Castillo, The Magpie, from the series Offerings & Posessions, 2005

© Naia del Castillo, Archery, from the series About Seduction, 2002

© Naia del Castillo, Untitled, from the series About Seduction, 2003

“The evolution of her work is focused on the relation of woman to her physical and psychological environment. Concepts such as intimacy, seduction, home, domesticity, tradition and body are present in works that surpass the limits of photography and, to a certain point, redefine it. On the one hand, the dresses and many of the objects appearing in the photographs have been created, sewn, thought-up by the artist, to dress the models, to build their images; oftentimes these clothes and objects are exhibited together with the images. On the other hand, sculpture and that sense of arts and crafts traditionally viewed as characteristic of women, such as sewing, are at the origin of her dedication to art. In earlier series she amply developed themes such as the relation of woman to her everyday surroundings, to domesticity, to her mate and in a very subtle way, to sex and she later explored aspects of seduction and domination exercised in relationships.”
Rosa Olivares

To see more of Naia’s work click here

║ J. M. Ballester ║

© J. M. Ballester, Vista desde el hotel, 2005

© J. M. Ballester, Ciclista a contraluz, 2005

“If we cannot change the world, at least we can change the way we see it.”
José Manuel Ballester

“Ballester’s attitude towards his subjects is neither critical nor approving. It is observant and pensive. The stillness of the spaces he photographs is as palpable as the light that filters through them. It is as if the artist is putting the brakes on the speed of a technology changing so quickly we have no time to stop and ask where it is going and for what reason as we scramble to be the first to jump on the train before it has even departed. Norbert Weiner defined cybernetics as “the human use of human beings.” Today we are not so sure whether advances in technology necessarily mean progress or a new dark age characterized by dependency on a fragile system controlled by the few and used by the many.
Nicholas Metivier

To see more of Jose’s work click here

║ Cabello / Carceller ║

© Cabello / Carceller, Power Exercises #6, from the series Power Exercises, 2005

© Cabello / Carceller, Power Exercises #1, from the series Power Exercises, 2005

“In societies openly hostile towards anything they cannot pigeonhole as being “correct”, the construction of a real or mental place where one can live with an acceptable level of freedom becomes an indispensable goal. Each of us builds our own personal utopia wherever we are able.”
Cabello / Carceller

“The work of Cabello / Carceller does not limit its focus to dealing with themes revolving around gender-related codes established and accepted by society, in addition, it provides a thought-provoking defence of the individual search for self-realization. They defend the goodness of difference, in short, of individual freedom. One of the tools in this search is the journey, and though the destination or objective of this journey may not be clear, it will, nevertheless, lead towards the discovery of new realities.”
Pia Ogea (source: Elba Benítez Gallery)

To see more of Cabello / Carceller-s work click here