Luis Berríos-Negrón, Visiting the Mutá Lambô ye Kaiongo Terreiro with Tata Mutá Imê, telling the saint of time, Tambú, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, 2014.
12 Jun 2014 - 31 Jan 2017
OPENING 12 June 2014, 6 pm
A project of DISTRICT Kunst- und Kulturförderung in collaboration with Malzfabrik.
Curator: Susannne Husse
Opening hours: in accordance with our current office hours.
NEXT / Malzfabrik
Carson Chan: What is “that mental landscape”?
Luis Berríos-Negrón: The mental landscape could be interpreted as that mysticism, as how we think of cosmology. It is this unanswered question, an energy that we still don’t quite understand. I try to loosen those frameworks by not calling it neither religion, nor mysticism, nor spiritualism, nor cosmology, but by saying “that mental landscape”, that which connects us and the forms of knowledge that bring us together. And that’s why I call it an architectonic, which I feel is a productive term in order to deal with these unknowns.
CC: And then the reticulation is the practice of this landscape?
LBN: It’s the practice and how it is mediated, how it’s disseminated. How it connects through either the matter of making visible some unseen or some invisible condition. And then there’s the architectural, which is the physical manifestation of that.
CC: For District you’re going to be producing a permanent piece for the stairwell of an office building, basically transforming the whole building into part of your work. A work, that deals very much with the casting of shadows. One of the quotes that you used in the description was from Marcel Duchamp talking with Pierre Cabanne in 1966 about how in each casting of a shadow of a dimension, you get the dimension before it – so, in three dimensions, you get two dimensions, in four you get three…
LBN: I was concentrating on the staircase as a transitional space and its relationship to the elements of motion and time. The Nonsphere series initially entitles my exploration with greenhouses. The greenhouse can be seen itself as a boundary object for what’s inside and what’s outside. What does inside and outside mean, especially in the context of climate change? (…) What I’m trying to find with the greenhouse is the matter of temporal scales. It’s nothing new, that the human condition has completely disconnected itself from biological time, and cosmic time through modernity. The idea of motion. Having plants dropping, hangers coming from one direction and then crawlers coming from the other direction through this tesseract geometry, as a web of shadows projecting a polytope structure is how I’m trying to make visible, to make a preparation to see that intersection of those time scales. This goes very much side by side with the work that I’m doing for the Biennale in Brazil. There I’m collaborating with a condomblé spiritual leader. Condomblé is the Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American religion that fundamentally uses syncretism to exist. In this case, that means that African slaves hid their religion behind Catholic Christian iconography to look like they’re worshiping Catholic entities.
CC: A form of practice that is hidden or stealthy or strategically practiced behind something else.
LBN: Yes. Elusive. One of the most important saints or effigies, figures of the Angolão Paquetan nation (practice of candomblé followed by the community I am working with), is the saint of time, Tambú. When I started talking to the group’s spiritual leader, Tata Mutá Imê, he spoke about how time is what it is, and how time is erratic, and time is elastic, and he reaffirmed that it is not chronological, and that their medicinal garden signifies that. We’ve become unconscious to this matter of the different time scales, we’ve disconnected ourselves from them. How do we dismantle human-centricity in relationship to what we would like to think of as a natural phenomenon?
Please download the full version of the conversation between Luis Berríos-Negrón and Carson Chan on the occasion of Nonsphere XIV here.
Nonsphere XIV by Luis Berríos-Negrón is the seventh project in the series ArtAndArchitecture and has been developed for the staircase of NEXT, a building by architect Jürgen Sawade from 1994, which is now part of the Malzfabrik ensemble. Within the frame of ArtAndArchitecture DISTRICT since 2011 co-produces and presents site specific art projects which yield experimental perspectives at the intermediate zones between architecture, urban and social space, technology and art.