Curated by Nestor Siré and Yonlay Cabrera

Villena Gallery, Plaza de Armas, Havana. Cuba [2018]

Contextual influences, more than four years of working very closely and exchanging ideas, and a consolidated friendship, have made our work increasingly similar. Our identities as artists are very different, but the ways of understanding art, the phenomena that move our sensibility, and many other factors complement our creative processes very well. For all these reasons we decided to work together in collaboration, with a project that would not only represent our work but would also function as a common intellectual challenge or creative exercise.

Given our aversion to thinking of expressive resources as the origin of the work, the first challenge we set ourselves was to work from a specific medium that was comfortable for both of us, both formally and conceptually. After several meetings and discussions, we decided on photography, as we found it to be a similar medium that we have worked with a lot and in a similar way. Ideas of all kinds immediately began to emerge, but the chaos was uncontrollable, so we decided to establish the limits that would govern the project.  

We then remembered that the film The five obstructions directed by Jørgen Leth and Lars Von Trier included Cuba at one point in the film. This gave us the incentive to take that material as a methodological reference, but instead of one of us putting the obstructions to the other, we decided to reinterpret the idea, so that it would be more in line with horizontal collaborative work. The five guidelines we established were:

  1. Photographic Process: Starting from the idea, the intention or the photographic.
  2. Seriality: In the sense of magnitude, scope, and variety of expression.
  3. No post-production: Keeping the result as it is, the instantaneous and immediate.
  4. Value as Information: From the represented object, the documentary record.
  5. Present: Indicate what happens here and now.

Guidelines 1 and 3 were proposed by Nestor Siré (NS) and 2 and 4 by Yonlay Cabrera (YC). Guideline 5 was decided by both of them. The methodology will be that each work will respond to the five guidelines, but focus on a specific one. Each work will respond to the whole and at the same time will function as an independent collaborative creative essay.

At a conceptual level, the project is nourished by the development of Cuban photography, from documentary photography to the recent impact of New Media on photographic processes. We consider that multimedia practices have redefined our conception of photography as an expressive resource and as the creative manifestation of greater presence in the contemporary world. We understand photography as a gesture in itself beyond its particularities as a medium. We are interested in interpreting and reconstructing the photographic process, experimenting with the different states in each of its steps, the ways of representation, and the distribution channels of the resulting object.

We intend to emphasize the action, the idea, the memory, the data, and the intention as photography itself. We see photography in an unprejudiced way, from inside and outside, without fear of breaking or redefining, bringing together all the points that make it up; that is, photography as an expression of contemporary art.

Projection in space of all the metadata (name, URL address, size…), of the photographs included in the Digital Archive of Documentation of the Rubén Martínez Villena Gallery of the Office of the Historian of the city of Havana.

Ensayo#1_#ensayoexisto (documentation of absence)
Format: Interactive video installation.
Guideline to which it responds: Present [5]

Essay#2_Certificate Dogma of conceptual photography
Format: Photocopy.
Guideline to which it responds: No Post-production [2]

Essay#3_Coordinates and watercolors (one phenomenon, two interpretations)
Format: Mixed media on cardboard.
Guideline to which it responds: Photographic Process [1]

Essay#4_Connectify (NS idea solved by YC)
Format: Installation.
Guideline to which it responds: Seriality [2]

Essay#5_Parse (YC idea solved by NS)
Format: Installation.
Guideline to which it responds: Value as Information [4]

Programming: Gustavo Viera and Antonio Serrano
Design: Mauricio Vega

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