Multiverse

By Simone Rodrigues


"There is something abominable about the cameras because they have the power to invent many worlds. As an artist who has, for too long, been lost in the wild field of mechanical reproduction, I do not know which world I can begin with."

Robert Smithson

The perplexity expressed in this text by Smithson - "The Art Through the Eye of the Camera (1971)" - Can help us to leave out some preconceptions about photography before we enter the symbolic field of Multiverse - the world invented by John Pacca and Marcelo Carrera -, because it starts precisely with the challenge to our capability to understand where we are and to name what we see.

This is certainly not the world with which we are familiar. And our estrangement doesn't concern to the fact that the sharp contours of figurative forms, which tend to be the distinctive element of the photographic record, here tend to abstraction - a result of the loss of sharpness caused by long times of exposure, the presence of large plans unfocused and by the insidious presence of shadows. In Multiverse, the supernatural atmosphere is imposed beyond its setting in the physical space of nature.

The idyllic character of the images immediately transports us to the dimension of dreams and their mysterious ways of existence. Here, plants, rocks, caves, rivers and waterfalls work as a mental scenario in which our character moves. When we try to understand what is unfolded in this scenario, we bump into a set of hybrid classical mythological elements, without narrowing it down to any specific myth.

The beautiful Narcissus, the clairvoyance of Apollo, the intoxication of Dionysus, the merciless of Hades and many other personifications of divinities fill this story, all metamorphosed. In this allegorical narrative, body, space and camera rehearse a kind of a cosmogony dance, powerful enough to re-enact their personal rites, and, from them, reinvent their myths.

These are symbolic gestures and attitudes that evoke some kind of celebration or sacrifice. If it is a cult, there is no doubt that this is a form of pantheistic religiosity, primitive, pagan. The intimate and sensual relations with natural elements is the force that moves this body-spirit that, as an immanent divinity, makes us realize that nature is constructed as sensible experience and is capable of sanctifying the profane or prosaic acts.

Like all mythic narratives, the time here is neither linear nor chronological, but cyclical and timeless. In a reading that doesn't exclude its pluridirectionality, it seems to be an archetypal story: the hero's journey in his quest for self-knowledge, which is known self-fabrication - autopoiesis, to use the expression of Maturana.

In this territory of passage between nature and culture, it would be impossible not to mention the crisis confronting the shadow itself, the interdiction, the taboo, and its transcendence/transfiguration symbolized by the experience of death/rebirth.

Unlike the fable, usually accompanied by a moral and edifying teaching, transmitted didactically, the Multiverse's narrative is open and amoral. The artists here are projected as in a trance, an ecstasy that presents itself as a subjective narrative, truly cathartic, having in sight the cultural context which they belong, modern, industrial, urban, technological, whose dominant point is, undoubtedly, skepticism.

Simone Rodrigues

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