Paradise: Real Time
at Ikon Gallery

If cinema ever could succeed in becoming the exact double of reality, it would also fail - since it would cease to exist as cinema.
— Peter Matthews "The Innovators 1950-1960: Divining the real" Sight and Sound 9, no.8, (August 1999)
Forms, colors, densities, odors — what is it in me that corresponds with them?
— Walt Whitman, Leaves of grass

The myth of earthly paradise represents primeval nature in situ, where the body comes into being as nature in idyllic harmony with a world that has just been created. Following that logic, the tale of Eden would not portray a landscape of chaos, disarray, predation or cannibalism, but rather the docile compliance of a natural world at peace with itself. Since the world was freshly made, it only existed in a pre-verbal stage. Adam’s first task was to name the animals with their proper names. This nominal act, which anticipates Aristotle’s archival ordering of the species, articulates the recognition and translation of the ontological condition into language. In that sense, the myth of Eden operates as an introduction to the symbolic order: the name of the father, language, the law, and the archive of nature are the scenario in which the first humans were inscribed.

Paradise: Real Time is a video installation representing random events presumably taking place during one day in the region of Pinelo's paradise in Brazil. The installation acts as a hall of mirrors in which nature is idealized as Edenic, while the dissonance and contradictions of a counterfeit paradise are simultaneously disclosed. Mimetic engulfment is achieved through multiple video projections that surround the viewer and reconstruct entire locations as in a live diorama.

The rupture established by montage creates a kind of differentiation that paradoxically allows the reification of mimetic instances in the interplay of resemblances within the space of the installation. What appears on one screen emulates or resembles the other and vice versa. Through these operations of montage I wished to incite the suspicion of an under-laying order among heterogeneous elements: a mimetic topography operating behind the appearance of reality. In this process, an exuberant archive is set in motion, enabling a viewing experience predicated on unexpected analogies, chance encounters, empathy, alterity or indifference.

The merging of temporal continuity and rupture in the exhibition relates to cinema in a way that resembles how prose relates to Mallarmé’s Un Coup de Dés. In the poem, Mallarmé conceived the page as an open space. Poetry became a synchronic intervention in space, a new site no longer determined by the linear progression of prose. A page in revolt, no longer determined by order, as the reader is coerced to renounce the habit of reading one word after the other. The random possibilities of multiple readings enable a new model of subjective interaction with the text. The reader suddenly entertains multiple choices; a roll of the dice determines the path he or she will follow. A roll of the dice will never abolish chance: the dice enacts chance by rolling. Chance belongs to a larger state of affairs, an all-inclusive one, immanent to itself.

If the photograph is a message without a code, following Barthes’ logic, it can be argued that abstraction is conditioned by the opposite: that of being a code without a message. In Paradise: Real Time, an epistemological dichotomy is set in motion at the meeting points of opposite formations. The immersion in abstraction coincides with the immersion in mimetic representation. Fields of color and fields of imagery are present simultaneously, synchronized as parts of a unified system that sustains them in parallel tension. Various screens provide multiple views of the same subject, where the unfolding of time occurs in an ever-present: an event is not just about to happen or has just happened, it is also happening. Simultaneous spaces, reenacted in variable times, reconvene in their own logic of mimesis and meaning, randomly converging into the walls of the exhibition and the time of viewing.