Amado Cabrales on ReDirecting: East 2020

I came to the seminar very stressed and tired of working online; in the end, I think it became part of my week and my thoughts. I came to the seminar with a question in mind, several months back I was at the end of an exhibition in the UNAM Biennale in Mexico City. Our last action was in a bus station inside the campus, we stood next to the line asking: What do you wait for when you wait?

Now I can say that, after all this time in quarantine, I wait; I look for people with the same concerns and questions, I wait; I look for the encounter with others and find ways to reach our doubts. Through my work and in my life, I was literally looking for new ways to interact with others.

At the same time, however, we became sceptical about the other, the fear of getting infected lead us to a distrust of our friends, neighbors, couples, even anyone on the street, a situation more attached to paranoia than to effective clinical measures. My concern is that this paranoia is instrumentalized and becomes a legal measure against free expression, following a political and not sanitary purpose in itself. Finding new ways of interaction, of intimacy in our workspaces and in our online lives, became a political stand and a necessity to become public again, either in the streets or in the networks.

I wasn't really sure whether the development of intimacy as a major aim of the project would be fulfilled. How can we connect if we only see each other as a bunch of floating heads in several windows on a screen? That idea eventually changed as I saw the ways in which vulnerability came across the screen.

In an online conversation there is a device, a platform in between body and speech, the screen is also a form and conducts and transforms the ways we interpret the meaning of a speech. The seminar allowed me to perceive the many ways in which these devices, especially online group meetings, can be taken to their limits, and use is liminal interactions as another way to say, exchange and share something.

I remember a moment in the seminar when all the cameras were switched off, but all the microphones remained on. No one was talking; there was a shared silence across miles and miles, some kind of dark room that all the participants found themselves in. That's exactly the kind of intimacy we need to achieve.

  • Participants of the seminar are answering two questions: what was their contribution to the seminar and how has taking part in the seminar influenced their perception of the online realm.

  • Photo: Ania Bystrowska

Amado Cabrales on Re–Directing: East  2020