Marginalia - Brazil

Lucas Lugarinho

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#54: Scenescence

Every month Marginalia invites an artist, curator or project to provide a series of images that will serve as the background of Terremoto, in relation to their practice and current interests. At the end of each month, the whole series of images is unveiled. Here is the selection of November of 2019.

The multiple cosmogonies and primal myths that portrait the creation or manifestation of light as a primordial stage of existence—such as let there be light—, make me wonder that perhaps the narrative of humanity and the cosmos might be a meta-history of images, or maybe every single known narrative we ever created could be a story about our entanglement with images themselves.

As we now know, life might have originated in the deepest bottoms of the ocean, pullulating from thermal vents that injected its various ingredients into the primordial soup. Said event allows us to hypothesize that light itself might have been the first alien our molecular ancestors ever contacted, seducing us with its freedom from gravity and time. Maybe those ancient narratives are the oldest memories that we still carry printed into our genetic codes—from our microscopic ancestors into the age of digital images. That way, spirituality could be seen as a survival pact between humanity and images. Just as mitochondria once were independent organisms that developed a mutualistic relationship with other cells: maybe for better hunting, for longer lives, or to rule countries. As an exchange for the material benefits images grants us, we allow them to feed on our sights—as time only exists for pictures as we look at them—thus allowing it to grow and reproduce.

But how can images die in the age of museography and conservation, in the age of limitless storage and thorough coverage of every single event? I bet Flusser would be intrigued. From gods to dildos, from shamans to artists, and then finally, users: the long road we traversed to get to the internet age is the very tree of life for images, flourishing in abundance as never before. But it doesn’t take too much effort to realize that this overflow of images is currently saturating our planet, de-terraforming our ecosystem in exchange to improve their network. The problem lies in the fact that we produce so many images that they just can’t senescence, generating a surplus of content that we can’t stop from storing but can’t really reach out nonetheless, forever frozen in time.

For this Marginalia, I have presented a selection of pictures proposing a fictional field of study for aging images: Scenescence (a contraction between Scene and Senescence). Thinking about how images relate with time, I selected art pieces, screenshots, memes, among other images, while reflecting on how the seemingly endless machine that is capitalism subjects both images and humanity into a suspended timeless space, a landscape always building itself atop the desire of some men to be eternal and some images to be granted death.

—Lucas Lugarinho


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