Mapping the traps of the invisible
Electronic Images of Latin America

“The Venezuelan artista Magdalena Fernández dismantles the concept of interface from the physical space surrounding the work, its history, and its immediate context in her installation 2ipm009 (2009) (PLATES 12.1-.6), in which she transfers information about reality to a digital field. But the experience she proposes requires the viewer's total immersion in a digitally-processed environment consisting of sounds and images (FIG. 3). Trained as a mathematician and designer, Fernández has, since 1990, been working on a reconstruction of the visual repertoire of abstract art and its legacy in Venezuela and elsewhere in Latín America, creating installations that use space as a theater where viewers receive the stimuli of the work. Fernández has produced a series of audiovisual works in which natural sounds (including rain and little Caribbean frogs known as coquis) are spatialized and arranged as points of light that form geometric patterns projected in darkened rooms. In these series, she explores the transition of data into information and from information to experience that is subject to the mediation of technology.

2iPM009 synchronizes the patter of rain drops into geometric patterns to form vertical and horizontal lines; the sound of rain becomes distorted by the "onscreen" movement of the patterns. Fernández's installation is actually projected into space by a software program running in the camera obscura of the exhibition space. The result is a contemplative scheme to experience a quasi-operatic performance where the logic of drawing is fused with algorithms and animation. When Fernández transfers a tropical sound toan alphanumeric code, she underscores the mathematical and mechanical possibilities of sound, a process addressed by the philosopher Vilém Flusser, who wondered why old typewriters made a clicking sound instead of allowing the carriage to slide silently back and forth:

Clicking is more mechanized than sliding. Machines are stutterers even if they appear to slide. This becomes clear when cars and film projectors start to go wrong ... everything there is in the world stutters .... Everything quantizes. Thus numbers, but not Letters, correspond to the world. lt is open to calculation but not to descrip-tion. Therefore, numbers have to break out of the alphanumeric code and make themselves independent. (1)

The installation thus consists of animated images whose epistemological model or paradoxical logic is no longer descriptive but uses information as a generative matrix of experience.”

(1) Vilém Flusser, The Shape of Things: A Pholosophy of Design (london: Reaktion Boks, London,1999), 62-63.

Gabriela Rangel
Para la exposición
'Contingent Beauty
Contemporary Art from Latin America'
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston