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Synchronic II Atlas is a collective-participative 12 months-long workshop with a special guest in and around Mexico City. It involved an organization as a team of expeditionary, searching the relations between art and science, craft and technology, materials and space. Altas aimed at generating and collectively sharing knowledge.
1. Observation: How do we observe?
The first module is dedicated to the topic of observation through diverse disciplines: art, philosophy, magic, medicine and shamanism, the construction of the western sight and the politic of identities, mathematics, astrophysics and the sonorous. From wonder and curiosity, the scientific method, personal and collective experiences, the history, and creativity, this module explored the question that involves thinking in the present moment, memory, what changes and what is repeated, what other logic and shared and differentiated principles. Observation is a practice, a product and a form of life according to Daston and Lunbeck. What does that mean in our historical, political, poetical, social, economic and cultural context?
2. Drawing: Scientific drawing, technical picture, and graphic narrative.
This module was about acts of observation and visualization. An itinerary through different ways of drawing. Observation tools that become drawing tools. Scientific drawing has been a crucial tool through the history of science, as much for scientists as for the spreading of scientific knowledge. The interest was to explore the combination of “ways of recording” through the discipline of drawing and involving in the act of drawing, elements from the hard sciences, proportions, geometry, and free interpretation. How to draw using other senses than sight?
The third module was dedicated to sound and listening, with an emphasis on field recording, the production of incidental sounds, the creation of artifacts for sonorous perception and in sound as a malleable and narrative mater. There was a search for the sound in everyday objects, the importance of sound in literature, the first recordings in history, the birth of technology and the cultural transformations it implied. Which sounds do we approach as initially and what are their impact on our body and the spatial and temporal relation they generate? How to explore silence? How to sculpt noise?
4. Cartography: Historical account of the creation of geographic, imaginary and Utopian maps.
Cartographic relations that are simultaneously material (among other things) and semiotic (among concepts). How have we drawn the territory? Before being political, economic and cultural entities, what were the regions that we inhabit now?
5. Travel Literature.
In the fifth module, travel diaries and trips of the imagination, as well as different artifacts to travel created throughout history. The territory and the landscape are shown as theaters of the memory and travel, as acts that express belonging and attachment. Going for the sake of it, and its recording as poems, diaries, prose, and essays. From the geographical and topographical richness expressed as the written word, to moral and philosophical arguments that analyze day trip essays, to allegorical comparisons among delving into unknown territories and the processes of personal life; and of course the private reflection of travelers and their meetings and reactions to the world. What are the reasons to travel and write? Which exploration narratives exist? Are still unknown or unoccupied territories?
6. Forms of documentation.
How do our ways of seeing effect what we interpret and thus the multiplicity of possibilities in the registers we make of it? What is the position of a subject in its historical context and how does it context influences its perception, and thus the recording of that place? Interpretative flexibility and anticipated choice criteria. Methodologies. Linear or progressive narratives through the way or telling. Focusing the attention in elements. Differences among documents of observation, documentation and making a record with personal languages. The creation of rules to play with registry modes.
The participants of the workshop were invited to find other ways of looking and other memories, to collect different kinds of samples, notes, sounds, drawings, photographs, testimonies, electrical objects and ideas that are typically sound in various knowledge fields. All the materials collected were connected to trace a map where the diversity in the ways of looking and researching can be made evident. The research activities, doing and exploring were part of the structure of the Atlas in which we will work as a Kunst-Kammer or cabinet of curiosities, participating in centenary discourses. The Atlas can take any form: a book, a video, a sonorous composition, a theater play, a street action, a cabinet or all of them.