Insertion tries to implant a minor story inside the historic archive of human knowledge. The original photograph that is amplified as a transparency, corresponds to an instant in the documentary series I took in Habana in August of 1994, during the crisis and Exodus of the “Rafters”. This image, just as my interpretation of the facts, could benefit from the aura of veracity that surrounds the photographic document. Nevertheless, the story I have narrated from my photography can be questioned. The only thing that proves is that the photographer was there in the scene, establishing an emotional link with the protagonists of the tragedy. In this way, this ‘Insertion’ –as it is suggested here-, is an exercise of power that intends to legalize a fiction within the narrative body of history: an action that can only occur within the freedom of space this art gallery offers. Outside of this area, it’s the great powers –the ideologies, the financial capital, or a combination of both – who insert criteria’s, realities and fictions in history, defining the symbolic validity of the image and its inclusion or not, in the pertaining archives of knowledge.
In this installation, the visitor can alter the order of the historical archive, placing the images at will to sketch a personal - affective - chronology of the history of footwear and its representation.
Walking in someone else’s shoes: Identities in Transit
From December 14th, 2013 to February 25th, 2014
At Aluna Art Foundation, Miami.
Curated by: Aluna Curatorial Collective (Adriana Herrera & Willy Castellanos)
With Graciela Sacco (Argentina), Regina José Galindo (Guatemala), Ronald Morán (Salvador), Walterio Iraheta (Salvador), Cecilia Paredes (Perú/Estados Unidos), Felipe Ehrenberg (México/EEUU), Patricio Reig (Argentina/España), Marina Font (Argentina/EEUU), Roberto Huarcaya (Perú), Luis F. Peláez (Colombia), Luis Roldán (Colombia/EEUU), Humberto Castro (Cuba/EEUU), Willy Castellanos (Cuba/EEUU), Andrés Michelena (Venezuela/EEUU), Mario Bellatín (Perú/Colombia), Hugo Moro (Cuba/EEUU), Antuán Rodriguez (Cuba/EEUU), Debra Holt (EEUU), Patricia Schnall-Gutiérrez (EEUU), Alexandra Rowley (EEUU), Gustavo Gavilondo (Cuba/EEUU), Manuel Zapata (Colombia/EEUU), Linda Pongutá (Colombia), and Xavier G-Solis (España).
The Act of Walking in a World Adrift
(Fragment of the text for the exhibition catalog by Adriana Herrera)
The representation of the feet and the diverse manners in which they can be covered appears in rural paintings and its presence, linked to human transit, continues throughout art history until present times. Walking in someone else’s shoes: Identities in Transit gathers together a group of contemporary works that revolve around the transhumance as a method, and that reflect the restless landscape of individuals and communities who walk in turbulent times.
Many works include the concrete representation of the shoe and a poetry of it which is linked to individual transit, to intimate forms of memory, and last but not least to the course of collective history, including the migration routes, and the traces of exodus or a psychogeographic vision of the scenery of disappearances.
Altogether, the works exhibited in the headquarters of the Downtown Miami Aluna Art Foundation show a crossing of paths that in a certain way divide all of the Americas, given the fact that the majority of the works have been created by artists from different generations and cities, from Buenos Aires to New York. Nevertheless, their vision crosses the local to cover the global transits of a time of uncertainty, where a new form of nomadism is extended.
The curatorial proposal was developed to accompany the works with precise personal texts: each artist narrates the stories of the represented transits. As a playful and pedagogic element, the exhibition includes various shoeboxes that contain theoretical references ranging from the meaning that walking had for the Aristotelians and Peripatetic, to fragments Guy Debord’s situationist Drift Manifesto, or the reflections of Michael de Certeau on the privilege of walking. Similarly, the spectators will find a wall with references to famous art works that allude to the act of walking and to the shoes as a metonymic object (…)
(…) A documentary image by Willy Castellanos registers the instant in which a raftsman, the anonymous protagonist of the Cuban Exodus of 1994, hands over his sandals as he boards the raft, and projects it in the wall as a shadow of a vanishing history. Meanwhile the limits of the interpretation of the scene are exposed in the accompanying text, the gesture inserts in an archive that reconstructs the history of the world and the relationship between memory and power since the times of Tutankhamen until the present, with images of shoes taken from the internet and available for spectators to arrange them as they wish (…)