A series of video conversations between two artists as they attempt to speak and understand across the border between languages
Alys, Máx and Jeffrey are celebrating that the first group of collaboratively envelopes has arrived to Santiago, after being posted in May 2020. The envelopes have travelled across NZ, Australia, UK, Canada, USA, the Azores Islands in Portugal, Japan and Sweden with artists contributing to them as with each stop.
Alys and Máx are planning the exhibition in Santiago. They find that it is much harder than you would think to move the word 'our' between them. They want to make something that is about bringing singular people together into a collective, but the sounds in english just don't combine easily.
Alys posted the first test envelope to Máx on the 10 April 2020. It should take 6-10 working days to arrive in Chile. Instead, it arrived on September 4, after five months. For some reason the everyday occurrence of receiving a letter becomes a massive win and moment of hope, in a world of suspension and intense distance. It. has been a hard winter for us, especially in Santiago, but as Spring comes, we have a small triumph for our project.
As the project develops Alys and Máx begin planning exhibition possibilities, and find the need to learn the lexicon of language around practices of making. We are framing our practice, but it's surprisingly time consuming to translate this word, to the point of comprehension, to the point where a word is available to the mouth, voice, memory. What do we have, as artists, if we don't have frames?
WEATHER. FLOODING. BROKEN WATER INFRASTRUCTURE. HUNGER. POLITICAL INSTABILITY. PANDEMIC. QUARANTINE. QUARANTINE IN HOUSE FLOODED WITH SEWAGE WHILE SNOW FALLS NEARBY. For the poorer neighbourhoods of Chile, it's getting really impossible, and we can't help but swear a lot. And somehow laugh at the escalating, unbelievable tragedy of it all. This short video comes with a language warning. From 6 July.
This clip is reminiscent of that scene in Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog where two characters understand each other perfectly but do not know it. We begin to work with the surrealist practice of the Cadaver Exquisito/ Exquisite Corpse, as Franco Beradi writes of the virus in his essay Beyond the Breakdown; Three Meditations on a Possible Aftermath; “Death is back at the center of the landscape: the long denied mortality that makes humans alive” (Beradi, 2020). It is an apt title, as Chile becomes the fourth highest country in the world for the spread of Coronavirus.