Book launch at Storefront Gallery
97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012

Visual activism, Installations, Architecture

Excerpt from IP phone conversation between Federico Díaz and Jeff Kipnis, April 22, 2009.

“Art and architecture, have over time, produced a highly specialized discourse.

… But let’s go back to this question of the Resonance sculptures. If you think of them as simulations, then the effect is to be fascinated by how close they imitate something else. But I have a different concept that I use, but I am not trying to impose it on this work. I have this idea that is called “re-origination”. I want to suggest the concept of Federico that helps me understand his work, it’s basically called re-origination. The idea is something like this: Let’s say you read a book, and you make a movie of it. Then I’m interested, first of all in the power of one medium to represent another medium is a really fantastic thing, and we should respect that, and not be afraid of it. So, the power of representation is really good, is important, on the other hand, what’s really interesting to me is when the movie can do something that the book couldn’t do. So, the book gets inside the movie and then becomes a new original condition. When I look at the Resonance sculpture, it’s really fascinating to me, not because they look like water, not because I don’t recognize the representation, but because they do something completely different; mostly because they are still, not because they are moving. And so, it feels like, not that it’s stopped, not that it is a picture of something that’s been stopped, but that it actually stops all the time around it, like in the Matrix.

And what I think is interesting to me, is that I don’t think that [this could be created by] any other technique or technology, but this is only something that could be done in rapid proto-typing, not because of the ability to represent so well, but the material itself, and the way it’s made, has this uncanny ability to produce this effect that nothing else can produce. … What you do seems different for me, there is a way that your project takes on a kind of original art condition. Basically, I don’t believe in such a thing as an idea. I believe that ideas are diagrams that change matter. … That’s why I think the work is so interesting.

I’m going to make it very simple. Caravaggio was a great painter. And most of his great work began with religion. Not all of it, but most of it. What he did, he would paint, for example, John the Baptist. But he would remove all of the evidence, the traditional symbols of religion. The art would make us confront the living reality of miraculous moments. I think that today science is like religion. In a certain way that’s interesting to me, Federico is like Caravaggio, in that he starts with science, and then removes everything that is scientific from it, to leave the part that’s about life. My theory is, from the moment he thought he couldn’t do what Caravaggio did, that’s all he’s been doing. The trick is to understand the relationship between science today, and religion in the 16th century.

Basically, there is something, and I don’t know what to say about this, there is some reason that digital methods can do it and paint can’t. Nietzsche was the first philosopher to ever use a typewriter. And his first publisher refused to publish anything, because he didn’t think you could write philosophy on a machine. There was a belief that there had to be a kind of intimate connection between the soul and the medium of expression.”

Federico Díaz and his team, later named E AREA after one of their late 1990s breakthrough projects, have been working together for more than fifteen years. They have contributed to contemporary art with new stimuli that have broadened and transcended the current way of perceiving art and the concept of a work of art.

Every time Díaz presented a new interactive work, he caught the public’s attention. Resonance was published on the occasion of the international art exhibition Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 where the artist realized Ultra, a site-specific installation curated by Alanna Heiss and organized with P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center.

The cover of the book contains a thermo color that reacts to temperatures from 71,6°F/22°c. The color will change based on heat such as sunshine or human touch.

The book is published by Charta + P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in collaboration with Galerie Zdeněk Sklenář, Prague, 2009