Like a World That Crumbles When No One Is Watching

From Nov 10, 2021 to Jan 29, 2022

Curated by Bartlebooth

As we approach a space that has yet to exist, we can still feel all of its power embodied in the materiality of the present, lurking in its cracks and margins. This space cannot be projected from any other coordinates than the external present and yet, at the same time, its features make it impossible to sketch with any precision. It is imbedded in accelerated narratives, fiber-optic tentacles that extend beneath our feet and materialize in both everyday objects and actions and in the urban matrixes and open-pit mines swathed in the promising tales of a cloud anchored to the mineral strata of silicon, copper, and other metals. Like A World That Crumbles When No One Is Watching speaks to us of the ethereal materiality of the present in order to make tangible the implications of our quotidian digital actions, which traverse all sorts of domestic, urban, and planetary infrastructures. The innocent scrolling of our fingers on the illuminated glass of our devices actually mobilizes forces with global effects and implications, capable of altering conceived notions of the domestic, the urban, the territorial, and the corporeal.

Peering into the polished black mirror of the extreme present, Like A World That Crumbles When No One Is Watching returns our gaze and transfers the responsibility for our actions—as trivial as they may be—back onto us. This gaze is constructed through sensors, electrical pulses, and machinic organs; this reality is read through information processing algorithms. As a daily occurrence, we are unaware of this gaze, but it helps us to blur own own limits that “descends through the barriers of time […] like a world that crumbles when no one is watching. Fusion with the ultimate machine is complete. The future is now past.”

Translating (with) Frank is an audiovisual piece by Diego Morera. Frank, the algorithm that organizes the restaurant orders for the Deliveroo company, reveals a whole series of urban and architectural implications through its reading of an urban matrix that prioritizes optimal food delivery times. This piece exposes the ongoing transformations and the overlapping temporalities, economies, architectures, and conflicts behind this innocent application.

Homeschool, by Simone C. Niquille/Technoflesh, proposes a re-reading of domestic space—or rather, what domestic space has the potential to become—from the viewpoint of a domestic robot. The video not only reflects on the learning mechanisms of these non-humans that are increasingly found in our homes, but also on the mechanisms of vision and representation the robots use to make sense of the physical world.

Mobile Server, by Azahara Cerezo, is an exercise in materialization of a seemingly immaterial reality: web servers. A battery, a processor, a photovoltaic plate, and an internet connection are the essential elements required to build a server capable of hosting its own network. Along with those are a web camera and a set of mirrors inside the room that periodically record the situation and changes at the server’s location. In juxtaposition with the immateriality of the cloud, the black box of Mobile Server opens up to suggest possible alternative ways of relating to the data we produce.

Ghosting Image and Espejo mágico (Tezcatl), by Gloria López Cleries, represents the two scales between which the other artworks travel: the territorial and the corporeal, both of which are invoked with every scroll of our fingers upon our mobile telephone screens. On one hand, López Cleries presents a piece of obsidian carved in Mexico into a realistic replica of an iPhone 7. On the other, a silkscreen image made with inks that react to the body heat of our hands to invisibilize the image of a coltan mine—one of the essential minerals used to create the digital environment that surrounds us.