Concrete Effect

Concrete Effect

Carlos Sáez

20 / 09 / 19  -  01 / 11 / 19 // VLC
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
Concrete Effect
On May 16 1960 Theodor Maiman started up the first laser using a ruby. Because of the delay in it being reported in the scientific literature, such as Nature, parallel research was carried out by people such as Townes and Schawlow, which built up an expanded chronology of a narrative fiction, a phantasm, an apparition. Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiatio. Laser: an adolescent quantum-electric disco science-fiction film story.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Going from a floppy or storage culture to a RAM or interconnection culture has been one of the most important transformations in human evolution over the last few decades. In 2005 at a conference titled “Culture-RAM. Mutations in culture in the electronic distribution era”, I heard José Luis Brea ask himself, “Have the huge industrial units ever had a dream dreamed about where the Google search engines run? There are no data there, no documents, no consignments. There are no accumulated memories, no archives at all. Just nodes, networks of networks, multiplied ports of everything that enters and leaves at great speed, flux. We could even begin to imagine these spaces as pure virtual architecture – atopic, simply transitional spaces. Structures of interconnection whose only function is to allow us to pass through them: to give distributed relation to the possible totality of the content of knowledge which in the innumerable nerve endings of these quasi-infinite networks make up not only the impulse to our search, but also the final end. At each end of these never-ending tunnels and criss-crossing labyrinths, our machines...”.(1)
 
The end of this text has always unsettled me, the suspension points, where our machines are leading us to. To type into a laptop while I hold a conversation on Skype with Carlos. The cat walks across the keyboard, I think of Burroughs and his “cat inside”. “ It is the responsibility of the Guardian to protect the hybrids and the mutants in such a vulnerable stage which is infancy”.(2)  Regarding the idea of being fossil, Carlos tells me that when he was little he collected pine resin and kept it in a box hoping it to turn into amber. Infancy, mutation, time. And a cat which walks over the keyboard.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
In 1972 Deleuze and Guattari in their already classic text “The Anti-edipo: Capitalism and Schizophrenia” introduce the term desiring machines to define how capitalist society was setting the patterns of our flux of desire. Everywhere machines, with their couplings, with their connections. An organ-machine couples up with a source-machine: one of them emits a current the other stops it. The core is the machine, which produces milk, and the mouth, the machine which connects to it. The mouth of the anorexic goes between the eating machine, the anal machine, the speaking machine, the breathing machine (asthma crisis). In the way, all the “do-it-yourselvers”; each of its small machines. The organ-machine for an energy machine, always flowing and stopping. (3)

44 years later, in 2016, Boris Groys in the setting of the IX edition of the Berlin Biennale titled The Present in Drag, wrote in “Cosmic Anxiety” about the transformation of the machines that Deleuze and Guattari had talked about, pointing out that as well as flux and data, Internet is material: a mass of cables, computers, mobile phones and other devices through which this “immaterial flux” circulates.

But, what would happen if a world catastrophe did away with these flows of data? What would our machines be like without this accumulation of algorithms? What would become of us without these traces of our desire? The same as that which happens to the machines of Carlos Saéz, the ghost hardware is made up of pure form, aesthetics taken to its limits, as Groys aptly explains with the metaphor: “if the internet were to crash as a whole, the probability of individual messages being preserved is low. And even if some data were to be saved, it would be difficult to understand to what reality it refers. In this case, the hardware of the internet, minus its information, would be aestheticized,-like Roman aqueducts today, minus the water”. Machines without information. Devices without a story.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Specific effect dramatizes some of these questions which Carlos Saéz has been working on over the last few years, using installation, sculpture, videos pieces and live actions with which, like the characters in Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, we don’t know if we are going to play or be played by these objects which appear out of the mist of dry ice and the biaural sound amplification.

Talking about eXistenZ and its relation to what Cronenberg himself describes as “existential propaganda”, Mark Fisher makes the difference in an article on the film between what Sartre called “the being-for-itself” and the “being-in-itself: the inert world of objects, empty of consciousness”.(4) In Concrete effect, objects are there to be judged. We make up part of the game in which the elements have been deprived of information and appears as the ruins of our time, fossil concretions that, as opposed to archaeological testimony, do not give or make up any narrative, but are offered up in their most pure hermeneutic, that of the game, such as in “Lanza para Gadamer” (Spear for Gadamer) (2019) that Carlos Saéz presented in “Les Escenes. 25 anys després” (Scenes, 25 years later) at La Capella in Barcelona.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I see the reflection of the laser on the green resin. It takes me back thirty years. I’m driving along. Road to Perelló. I still feel some nostalgia for what was the ruta del bacalao (literally – the cod circuit, a famous route of discos and bars in the 80s and 90s famous for drug taking). Many people ended up in the remains of their trashed cars. Ballard on the road to Temple. I talk to Carlos about this time, above all the last vestiges of that which was one of the most important youth subcultures in our country.

From this movement of people, form this flux of desire, only a few of the premises remain where these temples to electronic music were found. Such as the aqueducts which Groys talked about, the ruined stages of the fiction which the young Douglas Crimp talked about in his work on New York discos in the middle of the 70s in “Dissco-a fragment. Crimp writes: “Place: synthetic material, industrial gloss, futuristic spacey, technologized surfaces an lighting (…) views of reality look unreal, nightmarish, tacky. Going outside is always a shock, and it takes days to readjust to ugly reality. People: Synthetically produced bodies using bodybuilding machines and protein supplements. Bodies moving en massem like cogs in a machine. (5)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Concrete Effect. I search for one of Crimp’s ghosts in the smoke. I hear William Burroughs, the cats and the inter-zone. J. G. Ballard talks to me of the cement island and “the atrocity exhibition”. FM2030 appears interviewed by Larry King on television talking about transhumanism and different sense entities. I reread Donna Haraway, the cyborg manifesto and the alliance between the species in the Chthuluceno while I discover Ted Chiang, and The life-cycle of software objects. I note “..all the qualities that make people more valuable than a database are the fruits of experience. Experience is not only the best teacher, but the only one... Experience is algorithmically incomprehensible”.
Concrete Effect. An algorithmically incomprehensibly experience. The reflection of the laser projected onto green resin. A fungus that grows on the ruins of our machines. The effect of the contemporaneous virtuality that we assume to be reality. Strange flower, weeds, wild tentacles.

1.- Brea, José Luis. Cultura _RAM. Culture mutations in the era of electronic distribution,  2007
2.- Burroughs, William. The Cat Inside, 1986.
3.- Deleuze, Gilles & Guattari, Félix. Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 1. L'Anti-Œdipe, 1972.
4.- Fisher, Mark. You aren’t going to be able to stop yourself. You might even enjoy it”: eXistenZ and non-cognitive work. Article from “The ghosts of my life. Writings on depressino, hauntology and future losses”.  2018. 
5.- Crimp, Douglas. Before pictures. 2016. 

Jesús Alcaide, 2019 

#concreteeffectcarlossaez