« If Boa Vista », with Armando Andrade Tudela at LiveInYourHead

If Boa Vista

Simon Collet, Maud Constantin, Camille Dumond, Sabrina Fernandez, Simon Haenni, Aurelie Jacquet, Aldric Lamblin, Quentin Lannes, Mathilde Lehmann, Sarah Margnetti, Pierre Szczepski, Seyoung Yoon, Armando Andrade Tudela

Jeudi 8 janvier, dès 18h


Institut curatorial de la HEAD – Genève


« Il reste un objet, moins lourd que la forêt, plus lourd que le papier ; moins corruptible que la terre grouillante, plus corruptible que la géométrie ; plus mobile que la savane, moins mobile que le diagramme que je peux même téléphoner – si Boa Vista disposait d’un fax ! »

Bruno Latour, Circulating Reference. Sampling the Soil in the Amazon Forest

If Boa Vista est une exposition d’une soirée. Elle rend compte de la méthodologie particulière développée par l’artiste Armando Andrade Tudela avec un groupe d’étudiant-e-s du programme Work.Master, dans le cadre d’un travail d’une année et demi au large des espaces de l’école. L’exposition est le résultat un processus singulier de traduction d’un environnement dans un autre, à savoir le Café du Cinéma, à Genève – lieu qui fut le sujet et objet de travail du groupe – et, LiveInYourHead, l’institut curatorial de la HEAD – Genève. En prenant appui sur la lecture d’un texte du penseur Bruno Latour, portant sur la circulation du savoir scientifique dans le cadre d’une expédition de botanistes dans la forêt amazonienne, les artistes s’interrogent sur les formes de codification de l’expérience. Au travers d’œuvres spécifiquement réalisées pour l’espace d’exposition, If Boa Vista est, tel le miroir abstrait de l’expérimentation initiale, est une exposition-diagramme, géométrisation du récit éphémère de cette dérive temporaire au cœur d’une forêt de signes.

« It is lighter than the forest, yet heavier than the paper; it is less corruptible than the vibrant earth, but more corruptible than geometry; it is more mobile than the savanna, but less mobile than a diagram that I could send by phone if Boa Vista had a Fax Machine. »

Bruno Latour from Circulating Reference, Sampling the Soil in the Amazon Forest 

a) If Boa Vista had a fax machine….But it didn’t. So all the samples obtained by the team of botanist that Bruno Latour  was following around the Amazonia had to be first codified, arranged, reduced, packed and then, only then, sent out from Boa Vista by plane.

b) For year and a half we had developed work based on being at the Cafe du Cinema in Geneva. We start going there after working sessions because food and drinks were cheap. Gradually it became our working environment until it became the subject of our work.

The perception of a cloud of smoke on the horizon and then of the burning field and then of the half-extinguished cigarette that produced the blaze

is another way of representing this mechanism. A sort of reverse recognition process by which the space you go to distance yourself from work (a cafe, a bar) becomes the subject of your work.

c) Bruno Latours’ photo essay is about many things, but it is primarily about codifying experience. In the text there’s an area of the Amazon forest that a group of botanists need to examine, sample and diagnose. The overwhelming experience of being at the heart of the tropics needed to be re-formatted into concise information capable of being understood by (almost) everyone in the botanist field.

In essence, the text of Bruno Latour is about how we expand and transform the parameters of experience until they become pure, objective data.

d) But it is also about developing a methodology. Understanding the different routes through which experience could be rendered and translated. The exhibition at the gallery Live In Your Head is an exercise of rendering and translating one environment into another completely different environment. If the Cafe du Cinema was our designated microscopic forrest then what you will see at the gallery will represent its opposite: a diagram of that environment. A geometrization.

e) We have used the text of Bruno Latour as a guideline but we have read it the wrong way. We have read it as a text about art. This has been done on purpose, pushing the text from the field of Science and Technology studies into the field of Art studies and from there into the space of art practice. The text as a weapon, as a practical tool that has to be read for your own practical benefit: for a year and a half we have deliberately choose to imagine that all ideas come from an elusive forest.

f)  But the reality was that they came from (being at) the Cafe du Cinema. And the real exercise was on how to develop those ideas until they foster an inner logic in correspondence with the place we were working from. Proposals and works needed to be conceived specifically and/or transformed accordingly. This was our working pattern

and the most incomprehensible thing in the world would be for the pattern to remain incomprehensible

g) So this show and the accompanying publication is our attempt to alter the specificity of our methodology and make it comprehensible in a gallery context. The works glued to the walls of LIYH show four perspectives of a extremely schematic and artificial rendering of the Cafe du Cinema. In them you will find re-formatted versions of some of the works discussed during the last year and a half. All works have been adapted to fit these delirious diagrams and their material reality had been disintegrated (flattened, distorted, neglected) in order to construct a new narrative and, by extension, a new experience. The book, on the other hand, interweaves Bruno Latours’ complete photo essay with images of our working process at the Cafe du Cinema. Analogies and differences become immediately evident.