Dermus Flusser

2017  / Performance / Interactive / Installation

First Showned at SESC Ipiranga, Sao Paulo, Bresil. Curating: Hugo Cabral Carneiro

Constructing an image / destructing a walls

Dermus Flusser is a performance issued from Derme (Jewish Museum Brussels 2016) and based on the work of the philosopher Vilém Flusser, who first theorized our civilization of the technical image in the 80’s.

A wall of 5.5m wide by 2m high was built in the garden of SESC Ipiranga, especially for the performance, next to the exhibition dedicated to the Philosopher. Black wall on one side, white on the other.  At sunset, a black silhouette approaches the black side of the wall and attack it with a hammer and chisel, it reveals little by little fragments of an image “buried” in the wall.  The image is actually projected into the holes made in the wall by the artist, thanks to a live interactive mapping technique, working with a video projector, an infra-red camera and a software created by the artist.

The image is building itself in a narration given by the hammer’s hits: a head, a hand, a piece of slogan, a camera pointed, a raised fist, a smartphone.  The “buried” picture, drawn from the recent dramatic history of Brazil, is a press image taken in the Brazilian parliament in the tumult of the impeachment process of President Dilma Rousseff. Shakespearean scene, where half of the protagonists are, to use Flusser’s words, “functionnaries” (“people who stand within the communicative process”) brandishing as many “apparatus” (cameras or smartphones, used to record a technical image), the other protagonists acting or undergoing the situation in a mixture of joy and fear.

On the white side of the wall, the images revealed on the black side disappear in an endless loop and in negative. In superimpositions appear selected extracts of “Towards a Philosophy of Photography” by Vilém Flusser as well as some quotations taken from interviews of the philosopher.

The performance develops itself in a tension between the violent attempt by the artist to confer a narrative to the image, thanks to its slow and dramatic unveiling act – while Flusser insists on the post-historical, non-linear and magical side of the technical image, opposing it to the linear, cartesian, political and historical construction of the printed text – and the fragmented reality of the image produced, therefore more incomprehensible, confined to a magical, dramatic status, a-political, post-historical.

After the performance the piece can stay as an installation