Brief CV
Luis Berríos-Negrón, born 1971 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is not a curator. He was commissioned artist at the 3rd Biennial of Art of Bahia in 2014, represented Germany in the São Paulo International Biennial of Architecture, and was Danish International Visiting Artist in 2013. In 2012, he exhibited in Paul Ryan's Threeing project at Documenta, and in Ute Meta Bauer’s Future Archive at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Luis has a bachelor of fine arts from Parsons, a master of architecture from M.I.T., and is doctoral candidate at Konstfack/KTH in 2015. He lives in Berlin. Photo by Julia Grossi and Daniel Flaschar
Curatorial Statement
Curators without bodies in Case 4: Reviewing Making-Visible, Anxious Prop (2011) by Luis Berríos-Negrón “In relatedness I can enjoy more, be more, give more, than in isolation.” – Fredrick Kiesler “Two is not a number.” - Federico García Lorca Curatorship is elusive. Reason why self-organization and collectivity are again on the horizon, steadily. When I speak of curatorship, I am speaking about an opaque, devoted exercise, not the self-congratulatory, protagonist fetish it has become. It is that fetish, that need to outstand, that has formalized the curator into yet another power structure that in the end weakens the very resource they work with: the compositional integrity of the work of art. That compositional integrity is increasingly compromised by a confusion between curatorial action and journalism, if the lack of depth of knowledge about the relation between exhibition and representation. While both disciplines deal with representation, curatorial action delves in the matter of situating, not modeling, in a manner that projects the object, not the narrative, of the artwork. In that 20th century period of art critics, Frederick Kiesler (and Meyerhold, et al, in Soviet theater before him) knew this. And that is evident in his extensive experimental exhibition architecture and scenography proposed as correlational practice. Through his Columbia University Laboratory for Design Correlation, he and his students expanded upon manifold exhibition architectures, scenographic works, and other loose variations like the Mobile Home Library of 1937. These could be reviewed, and even contextualized as hyperboles. These infrastructures without curators could in retrospect be referred to as preparations, of an often not discerned material dialectic between instrument and subject. In this material dialectic is where Hans-Jörg Rheinberger elegantly projects the action of Making-Visible, while we find a parallel contrast with George Stiny’s Shape Grammars - a contrast, not only between preparing and seeing as epistemological actions, but how each differentiate from one-another towards exhibiting and production, the space between subject and audience. No doubt these are architectural propositions in their own right, and are in tune with the seminal concerns of The Anxious Prop: about how to stage labor, the contemporary, performative object of cultural production, more specifically, how to curate collectivity, or rather produce curatorship without body. This proposes a vigilant observation of visualizing in architecture that Jan Bovelet and yours truly put forth, and a general need to agitate those ‘truth-procedures’ Tim Gough reminds us of, questioning the teleological leaps that are so pervasive in contemporary curatorial action. Therefore, preparing and seeing can condition the virtues of the abstract machines proposed by Gerald Raunig. These abstract machines seem to us to be a way to reveal and conceal a world where architectural and curatorial action have evolved both, on one hand, into exciting, programmatic, theatrical, fluctuating, physical, mental, biological, collaborative practices, and on the other, toxic, inadequate, crystallized, irresponsible pathologies. Abstract machines have a role in the production of such worlds because their separate components, their monads, not only figure concatenations that make these worlds possible, but also become affective when the machines are only visible to those operating in it. Secret languages can take hold here, and the elusive/opaque qualities that once made the common possible can unwittingly revert into a vacuum where the political potency disbands. Remember, you need to make your gravity, it is about attraction, not promotion. Grounding territories can facilitate a coordinate system adaptable to the components of a given machine, a field of production; but it may also provide an oppositional blueprint for its dismantling. One possibility to set forth this abstract machine of precarious, collective curatorial action is to deftly program a verbal lattice from Rheinberger, Stiny, and Raunig as principal characters of Case 4. Not to formulate judgement frameworks, but to deploy potential formats and preparations that could appear and disappear, leaving behind loosely commodifiable remnants, elusive memories visualized through the action itself of knowledge production... shaking the conference, hovering microphones, bar tables, and all. overleaf: Glass Jellyfish collection at the Naturkunde Museum Berlin, 2011 This essay is an adaptation of what was originally published in “Case 4: Reviewing Making-Visible of The Anxious Prop” by Caitlin Berrigan, Luis Berríos-Negrón, Jan Bovelet, Rick Buckley, Eric Ellingsen, Tim Gough, Mendel Heit, Alexandra Hopf, Boris Kajmak, Anna Kostreva, Miodrag Kuc, Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga, Pia Marais, The MIT Museum, Olivia Plender, The Product, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Carrie Roseland, Salottobuono, Gabi Schillig, and George Stiny.
Projects realized (Selection)
Nonsphere IV (2007) Program Berlin, curated by Carson Chan and Fotini Lazaridou Hatzigoga In the late 19th century, Vladimir Vernadsky discerned a new phase in biospheric dynamics – the Noösphere, or sphere of intelligence – wherein humanity could employ its gifts as a creative, collaborative agent of evolution. Vernadsky marked this change with a new era in geologic time, the Psychozoic Era, in which humanity as a whole is a powerful geologic entity, moving more mass upon the earth than the biosphere; where in this movement, the human project ends up testing its own lifespan. Nonspheres IV is the latest iteration of Luis Berríos-Negrón’s ongoing investigation into the contemporary tension between nature and technology. This project takes the built shape of a digitally generated lattice. This simulation of a carbon tetrahedral lattice fills the entire gallery, suggesting a continuous yet remote set of relationships intended to incite what Freud calls oceanic feelings, or the infantile sensation of boundlessness between the ego and the outside world. This sensation is further induced through works on two geopolitically charged offsite locations - Teufelsberg, Berlin and Bibi Mahro, Kabul. Becoming entwined through these videos, the gallery+audience finds itself at once in the past, present and future, engaged in a lateral world of imaginary time in physical space.