Ricardo Basbaum: obstacles

An abstract from a blog by another wordpress  blogger:  Brian Holmes :

Ricardo Basbaum  was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in 1961. He is working as artist and writer in Rio de Janeiro.  His work focuses on the way modern society modulates and influences the lives of  individuals, the exercise of power not by erecting  normative disciplinary boundaries but by continuously subjecting individuals  to surveillance by flexible registrative networks.

A recent series of works – such as obs. + system cinema + diagram 2005  – take the form of  installations where one’s passage is modulated by the presence of obstacles, of  miniature iron fences, complete with gridded wire mesh but rising only to about ankle height, marking off but not dividing the volume. This  obliges the participant to perform the simplest of movements: flexing the knee, lifting the foot somewhat higher than normally, stepping over an obstruction almost too low to be noticed.

Added to this are words on the wall: listen to, look at, turn bodily toward, smile at, speak to, express wishes, make bodily contact, ask personal questions, show off, etc.  These words describe actions that bring the self into relation with others. “Thus the physical space of movement, punctuated by obstacles, is redoubled and echoed by words that point to the interactive possibilities of a shared environment”.

At the same time one can watch images of  the activity  transmitted live from a number of  micro-cameras which have been connected to a sequencer, so as to present a cycle of roving viewpoints.

The elements listed above make up  a spatial ‘machine’  that links constrained motion to heightened perception, and surveilled gestures to increased sensibility. This device, in its turn, is the departure point for an experience where “me” and “you” will be  brought into a relation  through the changes in identity and position effected by the rules of a strange game.


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