Iban oscuro por entre las sombras [they roam darkly amidst the shadows], by Núria Gómez Gabriel is the winning project of the fifth call of the curatorial research program Encura, which is organized by Hangar, La Casa Encendida and hablarenarte. Nuria’s project aims to align and bring together artists-researchers, writers, philosophers and other agents of the cultural context to investigate practices and methodological processes that update the bases of gothic materalism.
Iban oscuro por entre las sombras [they roam darkly amidst the shadows] is a nocturnal research, a twilight or a guerrilla of insurrection. A series of days of coexistence with lunar knowledge, which is opposed to daytime and rational knowledge -in the same sense that the Gothic tradition is a response to the desire for an encyclopedic understanding of the world that characterized the old Enlightenment-, to then experiment with the Wiki as a curatorial tool from a perspective close to theory-fiction. But although the Wiki is a format not very far from the encyclopedic understanding of the world we were talking about, here we propose to queerize its structures and contents, to estrange them, and to play with its hyperlink logics. The project wants to pervert the system of organization of contents, as well as the way they are narrated, but it is also an invitation to ask ourselves why hyperlinks are always rooted in the word, and never in the spaces between words or even in the shadows of these.
As in the gothic literature of the 19th century, plagued by haunted architectures, ghosts, vampires and reappeared, today’s technified world coexists with algorithms, nano-robots, cyborgs, clones, transgenic beings and other monstrosities that by their configuration overflow, challenge and blur the limits of what is properly human. In this context, Gothic Materialism -explained by Mark Fisher in Fliteline Constructs: Gothic Materialism Cybernetic Theory-Fiction (exmilitary collective, 2018)-, would try to observe what are the assemblages between organic and non-organic, living and undead matters, capable of creating an agency that no longer belongs to the body itself. Starting from the question of what links we can create, recognize, with other social and (bio)technological beings, we propose a space of collective material speculation that would not try to oppose humanity to technique or reality to fiction, but to contrast different carnality as the basis of contested political projects.
At the methodological level, the device aims to observe and activate the neo-gothic imaginaries of current artistic practices from research methods from cultural studies, literatures and artistic practices to then experiment with its elements through embodied research, material speculative practices and theory-fiction.
– Transdisciplinary investigation on neo-gothic imaginaries in current artistic practices in the Madrid-Barcelona context. Exploration of their forms of production or creation of meanings and their diffusion in current societies.
– Situated and embodied research. Feminist epistemology in art research. The project is aligned with the feminist critique of scientific epistemology through situated knowledge, which bets on genealogies, on the irruption of bodies and diversity in the specific spaces of production and exchange of knowledge. In this sense, the curatorial mediation during the meetings will allow us to open other temporalities and collaborative work flows affected by the night. One of the objectives of the project is to be able to excite artistic practices through methods of embodied research ranging from role-playing to magic.
– Collaborative research, speculative practices and theory-fiction. From the processes and materials of the convened artist practices and the understanding of their contents, some of their components will be selected to twist them and experiment, in the field of literature and programming, with their fields of relations. We understand that theory-fiction and material speculative practices, as research methods, have the capacity to destabilize certain social order and configure ethical and political alternatives beyond the myths and fictions that currently cohere the symbolic reality.
Practices and research areas
Gólem XXI (Algritmorio)
In 1823, the textile worker Lazare Lanain, published his only work under the title La Science kabbalistique. The manual consists of a classification of the seventy-two angels who rule the earth, with an indication of their respective attributions and how to invoke them. Emulating the structure of that nineteenth-century grimoire, Colectivo Juan de Madre intends to update its objectives, classifying the seventy-two main algorithms that govern our digital chores. To do so, they will use the conceptual framework proposed by Alejandra López, Toni Navarro and Mario Santamaría in their study on the rights of digital bodies; paying attention to the materiality of the Net, and understanding it as a gourmet extension of our own organism. As a last objective, they propose to build the foundations of a new cabalistic materialism, with a socialist spirit, that will serve as a literacy tool for us ourselves, an amorphous mass of wordless subalterns, users and web at the same time.
Gilles de Rais
Gilles de Rais is known for his infamous and insatiable need to commit heinous crimes. The marshal of France, once Joan of Arc’s right-hand man, after her death, began a series of crimes against children that ended in an orgy of the unnamable, associating his name with the accursed. Marian Garrido explores violence, the abject and evil as a hardcore aesthetic experience. A positioning radically sensitive to dirt, fungus, dead skin, the unnatural, the survival of weeds, the triumph of speed and noise, malformations, the resentment of nettles, landfills with uralite and the smell of burnt tires. To this end, following in the wake of the medieval serial killer and continuing his exploration of the accelerated culture of consumption through the energy drink, he brings us closer to objects impregnated with sacredness and blood, infantile perversions and clothes for the street gangs of the future. Part of her line of exploration observes the shadows of Gilles de Rais in relation to the algorithms of child grooming on Youtube that give rise to surreal, post-human and neo-gothic violence.
Paco Chanivet‘s approach will focus on the material speculation of a strange, irrational and non-Euclidean architectural art style that takes as its starting point his short story Monema de Sol Gimiente (2020). Primarily, his writing or textual configuration will function as a “pseudo-cathedral” created by a Gothic insurrection movement. To this end, he will not limit himself to describing the aesthetic aspects of it, but will inquire into the creation of an imaginary or fictional context that will intertwine dates, influences, materials, conflicts, relevant names, etc. And in turn, this architecture will be, formally and structurally, the gateway to the body of research that feeds his own artistic practice (gnosticism, science, theory fiction, cyberpunk, horror, humor).
Invocation of Universal Menstrual Energy
Ana Llurba proposes to explore gothic materialism not as a motif but as a writing methodology. Her practice will focus on the creation of a choral fiction in which a medium, Agatha Selene, a character in her new novel, who belongs to a new age sect called Universal Menstrual Energy, performs an invocation to Gaia, Gea, Tangaroa, Spider-Woman and all the names of mother Earth to communicate with what is dead or almost dead in her as a result of the impact of human action. And through interior monologues he will elaborate a choral dialogue with species, mythological concepts and mineral substances that are extinct or about to become so: a Dodo bird, Hope, which has been hidden at the bottom of Pandora’s box and does not want to come out, a lithium extraction mine in the Argentine highlands…
Lines of blood and circles of time: an attempt at a vampire radio soap opera
Andrea González and Elif Özbay will focus their research on the idea of blood in the vampiric and its relationship with time. As a starting point, they want to revisit blood and its ties. How the vampiric is a territory of biopolitical negotiation in which normative blood relations are distorted, crossing the borders of otherness, diluting the biological family and proposing another type of filial relations, literally liquid. Its physical properties, as a compound of immortality, as mutation, as a contaminated substance, or cursed, as a magical fluid. Its physicality and visual presence, its symbolism. Circular time and its incarnations, through the vampiric mortal-immortal conflict, the references to mythology through visualizations such as the ouroboros. The scenarios and poblematics in relation to death and life, to the intermediate states, to consciousness, to the conception of history, to its linearity and narration. As a second iteration of their collaboration, they will rehearse ways of fictionalizing these investigations and embodying themselves in different voices. The first notes for a possible vampire radio soap opera.
DEJARSE MORIR [Let yourself die]
Raisa Maudit raises a vampire mythology to rewrite the course of a history written from the power that questions the fiction built to sustain a history of invasion and death. DEJARSE MORIR is a sound exploration in the key of a cantata with voice. The proposal narrates a new vampire mythology through a decolonial revision of the history of the Auritas; inhabitant tribe of the island of La Palma, where the artist comes from.
The origin, characteristics and culture of the Auritas are clearly or certainly unknown, being all the records subsequent to the conquest in 1493, or of some previous navigators and attempts of invasion or subjugation, attributing to them origins that go from North African tribes like the Hawwara or even the Celts or in an undemonstrable stage, and especially fictionalized, with Vikings. The Aurites are described by these outsiders and assailants as having a certain monstrifying character and an intense relationship with death. There remains therefore the record of a tribe described as a people of great size and bellicose character, extremely white skin in comparison with the rest of the tribes of the islands, who were in the habit of “letting themselves die” when sadness, illness or disappointment manifested itself, and they asked to die being then taken by their relatives to caves where they were left sealed by rocks inside to die there alone and in silence. This society is also described as a people in which women were the warlords; those who designed the battles, being especially deadly. Called in some of these records as the Amazon Palms. These women battled fiercely and in many cases they died killing and in other cases when captured in battle they were subjected to extreme tortures that included the amputation of limbs or the mutilation of breasts and genitals.
DEJARSE MORIRSE is part of The Vampire Manifesto, a larger project on which the artist has been working for 5 years, and which proposes a complete revision of the idea of vampirism as a possible reality in response to violence, the idea of death, psychic pain and other characteristics attributed from the metaphor to the idea of a monster a thousand times explored. This production in which DEJARSE MORIRSE is included builds this branched story from biographical components, representations from the economic, biology or literature and film through multiple pieces of performance, video, music, sculpture, installation, novel or textile design.
GROGUILAB or NOCTURN PHARMACOPEIA
Ángela Millano and Blanca G. Terán (aka dj_Sônia) collaborate in a project whose main axis is the liturgy of sleeping. A sleeping-with or doing-sleeping-to-others as a meeting place in the shadow, in the soft, in the unknown. They think it from the body, be it insomniac, unconscious, caregiver or dreamer. And their exploration has different names depending on the device they deploy: sometimes Mixtape Suavecito, others Dormódromo, Prueba de sonido.
On this occasion, dj_Sônia wants to activate, from the situated practice, a pharmacopoeia of palliative substances for insomnia of varying intensity. With this, they propose to investigate the composition, the states and the legal and political frameworks of these substances through a context of nocturnal collectivity; to inquire about the possibility that these key-substances offer as an opening to the dark, to the not knowing and to the monstrosities to come.
Her practical proposal is an invitation to let ourselves be possessed by the night to talk about it later, being fragile. An invitation to delegate to foreign entities (substances, voices, lullabies…) the possibility of falling surrendered to elucidate, collectively, if the fact of feeling accompanied (by any of these entities) is a way to facilitate the passage to the other side.
The night and its eclipses
From 26th to 27th February: Sala Ricson, Hangar, Barcelona
Night of exchange, sharing and collective speculative practices.
With Andrea González, Elif Özbay, Raisa Maudit, Colectivo Juan de Madre and Ana Llurba.
From March 5 to 8: Plandogau, Lleida
Night of role-playing and writings.
With Andrea González, Elif Özbay, Raisa Maudit, Colectivo Juan de Madre and Paco Chanivet.
March 13-14: Planta Alta, Madrid.
Exchange evening, sharing of practices, presentation and review of the collective research process, speculative practices and writings. With Marian Garrido, Blanca G. Terán, Ángela Millano and other agents to be confirmed.
March 20 to 28: La Casa Encendida, Madrid.
Opening of the residency to the public. Reading of the writings and much more on La Casa Encendida’s radio.
At the end of her residency in Madrid and Barcelona, Núria Gómez Gabriel will write an article for the Curators’ Network’s Art Spy blog.
In Hangar, she will participate in the May’s Paratext.
Graphics: Blanca G. Terán
Encura V residency program is organized by Hangar, La Casa Encendida y Planta Alta - hablarenarte. Funded by the Ministry of Culture and Sports with the collaboration of Fundació Banc Sabadell.