New York, September, 2010
In 2005, I began a project with the Cárcel de Caseros in Buenos Aires, Argentina, exploring the inner human capacity to transcend the limitations imposed by an architecture of control – an inversion of the panopticon. In 2007, I built a series of sculptures as counter-surveillance spaces, looking for structures or modes of action that could effectively evade or confuse surveillance systems in the spirit of Rainer Maria Rilke’s observation that in love, the other is the guardian of one’s solitude.
The seven sculptures in the series are icosahedra made from mirror, glass, and silicone, creating visual spaces that expand far beyond their physical boundaries. My hope was to send the sculptures out to sea, but I decided to sell a few of them to raise money for a fleet of stronger vessels that could better withstand the Atlantic. Early this year, MiauMiau Estudio invited me to show one of the sculptures at their stand in the Argentine contemporary art fair ArteBA, and I agreed. Many people have seen the video originally aired on CQC, where Mauricio Macri, the Mayor of Buenos Aires, shoves a reporter into one of these sculptures, breaking it, during the opening of ArteBA, while the president and the vice-president of ArteBA laugh in the background.
Why does Mayor Macri think he can act with impunity, covering his folly with a promise of payment?
Why hasn’t CQC responded to requests to see the original footage they recorded of the incident?
Why did ArteBA offer to send a glass worker to “fix” the sculpture, seeking to protect Macri from the damage he had done to the artwork, and the potential media damage he had done to himself?
What does it mean for ArteBA to fix this sculpture? (Fix can either mean to repair, to castrate or to manipulate the outcome of an event.)
The concrete geometry of the sculpture has changed as a result of Macri’s act, which cannot be undone; and the triangular geometry of power has been revealed. The misguided offer of ArteBA hoped to restore the original geometry of the piece, and thus restore the reputations of those involved. But these restorations would be false because the process of change instigated by Macri et al is irreversible. In this case, Macri, the Mayor of Buenos Aires, stuck his head inside the sculpture, then grabbed the accompanying reporter by the neck (calling him maricón–faggot in English) and proceeded to force his head inside the sculpture. He finished the sequence with an ass-grab and a shove, slamming the body of the reporter into the sculpture and breaking it.
The response of Macri was to chuckle, and tell the gallerist he’d buy the sculpture. The response of ArteBA was to chuckle, and claim they would “take care of the situation.” The response of CQC was to chuckle, and edit a video excusing themselves of responsibility, followed by a silence of apparent complicity.
The sculpture operates at the speed of time. The images that pass through and multiply in the sculpture’s reflections leave traces that accumulate on the intangible spaces of the piece, like memory. Macri’s action and its aftermath have been recorded in the altered structure of the work. By accepting ArteBA’s offer to superficially fix the piece, I would not only be lying to myself, and lying to the public, I would be allowing the structure of my art to become a lie.
Destruction and lies shouldn’t be the language of a mayor, counterfeiting and hush jobs should not be the modus operandi of an art fair, and a television show can’t do political satire with chummy silence.
The question of payment is irrelevent, since money is not a true symbol of justice. The piece has been renamed Infinity Also Hurts, and it will remain in its current condition. I am exploring the possibility of donating the sculpture to a public institution in Buenos Aires (preferably the museum of Natural History).