My name is Ciro del Barco (1979). Of Mexican nationality, I was transplanted to the city of Córdoba at an early age. I decided to study philosophy as a way to approach the arts. I felt that philosophy and art are not searching for essentially different things, and in the end both find themselves facing the mystery of existence. I do not believe in the rigid division of disciplines to which we are accustomed, perhaps this is why I never specialized in anything. Or why my specializations always ended up remaining incomplete, mutating. Not without suffering, I never became an actor, I decided not to be a painter, I couldn’t be a musician, or persevere in writing; I ceased to be a photographer, philosophy escaped me, and I don’t think I have much time left as a video-jockey. Although, inevitably, I will never cease to be something of all these things. Much introspection, finding nothing concrete, save for the tyrannical absurdity of reason.
What has always endured for me is the strangeness of what I subsequently defined as the image. I have always been fascinated by the movement of the image when it flows along the stream of consciousness, the space-time, the multiplicity of senses animating the phantom which traverses humanity in a constituent manner; and the necessity, impossible from the onset, of untangling this mystery. Because of this, I have ambled through the labyrinth of mirrors searching for clues. I felt the need to experiment with cinema, but the magnetism of video drew me in the direction of the electronic image, from which I began to film and explore different temporalities, real and recondite. The good thing about video art is that whatever you shoot is art, since you are putting space-time between quotation marks. Are quotation marks art? The good thing about art is that anything you do, with enough care, is art. Warhol must have said that, that’s why I admire him so much.
I currently work with the generation and manipulation of images of all types, trying to feel the texture of the image, of time, tele-transporting (myself) through prolonged ephemeral nocturnal sessions, hours in which video, a time/light machine, awakens. Maelstrom of the conscience: narratives, appointments, incantations, invocations, ghost calls, vivisections and authopsies of dead historical moments. The rhythmic repetition as mantra. Detours arriving at small moments. At present I remain immersed in the dream of the evil genious that dominates the senses. I live by making dancing marrionettes of light. Or something like that.
Vision of art
1. Choose a work that represents you, describe it in relation to its format and materiality, its relation with time and space, its style and theme; detail its production process.
A work that perhaps represents something of which I identify with myself, as a possible artist, could be Lágrimas las del lente empañado (Tears of the blurred lens.) While I was filming, unexpectedly, an atypical act flowed, a supernatural encounter, with a group of beings in the form of cows which beckoned me. Through the camera I felt that something performative (liable to come between quotation marks) was arising, something partaking of the real without fiction, but at the same time oneiric and half sacred. Like in a dream, I could not remember how it had gotten there, and the thing took form until it finally dissolved into the quotidian. Later began the work of reassembling what had occured. The spectre had been captured in the tape. I believe that my works always revolves around a feverish dream that I had during my childhood, burdened by an unsettling strangeness that presented me, in an ostensibly visual manner, with something like the intolerable inconceivability of the infinite ever occuring. An obsession, a specific distress, a desperate incommensurability. The very unresolved I, transubstantiated into the visible, looking at us. Always, or almost always, recurrent.
2. In general terms, how would you suggest to approach your work?
I am not certain whether there’s something within me, as a corpus, that can be called “work”. I rather have ramified attempts, searches, sketches, arrivals, which can be read individually but that could be read in groups, seeing their connections, times, relations, places, situations, trajectories, attempts. In the concrete and particular case of my activity as a video-jockey, I would ask, if it is possible or it makes sense to do so, for a reading that contemplates the functional vicisitudes and that, I do not know how, enters the solitary, quasi solipsist world from whence infinite and perhaps imperceptible emotions came.
3. In reference to your work and your position in the national and international art fields, what tradition do you recognize yourself in? Who are your contemporary referents? What artists of previous generations are of interest to you?
I would place myself, with considerable effort to focalize, in a tradition of autochtonous, post 70’s, post birth of the TV, pre-internet self-taught artists. As influences I would mention the multimedia of Empedocles for its scientific-medical, multidisciplinary approach and its practical notion of space, and Leonardo da Vinci, also for something like that. Bill Viola and David Lynch, Peter Greenaway and Joel Peter Witkin for their obsession with matter and body. The sadistic Werner Herzog for his visual gift, Andy Warhol for his extreme lucidity, coherence and honesty. Duchamp for his freedom to make connections, the madmen of the di Tella, for having fun and doing so in Argentina, Bob Flanagan, Klaus Kinski for his raving lunacy, Lewis Carroll, John Kennedy Toole for his irony. Thomas Mann and Dostoievsky and right now David Foster Wallace, for his cold melancholy, and Benito Laren, whose pages I turn here at Boladenieve.
4. Choose works or exhibitions from the last ten or fifteen years which in your opinion were very significant and explain why
There was a show that struck me as powerfully meaningful in the local Cordobese context, or, rather, I would have liked it to have been so. I do not know whether it was but in any case it was good: Proyecto Amarillo 1, a house performace in 2005 with innocent proposals and good intentions. On September 11th of 2001, there was a Real Time show of something that struck me as undoubtedly “powerfully meaningful”, seen live on that sunny morning on Channel 10 of Córdoba.
5. What tendencies or groupings from common elements do you see in argentine art of the last ten or fifteen years?
I perceive and am drawn to something that is not very good and of which I am a part without success, as is also a tendency: the tendency to produce works or projects aiming at prizes and/or calls. That is, a tendency toward rhythmic adaptation of incentives and legitimizing machineries and production under goals and purposes external to art itself. On the “aesthetic” level, I see the rise of a “Miami” tendency to which I do not relate.