Fused americas
Interactive installation
El Borde Galería de arte, Buenos Aires, 2003 / Woodstreet Galleries, Pittsburgh, USA, 2010 / Bienal de San Pablo, 2010

This work is based on a white flag artificially flaming in a mast, that functions as a screen for an interactive system. The PC is programmed to emit a beep, choose a random Latin American flag design and project it on the flag each time it receives a signal from the movement sensors. The room's floor is divided in eight sections by dotted lines. Over each of these lines there is an infrared barrier. When one of these lines is interrupted, the system generates a signal and sends it to the PC. The superimposition of the different flags works by light colors addition, as an inverted prism – the sum of all colors is white. Seconds later, the random sequence begins again from black.


Physics/politics

Wall text

According to a physical law, two objects cannot be in the same space at the same time. The division between bodies or territories is always political and implies a shock. But, what happens when instead of a confrontation there is fusion, two forms that join to generate a new one? A flag flutters in an artificial way; the abstraction of its forms and colors no longer represents the same values as in its origins, and it receives a new meaning everyday.

A limit created by men, the power of a territory, a culture that defined the limits of its physical and symbolic body represented by patriotic forms and colors. Identity works like a magnet, bringing groups together and dividing people that live on one side of the river, a mountain or an imaginary line like a parallel or a meridian, from the ones on the other side. Neighbors at odds or simply differentiated by an ordered, decreed and established political matter settled by thinkers of a time in which reason and private property were the dominant ideals.

Latin American nations are dominated by economic groups fighting for resources instead of traditions. From a symbolic point of view our countries have trouble understanding their positions. Democracies defined by European standards do not manage to give anything back to the inhabitants of these countries. With institutions in crisis and people suffering hunger, the limits and identities only serve to crowd people in a current account of debts with the IMF.

The flags, these symbols of independence, gained with proud blood in diverse battles, are losing today their reason to be in a symbolic war played in a battlefield distant from the physical level, in a world with a new way to delineate borders.

Which of these countries is independent? What is the meaning of our flags? The computer translates forms and colors into numbers – bits – that can be transformed by quick arithmetical operations and generate new forms as bodies interacts with artificial limits. The mathematical operation is a simple addition of light colors and complex symbolical multiplication over the flags of the different nations. The symbols and forms that represent each country, are as arbitrary as the random function in a computer program. The multimedia projector raises the possibility of a concentration: the flag-like screen functions as an inverted prism where the different colors of light converge into a single white color. A full and even lighting that would elinimate all shades, vertices and divisions is still an aspiration.

Soon the flag is fluttering alone in its mast, without other technology than that of an iron bar and a textile ready to be loaded with a new meaning. To fuse: from Latin fundere, to found, a base, to construct? Another physics principle says that nothing is lost and everything is transformed.


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