[ im ] mortalità

review: Mauro Maldonado

A dissonant, subversive and disturbing video. Rachel Rosalen brings the naked life to the screen, which is nullified in the labyrinthine mask of metropolitan aesthetics that dematerialize the urban territory and the real experience in a virtual horizon. In the transparency of stratified memories and post-modern ruins, it is possible to note, against the light, multiple representations dissolved in the lugubrious and vital prism of an age voided of hopes, of dislocated desiring, spectacular meta narration, which – in a maniac expansion – erases and reformulates, remembers and reconstructs indefinite, mutant and metaphorical landscapes of the contemporary urban scene.

Rome and São Paulo, pre-modern and post-modern (but other metaphor-metropolis may also come to help us), seem like bodies pestered by the unfolds of new technologies that obsessively attempt to find again the archaic myth of a self-narration full of gaps and lacerations caused by historical processes and different traditions, adopted and transfigured in their inner selves, to be returned to the outside through the icons of their own power. Each frame in the video is a brief and intense journey to the fourth dimension, through a space-time continuum – a chronotope – that maintains concrete spaces and events united (entwining themselves). Ruins, palaces, squares, cities are here transformed into the topoi of an amazing fusion through time and space. It is impossible, even through pure abstraction, to divide area from volume, shape from structure, space from time, in their ever-changing bodies. Space and time are that city, that building, that combination of elements and shapes in front of us and on which our lives are spent. Doorstep by doorstep, the author presents her view of a mutating territory, where discontinued, asymmetrical, paradoxical forms give life to an unstable landscape that takes the place of a traditional euclidian architecture. Among these events, where space is the visible form of time and time is the visible form of space, the deletion of the body may be the most disturbing aspect. It is true that having a new view, being a new view, requires inside us a full acceptance of the changes in modern conditions. But, above all, even by realizing that we are not more capable. Feeling from the inside has been externalized, it is no longer born from an inside action. Feeling from the outside is, in turn, this making naked, strange and kidnapped, through what we relate ourselves into the world of life. Thus, shapes, objects, figures, are gathered in mutating constellations that create dull refractions, eluding the tamed vision of the things we are used to seeing, which go beyond the original sphere that had them created in a progressive process of decontextualization, devoid of memory, unrecognizable, and, therefore, greatly fascinating. But, beware! The condition we are talking about may not only be referred to the human being. Dislocated and labyrinthic is our present at its every turn. The desire that moves towards immateriality and no longer towards the ‘thing’ shows the presence of censorship. The body itself is no longer the root, the specific location of feeling, of the sensitive intensity. It appears now like an inorganic territory, a steam of mutations: a closed space where each experience is corrected of its own meaning. How immensely distant from the perception and experience described by phenomenology! Between the experience and the bodies interlaces the mediation, the virtualization, the desobjectification of relationships, within an amazing process of disappearance and modification. Deprived from the soul, from the ability to feel and feed their own desires, these bodies no longer remember the bubbling masses in the cities during the first half of 19th century, but the unstable and nomad biopolitics of unknown urban landscapes. It seems this is the unavoidable fate of the contemporary metropolis, this vessel with its load of bodies on this uneasy journey between present and future. A distressing journey, indeed. But seductive and something that does not cease to have hope.