‘How far is the ideal, how far! A mirage in the desert, a phantasm of the steppes, the twinkling image of a star reflected in a lake. First was the bottomless abyss separating humanity from the promised land. How to fill this abyss?’ –Ricardo Flores Magón.
The Near and the Nigh, inspired by Ricardo Flores Magón’s seminal text Freedom. Equality. Fraternity, works as a cycle of light and darkness in which urbanism, social conflicts and the end of the world serve to establish a connection between Mexico - its ancestral past and its recent history - and the urban and gentrifying transformations of the city of London as a capital of economic power. Through a hybridization of different contexts and paradigms, The Near and the Nigh also deals with issues such as the glamorization of violence, the internationalization of underground culture, and the transformation of the post-cinematic viewing style; as well as a utopian vision of a post-capitalist world.
The installation works like a landscape in which moments of intense audio-visual stimuli are followed by periods of darkness and silence, and consists of two parts. First, a projection showing 60 images per second – working as an stroboscopic effect - combined with elements of CGI: an allusion to the precolumbian past of Mexico and the culture of violence in the country, which are reproduced through eight 3d prints installed in the space, reinforcing a persistence of vision effect that permeates the whole piece. The second consists in a vocal track narrating a fictional story about life after the end of the world, the personal aftermath after the catastrophe, and the eventual reconstruction of a society without a capitalist economy. It is thus that the piece is conformed by a series of layers – from information overload to absolute silence – that trace a trajectory from external perception to subjective self-definition, but avoiding a linear temporality in favour of a rhythm according to ‘pulses’ which grow, move and rest. The installation can be considered in this way as a progressive construction and deconstruction of visual, sonic, and ideological landscapes.
Music composed and arranged by Siete Catorce.