BlackPoint Text by Sandra Pinardi
MAAS Performance Presents
“Black Point” by Muu Blanco
Text by Sandra Pinardi.
MUU explains it: “a black circle surrounded by white materializes the image of a bullet piercing through the human body. It is also the vanishing point for blood and bodily fluids. Blackpoint recreates the focal spot that symbolizes the beginning and the end of an object’s track that breaks unexpectedly and violently in a body. Entrance and exit, greeting and farewell, and evident and indelible seal”. Blackpoint is, precisely, that “black hole” that is able to absorb and dissolve –in an unpredictable instant- the stillness of our everyday and its certainties, its rituals and possibilities.
Venezuela is heterogeneous, not because of its cultural or racial mixture, but because it is made of shreds, of disperse and diverse narratives that overlap, oppose and even obliterate each other, that deny and afflict violence upon themselves. In these last years that fragmentary condition has been increased, dividing the social body in fractions that disavow one another, so the nation –that text built by and for everyone, from agreements and symbolic practices- became unreachable, splitting and plunging itself between an ungraspable, nostalgic identity and an insufficient, fissured, impossible everyday.
Blackpoint, the performance in two movements by MUU Blanco, wanders trough the cracks and wounds of that unreachable nation that is Venezuela nowadays, amongst-us and for everyone, and does it by installing himself precisely in the arduous site of its tensions, disconnections and controversies and reflecting on two antagonistic narratives: on the one hand, the heroic which deals with identity and patriotic values (allegorized by the beauty of its landscapes and is territory) and, on the other, the raw sonic and visual attestation of the violence -and repression- that abducts and taints its own social body (documented in the events that occurred in Caracas, from February and March 2014). Amongst these two narrations, one of them symbolic and aesthetic (the landscapes) and the other being broken and elusive (the facts), MUU’s work installs itself as a calling, almost an outcry, to starkly acknowledge the place where one lives and the place each one of us occupies in it, to reflect on the both personal and collective task of fighting against the diffuse ways in which evil is present, beyond our own wishes and personal opinions.
In this calling, this outcry, MUU is accompanied by Rüdiger Safranski who, in his book Evil or the drama of freedom, undertakes a dense historical reflection on the ways in which evil occurs in the world and how man, in the search of its own possibilities of becoming human tries to counteract it. In this historical task of facing evil Rüdiger Safranski grants art a meaningful role, not because of its capacity to produce beauty (and with it, good, as Plato would say) but, on the contrary, because art is able to gather –or funnel- in present life –and in presence itself- the intensities, potentialities and risks that are necessary to bring into play –that is, make way to- freedom, that difficult and fragile faculty that allows us to act being what we are. As a discourse, Blackpoint thematizes freedom, its weaknesses, choices and liabilities, and does so by facing that unavoidable –and also irrepressible- reality that situates us as part of a socio-political weave that surpasses us but in which we are not only participants but responsible.
That is why Blackpoint is not exactly a performance but a sort of “collective action” in which all spectator will be unavoidably an active participant who will have to deal with the contradictions displayed, that will forcefully answer to sounds as is absorbed by images, its sequences, overlaps and inconsistencies. In this sense, Blackpoint proposes itself as an event –as a happening- in the most literal sense of the word: it is a collective –public and political- space in which something common is imposed and agitated; something n common builds stories, encounters, citations, clashes and meetings.
As we said, Blackpoint two different narratives polemicize: at first, beautiful sequences of paintings –landscapes- recover the “heroic deed” of giving birth to a nation on an Eden-like land, a land filled with riches and beauties, a land so generous that has been able to obliterate any other form of civic constitution. The landscape, so, represents in Venezuela not only a pictorial genre, but a symbolic formula from which the nation becomes potentiality, heritage and welfare: the landscape is at the same time an identity statement and a model for existence. This heroic sequence is accompanied by a musical fusion in which heterogeneity affirms its own strength, and where the Latin substrate is at the time founding and fundamental. An introduction of joy and recognition, of appearance and festiveness: a commemorative start in which MUU attends his possessions, his assets –as a person and as a member of a social body- with the lucid irony of the one who knows that there, in the activity of becoming a territory, danger and impotence are also housed.
This first narrative is broken, in a demand for assistance –in an emergency- by that in crescendo testimony, by real screams and shots there heard, by a swarm of images captured on the streets, in which the insurmountable fractures and wounds of a rickety and decomposed social body are shown. This testimony, far from being structured as a “narrative” inscribes itself precisely as the place in where there is no longer possible to narrate, where stories are dismantled and dissolved, where the amongst-all shows itself as impossible and freedom, in any of its possible assumptions, is fractured. Superimposed on the heroic narrative of landscapes, the images and sounds of protests come to show how what has been outraged and violated is life itself: the life of this social body that we are, more and more, ceasing to be; a social body that faces and cripples itself. In the end, as MUU announces, what remains is the Blackpoint, that bottomless absence, that void, that calls on each one for an answer to rebuild the limits of what is doable in order to assume strangeness before ourselves and the others.
Sandra Pinardi, Caracas, 2014. Translated by Daniel Esparza, New York, 2014.
This exhibition supported by Carmen Araujo Arte, Caracas, Venezuela and MAAS | Madragoras Art Space, New York.