Itziar Barrio

Itziar Barrio (Solo show): "A Demon that Slips into Your Telescopes while You’re Dead Tired and Blocks the Light", signs and symbols (online), 22.4.22 > 15.6.22

Barrio writes:

A Demon that Slips into Your Telescopes while You’re Dead Tired and Blocks the Light is part of a trilogy of multi-disciplinary projects I have been working on since 2016, analyzing the intersection of technology, labor, identity and matter. I am currently finishing ROBOTA MML, the second project-chapter as a member of the NEW INC program of the New Museum in NYC. These works involve collaborations with scientists, technologists, a bodybuilder and a robotics engineer, among others. Each of the agents involved — brown dwarfs, robots, matter, telescopes, data and scientists — acts as a character in the film.

“I am interested in science as a dominant narrative and how it is assumed to be ‘objective,’ when in reality, it is in constant construction and is the result of human work, as the anthropologist Lisa Messeri comments in my film. I became interested in all aspects related to the subject of matter — along with technology’s presence in our lives and its ability to be part of ourselves, such as the possibility of techno-people. Each chapter of the trilogy is related to different states of matter, or materiality. In the first chapter, it is the liquids, fluids and water that appear as a sign and with symbolic force. Alongside all this, ideas around agencies, hybrid bodies and the non-binary run through the trilogy.”

A Demon that Slips into Your Telescopes while You’re Dead Tired and Blocks the Light 
The first chapter of the trilogy explores how those who work in science and technology impact our way of understanding and inhabiting the world, revealing the social constructs and forces of power that shape fields of “objective” knowledge. The film comprises interviews with experts in Astrobiology (NASA), Astrophysics (American Museum of Natural History) and Sociocultural Anthropology (Yale University), alongside aerial images from NASA's archives and original scenes dramatizing a speculative fiction by Laia. In these scenes, actors perform conversations between astronomical phenomena, and between a scientist and her data. The elusive brown dwarf resurfaces throughout — these indeterminate celestial entities are not strictly stars or planets, but something in between, not visible to the human eye. We could even say that they have a flexible and constantly shifting identity. Exceeding and evading any singular classification, brown dwarfs teach us about the fissures in the construction of scientific knowledge and the importance of the indeterminate and non-visible.

ROBOTA MML (Teaser) 
The term “robot” was coined in R.U.R., a 1920 science fiction play written by Karel Capel which takes place in a factory where robots are built to free human beings from work. In fact, the word is derived from the Czech word “robota,” which means “work.” In the multimedia project ROBOTA MML, Barrio relocates the characters from this play to a context that is sensitive to class consciousness and biopower, exploring the intersection of robotics, workers’ struggles and identity. The film, which is currently in post-production and is the second chapter of the trilogy, takes place in a temporality in which identity and gender are undefined and fluid, and where smoke is the materiality of an agency capable of affecting the human psyche.

Particle Matter 
Particulate matter is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air. This complex mixture includes both organic and inorganic particles, such as dust, pollen, soot, smoke and liquid droplets. Many of them are by-products; in chemistry, “by-product" refers to a secondary product that inevitably results from molecular fragments of the original materials and/or reagents that are not incorporated into the ultimate, desired product. Similarly, the final chapter of the trilogy approaches its subject in a rhizomatic fashion, utilizing the language of the montage — the dialectical technique of constructing a new, composite whole using fragments of moving images and sounds. An audiovisual work by Barrio, Particle Matter features images of geological phenomena, steam, gas and particles, as well as sound made in collaboration with composer and sound designer Seth Cluett. Many of these recordings were created at the historic anechoic chamber at Nokia Bell Labs, which absorbs over 99.995% of the incident acoustic energy above 200 Hz and is considered one of the quietest places on Earth.

Online Exhibition and +info

Tags: exhibition