Movimiento Perpetuo by Ariel Schettini

Sep 12, 2014

Marcelo Grosman

September 12 - October 25, 2014

1. When a new form of expression is born, what matters is the form; the expression comes later. Most never get past the form. I have often asked myself what should happen to a form of expression in order for it to be transformed into art. Because no form of expression is born as art, quite the contrary, they come into being quite far from art, almost the antithesis, and it is nothing short of a miracle that they should ever become art.

César Aira, Fragments of a Diary in the Alps

2. The first impulse is destructive. Go out seeking to divide, individualize and limit whatever is plural in the image, or go in seeking what it harbors inside. Its trick is its evanescent multiplicity. We all know this: it is a childish impulse. We learn that the image (but is it a single image or a madness of images gone mad?) plays with us. It makes demands of us and compels us to run its course in order to capture, in a lenticular kaleidoscope, an impossible and magical perspective. The broken promise that, at some point, we are going to see it all.

3. This also happens to our body. We know that we can’t see it all. Since we cannot see all of our body, we know that there is another person who does see us and demarcates us. These observed bodies that Marcelo Grosman offers us are in process. Because of an effect of the lens, the image and the convergence of perspectives, both the evaluator and us, the innocent observers who will stroll along the image, are subjected to that same process, to encounter – just as the surveyor does – its secret. I will give a name to this process which is as innocent as school supplies (the ruler, the pencil case or the book cover): the process of the body becoming an image.

4. Children are often the most affected, and the situation of the young picnoleptic quickly becomes intolerable… When a young picnoleptic is asked to draw a bouquet of flowers that has just been placed in front of him, he will draw not only the bouquet, but also the person who placed it in the vase, and even the field where the flowers may have been picked. It is a habit of gluing sequences together so as to establish an equivalence between what is seen and remembered and what cannot be seen and can obviously not be remembered, which must thus be invented or recreated in order to lend verisimilitude to the discursus. With time, the young picnoleptic will find himself forced to doubt knowledge and the unanimous testimonies of his environment; all certainty will turn into suspicion; he will tend to believe (like Sextus Empiricus) that nothing exists and that, even if something did exist, it could not be represented, and that, even if it could be, in no way could it be communicated or explained.
Paul Virilio, The Aesthetics of Disappearance

5. The will to capture (measure, control) the body’s movement through photographic animation has many precursors. Muybridge’s zoopraxiscope, Edison’s kinetophone or Plateau’s phenakistoscope are all instruments, with precious names, from the time when capturing instruments were still somehow mechanical and therefore handcrafted. The lenticular image that Marcelo Grosman offers us is part of this family that we look upon with nostalgia, like the toys from our childhood, or the childhood of chronophotography. The objective is always the same: to provide the image with an alibi so that it can escape from the still prison that is portraiture but, at the same time, to pay the price of the toy’s eternity, an entry into time’s bifurcated labyrinth.

6. Phenakistoscope, Greek for the illusory viewer, a toy invented by Joseph-Antoine Ferdinand Plateau to prove his theory of retinal persistence in 1829.

It is comprised of several drawings of the same object, in slightly different positions, distributed around a flat circular plate. When the plate spins in front of a mirror, it creates the illusion of a moving image. Shortly after devising his invention, Plateau discovered that the number of images required to achieve the appropriate movement illusion was sixteen. This approach would later be applied by early filmmakers who used sixteen photograms per second in the first films they made.

7. Very quickly after the invention, the State, the medical industry, the army, and the social apparatus of surveillance appropriated these instruments because they found in them the ideal tool for expanding their function – that of caring for, preserving, and controlling life. In the same way, religions found in sculpture, frescos, and painting their ideal instruments for promoting their dogma. When religions abandoned those techniques, we found ourselves in the presence of art. Since the State has replaced its apparatus of control with other more sophisticated ones, now we can have a glimpse of what has remained in the images, the theatricality of the apparatus of control, its redundant meaning, its excess of expositions, and the true criminal: the body.

8. In the athletic exercise that forces the observer, there is an announcement of manipulation, judgment, evaluation, and exercise of power.

9. The body, that criminal entity I have inside of me, breaks away and escapes to a place where I know I will not be able to find it… and to detect it somewhere, to find it and chain it to life, the perfect weapon was built – and the perfect alibi: it turned into an image. The procedure was perfected; it was measured and submitted to photographs, calculations, and evaluations so as to prevent it from leaving. Yet, inevitably it finds the surreptitious hideaway to which it will, in the end, escape. The alibi for annihilation is perfect; it passes through the only place where the image cannot find it, through that dark corridor called time. With the ferocious patience of a detective and the irony of a collector, Grosman offers us in each of his works complex machinery for analyzing the crime.

10. The doctor measures, registers, and calculates. The officer examines, inspects, and documents. The bodies are crystallized in measurements, positions, exercises, calisthenics, and training. The body, naturally, escapes.

11. The purpose of this work has omitted commercialization. In contrast, it has tried to document its execution so that young researchers not only learn how to design it but also appreciate the methodological rigor of doing research, thereby allowing for exploration and validation of the complex teaching-learning process. Kinesiograms differ from lenticular images in that, even though they include the concept of image fragmentation, they include it in order to provide more three-dimensionality rather than movement, just as it happens with anaglyph images. Another motivating factor was to incorporate the kinesiograms as a way of learning how to measure/draw the human figure.

The Development and Application of Kinesiograms or Lenticular Images
Alejandro Rubiano Mejia, Universidad Piloto de Colombia, Colombia. SIGRADI 2010

12. One image is probably nothing. However, two images are a story, and two simultaneous images, put together, processed and agglutinated, are madness.

13. Sometimes, towards the evening, when we travel on a train or bus, we can see simultaneously our own image and the landscape receding rapidly. That narcotic experience, that makes us protagonists in a film in which, coincidently, we are also traveling, has the same amount of magic that Grosman offers us. The possibility that, for one instant, we might achieve the absolute dream: the world disappears, but we stay on. Marcelo Grosman offers us a dose of that eternity, enclosed in portable boxes.

14. Behind the images, there appears the voice of Marcelo Grosman guiding us to accept this image or series of images just as we would accept the body’s rule, instruction, rectification, and discipline to understand and narrate, in the image, the story. We are asked to accept the image like someone accepting, submissively and tamely, the routine trajectory of he who wants to discover the hidden mechanism. We are asked to accept the image just as we accept the successive order of images that contain and liberate a didactic fable. As we accept the defiant challenge of a guardian who imposes discipline. As we accept the tree’s stake, for its own good, so that it grows healthy and straight. With the incredulity and amazement with which we accept magic.

—Ariel Schettini

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Marcelo Grosman

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