A chest is a familiar object, it talks about your house.
A chest is your chest. Its drawers can be messy with a lot of things scattered in them or they can be extremely organized. A drawer is in fact the order and structure of somebody’s personality or reflects the extreme chaos of it.
A chest is just a piece of furniture. It can be found on the street, thrown away by its previous possessor.
A chest is replaceable, you will always find a new one.
A chest is a sentimental object, it symbolizes your family’s history or your relationship with someone.
A chest is just another thing you are scared to get rid of.
A chest is fashion and design, you can contemplate it in order to find an aesthetic pleasure.
A chest is just a chest when it fits horribly with the rest of the room.
But can actually a chest contain the virtual world?
Yes, it can when it comes to Patricia Martín-Sánchez work.
She participated to the “Siesta Pinwheel” project that took place last Wednesday at CO2 (Edinburgh College of Art). Like the other artists, she had a drawer’s space where to locate her work.
She chose for a "postcard" from the web and decided to title it About 6,700 results for "Siesta pinwheel", 4/11/11, Edinburgh UK.
The print is the Google research's aftermath. She went on internet, typed “Siesta pinwheel” and obtained 983 images out of 6700 results.
They were downloaded, organized in a grid, printed on a A0 size paper and located in one of the chest’s drawer.
The title is the perfect explanation of how she decided to act. It’s very precise in expressing the exact time and location of the performance. In so doing, we know the contingent moment in which she was on line and did her research.
This project would have turned out different if done on another time, probably the pictures wouldn’t have been the same. The here and now makes it possible, tomorrow it might not be like this.
One of the images shows us a woman taking a nap, another one the costellation Pinwheel. They are linked to each other apparentely just by the title of the Google searching.
Analyzing them from a rational prospective, the viewer has got the feeling to have missed something. The association between the pictures can be even perturbing, in terms of unfamiliarity.
As Patricia states “metaphorically, the piece can be thought of as a jungian drawer for Siesta Pinwheel's collective on-line-unconscious”.
In Jungian words, a collective unconscious is not a personal acquisition but it deals with something we inherited from our history and it’s essentially related to the concept of archetypes. Faithful with their etymology, they stand for pre-definite forms present in our psyche since the beginning. They are obviously not neutral because the do affect our decisions and behaviour, in a not always visible way though.
It’s very clear to me how the artist is playing with what Bruno Latour (and more in general people with a psychoanalytical background) defines as repressed. Unfortunately the point is not so linear and what is repressed “returns and with a vengeange”. For this installation, Patricia has worked with an oxymoron, something very strong and fragile at the same time, like the collective unconscious could be. She digs deep into our psyche to find out what was lost and she kind of suggests us to keep together things and images (of mind as well) that apparently don’t have a linear and superficial common sense. The artist does this through the simple gesture of sticking pictures all together in a grid.
The grid is often a representative symbol for something that has to be compact due to its erratic and unpredictable nature. I think about Rosalind Krauss book for example (The originality of the avant garde) where the author uses a grid in order to describe something changeable and in progress like the avant garde.
Patricia installation implies a very unusual process of familiarization with images and things and I believe it is perfectly linked with the overall project of Siesta Pinwheel.
Here the chest becomes an objet trouvé, de-contextualized from its usual position and offered to the viewer with a new functionality.
I like to think about Patricia's installation as a postcard which reflects the idea of a journey you have done and you like to remember, collecting pieces of it that otherwise could get lost somewhere in your mind.