moments that last forever
In 1986 the government of Ferdinand Marcos in the philippines fell, and anthropologists were finally permitted to visit the Tasaday tribe that had been subjected to forced isolation by the government in order to preserve their 'immaculate' ancestral customs. what the scientists reveal in those visits is tremendously embarrassing. The tribe, discovered in 1971 by close associates of the Marcos government, was a total scam. They did not live in caves nor did they cover themselves with loincloths, they did not eat plants, or were they so peaceful that the word war did not exist in their language, as they have told. They were simple neighbors of the area who fully fulfilled the role of 'good savages' to give international recognition to the government of Marcos and also attract tourism.
The Tasaday were, perhaps, the species with the shortest duration on the face of the earth, their extinction was accelerated exponentially by the social and political conditions in their territory. from their birth to their burial, only sixteen years had passed.
This may just be a cocktail anecdote to laugh at the naivety of certain institutions of the time, but what it actually reveals is much more ironic: in 1986 any virgin territory on earth ceased to exist. Perhaps the process had already begun centuries ago with the first maps, botanical expeditions, or the conquests of new territories by the imperial powers. Perhaps this idea, not of understanding, but of conquering nature is as old as humanity itself. What is true is that with the Tasaday tribe there were also dreams, at least at media level, of discovering something new on the face of the earth, and dreams of conquest then followed those of emulation.
This is how the territory became infinite because it stopped being real, and what we have in exchange is an idea of landscape, a representation of a world populated by beings that in most cases we do not get to know. A kind of symbolic zoo that we walk through in the aisles of supermarkets full of emulations of natural life. the schizophrenia of the market and of advertising, tries to provide products with natural characteristics by making connections that seem ridiculous but that sooner or later we accept as true. a mint is as cold as the north pole and the bears that inhabit those territories, although harassed by the disappearance of big portions of ice, are very happy that we have fresh breath on our first date.
From mythological and dangerous beings such as dragons, or the gigantic rhinos of the new world, we pass to a domesticated and friendly but terrifyingly cannibalistic fauna that is capable of ending itself to satisfy our desires. this narcissistic emulation idea is present in each of the pieces that make up this collaborative exhibition between Adriana Martínez Barón and Beto Pérez Fleta.
It is not a criticism of the thaw or global warming; these pieces are not an environmental pamphlet, nor an attempt to draw attention to this or that disappearance of a species on the planet. moments that last forever is an exploration of the irony of language and its ability to always be redefining narratives about the natural. From the choice of its title, full of that strange mix between the romantic and the blatantly misleading, the show puts us in the role of a consumer who watches the collapse of something. The end of a melting cycle and that could be the very idea of the natural. the plasticised air, the water made of resin, a freezer that does not freeze or keep anything fresh, a television set in a baby training potty, some maps that cannot be seen. They all seem like metaphors for a language that is losing its relationship with reality, if that makes sense, and that each time feels more like floating on the waters of the schizophrenia of market production. A language that is incapable of stopping, as well as the icebreakers and the monstrous ships full of merchandise that cross the world and that provide us with all the geopolitical 'diversity' that we so desperately need.
All that infinite fauna is in those products that Adriana Martínez brought from different parts of the world, a fauna that has perhaps traveled many more kilometres than any of us. A nature adapted to a lifestyle that yearns for the natural but is not comfortable with the wild, with the ruthless and that has to be tamed so that it does not hurt a lot. moments that last forever is an ironic game between what tends to disappear and what is constantly renewed: what refuses to disappear. it is a metaphor for the end of something that we intuit has already disappeared a long time ago; the world?
Press release courtest FORO.SPACE. Text: Gabriel Mejía Abad, July 2021.