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Wohnlabor Project Gallery Space
Issue #77 Jun - Aug 2010
Elisa Rodriguez Campo
From September 12 to October 10, 2009, the Wohnlabor Project Gallery Space in Berlin, Germany, presented the project entitled, Viaje a Dedo Sin Destino Urbano (Journey by Thumb Without Urban Destiny) by Venuezuelan artist Marco Montiel-Soto. It was a multidisciplinary exhibition in which photography, installation, and sound landscape were effectively merged so that the spectators could reconstruct the disperse memories in this artist¿s mind.
In 2002, Marco embarked on a singular journey through Europe that began one Parisian summer day and ended in Barcelona at the end of that year. It was a journey that acquired exponential connotations when narrated through the filter of memory and became a testimonial version of the events.
The exhibition outlines a path that opens into multiple directions, as the visitor is able to freely walk through the exhibition space intermittingly listening to the narration of this journey. Five sound landscapes have been disseminated and alternated with anecdotic and dense souvenirs, which are added to the remainder of the elements to represent the staging of Marco¿s memories.
It is an opportunity to enter into the most unsuspected crevices of Montiel-Soto¿s memory as we listen to his voice-over repeating, time after time, the remembered phrases that shape stories into short narrations on his random encounters with one person after another and his willingness to continue moving forward in his journey.
Viaje a Dedo sin Destino Urbano must be understood through the lens of its performatic approach, while it does not subscribe to a rigid project and ¿ unlike performance ¿ is not designed according to a preconceived script, the fortuitous paths that shape the direction of the journey outline a free cartography that makes its way, like a delta, not solely covering the territory of that journey, but facilitating the creation of a sort of memory map whose paths become more essential because of the vulnerability of remembering.
This proposal establishes a travel itinerary in present time, and its direction depends solely on a compass whose arrow is the artist¿s arbitrarily pointing finger. It cannot be a logbook because the idea behind it is much denser than that, given that the anarchical survey of the territory it covers is elevated to an intricate itinerary of a posteriori remembrances.
Viaje a Dedo sin Destino Urbano takes place in an elastic time that tenses with vague memories and stretches with a souvenir, a postcard, some mail with anecdotes, or amulets. Memories that superimpose themselves on each another, territories of perimeters so diffuse that it would be impossible to establish a line between what is true and a version of the truth that has grown stronger over time. ¿Are you thinking that I´m just the construct of another memory and I don´t remember¿ (Bis), he recites time and time again. Often, this sensation of confusion makes him unsure of whether he even took a picture, whether he imagined it, or whether he just remembers it. How many times did he arrive at and leave from Amsterdam¿s central station?
Coldness, friendship, solitude, protection, confusion, illusion, passion, and hallucinations occupy the comings and goings of memories that sometimes are lucid, but that at other times are unreliable. It is, nevertheless, a journey that can only be taken through his memories.
Viaje a Dedo sin Destino Urbano subscribes to the most contemporary notion of art, characterized by the predominant role of the traveler and the ensuing metaphor for mobility.
This proposal takes us to a multidisciplinary lecture of the fragments found in two extremely fertile territories: traveling, and the stormy territory of the remembered journey, anecdotes written in soluble ink on the walls of Montiel-Soto¿s memory.
Marco Montiel-Soto is the quintessential radicant, a metaphor coined by Nicolás Bourriaud that embodies the nomad, the migrant, the flâneur, or the tourist. Just as the radiant plants have superficial roots and spread rapidly but superficially across a territory, Viaje a Dedo sin Destino Urbano can be embarked upon again by anyone visiting this exhibit who wishes to accompany Montiel-Soto.
Although an outline has been drawn, and a subject and process of subjectivation are also in place, Marco Montiel-Soto gradually creates the stories as he remembers and describes his own trajectory. His ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances suddenly conditions the direction of his ¿destiny.¿ His openness to change, his ability to make immediate decisions, together with the need of leaving behind his singularity in order to enter into conflict with others, represent the main characteristics of this journey.
The most recent artistic currents insist on recognizing the territory in a different way. To explore a world practically completely monitored by satellites, technology, and GPS navigation and other gadgets could appear contradictory at first. Nevertheless, these rich, anecdotal experiences and expeditions are precisely what afford true meaning to the creativity of an artistic proposal. This wandering across a territory is precisely what enriches, inspires, and elicits endless reasons in contemporary art.
Marco Montiel-Soto invites us to join him in a journey that he reinterprets through recollection, as this dual excursion becomes part of art itself.
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