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Magazine

January
2021: an odyssey in cyberspace

Diana Padrón

2020 could not bring us any more shocks. At the end of the year, just when we thought we had reached our astonishment, a mysterious monolith was located in the Utah desert that seemed to be characterized by the gift of ubiquity, not only because of its diffusion in cyberspace, but also because of its intriguing reappearance in California, Piatra Neamț, Friesland, the Isle of Wight, Segovia and even, according to some voices, in Barcelona’s neighborhood, Guinardó. The monolith – an apparently metallic structure with reflective finishes in the form of a triangular prism almost 3 meters high – undoubtedly came to symbolize a year full of unknowns, but it was surely this uncertain and enigmatic nature that fed the speculations that we were in front of an artistic object. This interpretation leads us to reconsider the meaning of 2001: A Space Odyssey in the shelter of a well-known theory that perhaps cannot be overemphasized: that it is not technological advances, but rather the opposite, aesthetic experience, that drives every change of paradigm.

While we postpone projects, celebrations and hugs until hypothetical dates, we try not to get shipwrecked among skypes, meet meetings, zoom conferences, webminars, online classes, digital exhibitions, virtual residences and other technological promises that seem to be established beyond vaccines. As in Kubrick’s film, we find ourselves in a spaceship that does not stop advancing in the middle of a space lacking in references while technologies insist on imposing a path to follow. That is why we have called for an oracle of mediators and thinkers, because all of them work on the limits of artistic practice, research, criticism, management or curatorship and can sense the odyssey in which it will most probably it will be necessary to continue navigating from the cultural sector during 2021. Because it is still necessary to vindicate the exercise of critique – hermeneutic and predictive – in the face of the impotence of the digital hater. Because, as Laura González observes, last year some steps have been taken and in 2021 we have many more to take, and despite the current, we will take them smiling together with Raisa Maudit, rethinking corporeality with Ericka Florez  and remembering with Solar that, in the end, the beginning was to think.

Monolith appeared at the Utah dessert on November 18th, 2020  (Image Creative Commons)

 

 

(Featured Imagen: Still from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey, directed by  Stanley Kubrick, 1968).

 

This month's topic

Diana Padrón: I work because they told me it was a game, a debate, a dance and yes, many times I have a good time. Because I have a commitment to the city where I live, to art, to criticism, to the public sphere. Obviously I work because it is imperative to be self-sufficient, but above all it is imperative to accumulate symbolic capital. I would find it obscene to equate myself with the salaried worker, our model is more that of the entrepreneur. I work to reproduce capital, to innovate in labor flexibility, to experience the ultimate in self-exploitation, and to be invited to fun parties. Paradoxically, I also work to imagine some kind of collective. Because in the end, let's not be nihilists, there must be something in art that points to some sort of outside. I work in case one day, among all of us, we invent another world / dianapadronalonso.com

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"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)