Between 1913 and 1922, when he died, the French writer Marcel Proust wrote the seven parts of À la recherche du temps perdu (In search of lost time), which had an enormous influence not only on the field of literature, but also on philosophy and art theory of the 20th century and which today seems more current than at the time when he wrote it.
For a while now, I have been relating various works – without mentioning this explicitly – to À la recherche du temps perdu. Currently, however, my focus lies more on In search of lost paradises (À la recherche des paradis perdus) or even on In search of the time of Utopias (À la recherche du temps des Utopies) – as a way of escaping the overwhelming reality subjected to the dictates of the economy with which most politicians bombard us in their speeches broadcast by the media every day.
In Europe, since the publication in France of L’Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers between 1751 and 1772, and later, during the 19th and 20th centuries, a number of key Utopias emerged. At first, they seemed capable of changing negative aspects of the reality lived by the greater part of humanity, of transforming and improving its social conditions. Over time, however, many of these Utopias deviated from their initial aims, whether this was due to their transformation or in their interpretation by particular advocacy
groups who destroyed these Utopias by instrumentalizing the ideals and goods for their own purposes, although the ultimate objective of these Utopias was originally to create improvements for the majority of humanity. We now know that this failure of Utopias was not coincidental, but rather intentional and planned.
As early as 1993, as part of the In Control. mensch – interface – maschine project, I wrote in the introduction to my installation INTERFERENCE LANDSCAPES: “In our present era of the power of information, there is little possibility of surviving as independent human beings. The individual can try to survive by retreating into him/herself. The individual can interact with the outside world by making interventions or interferences in it. Although I have tried with my work to integrate both positions, I currently think that, although the first option is essential to creative activity, it is the development of the second possibility that is of vital relevance in becoming aware of – and eventually acting within – society itself, particularly against the totalitarianism that originates from
and is manipulated by the great multinationals of information.”
The installation IN SEARCH OF LOST PARADISES. IN SEARCH OF UTOPIAS focuses on the search for forgotten, lost or possible paradises.
Concha Jerez (2017)
DESCRIPTION OF THE INSTALATION.
The Game of the Goose – in its role as a game of knowledge – serves as the main axis for the concept and design of the installation as well as an instrument in the search for knowledge. A significant connection for it’s symbolism is the pilgrimage route of the St. James’s Way, also known as Camino de las Estrellas (The Road of the Stars) and the Camino de las Ocas (Way of the Goose). The St. James place consists of a floor mosaic that assigns fields of the Game of the Goose to stations of the St. James Way. The geese who have fixed migratory routes along the St. James Way became a symbol of divine wisdom. The Game of the Goose was memorised and practised, and so became a guide for the players. The target field of the play, the so called “Geesegarden”, can be understood as a vision of the paradise. In the installation the Game of the Goose serves as guide to our own imagination about paradise. The floor of the exhibition space is marked with a game board made up of rectangular fields of play. Fourteen fields are accentuated by the spatial setting: each holds a music stand wrapped with transparent film, an LED fluorescent tube and a loudspeaker. The artist has covered the transparent film by hand with lost paradises. The eight pillars of esc mkl are clad in acrylic mirrored surfaces, creating a mosaic of reflections.
The loudspeakers of the fourteen modules play recordings about lost paradises in fourteen languages, a different language on each loudspeaker. In the space originates a murmur about lost paradises. In reference to John Cage’s piece 4’33” and Concha Jerez’ installation 155 h. 4’33” from 2010, the recordings also have a length of 4’33”. They are further structured in intervals: 1’33”, 2’33” und 3’33”. These intervals serve as clock and as placement of these voices in time.
A murmur of lost paradises develops in the space. The single paradises focus in the closeness of the special modules. The video that is shown in two opposite projections at the centre of the Goose’s Game is composed of images coming from several works realized by Concha Jerez in Graz since 1993 in a today’s approach and of a Jerez’s walk through Graz searching for memories of her different projects.