THE ARCH OF POSSIBLE FUTURES2015Prototype - rattan bow + five arrows
One could describe this as a very minimalist piece organised around a two meters long stem of “rattan”. This is a very light and resistant material similar to bamboo used for the production of many indigenous handicrafts such as bows. The piece of rattan is suspended and tended by metal cables in three points. Ceiling, walls and floor. The tension produces a force of around 100 kg that bends the rattan into what resembles an indigenous bow. Linked to the cables is a single arrow heading in the wrong direction. Two other elements complete the installation: a bunch of arrows, which stand next to the Arch, waiting to be possibly shot, and small children’s bows and arrows, used during the opening performance and ready to be wielded again by visitors but only in interaction with children. In that sense, the children using the kid bows are enacting the “trajectories” of possible futures and bringing their energy to desacralize the space of the exhibition.
The tended arrow on the Arch seems to be directed towards the back instead of going forward. Isn’t this in antithesis to the idea of “futures” comprised in the piece?
In the installation, the arrow aiming in the wrong direction has different meanings. One is definitely linked to my work on 20th century, addressing the total annihilation – political, moral, ethical, economic – of the western idea of progress. In that sense, one could say that the 20th century destroyed not only the idea of progress, but the very idea of “future”. The rattan makes the piece look very indigenous, recalling the anthropological critic – one could refer to Lévi-Strauss’ on-going effort to challenge the inherited vision that there is “historical cultures”, cultures and societies that write history and “primitive cultures”. The structure of this work tries to put forward this idea of relativity between cultures and challenges in a very naïve way this idea that “future” is ahead, that future is to come. The arrow pointing out in the wrong direction creates trouble and vertigo, feelings that I have consistently been working on. What is going forward? What is past? Instead of a classical time mapping, which places the future forward and the past behind, this piece embraces a more cyclical and mythical definition of time.
Thus, the arrow aiming backwards is actually going forward?
In Quechua and other few indigenous languages, speakers seem to represent the past as in front of them and the future as behind them. This metaphorical reversal goes beyond figures of speech to gestures and body language, suggesting that the Aymara people have an entirely different concept of time. It can be said that the future stands behind them because it is linked to the ancestors who determinate it. It is always by referring to tradition and looking behind that one can project himself. This mythical conception of time – time as myth – is very much in opposition with the idea of modernity that demands to let behind, overlook and destroy the past in order to “make” the future.