« [iDC] Questioning Two Experiences with Situated Technology | Main | submidialogy#2 »

September 29, 2006

Gustavo Romano


Time Notes

Time Notes :: EXCHANGE OFFICE :: Orchard Road, Singapore :: The action starts with a stand in Orchard Road (in front of the major Shopping Mall of the city) where two persons ask the passing people what do they think about the new Time Notes money system, and invite them to exchange a bill with something that they think it is worth.

"Gustavo Romano employs actions, videos and Internet projects in order to subvert and dismantle a naturalized perception of everyday occurrences. As opposed to the modern pretension that the time and space we inhabit is unique and homogeneous, Romano forays into multiple, fragmented instances of time-space. His works record displacements achieved by way of optical devices (telescopes, satellite views, microscopes, x-rays or night vision), distortions of duration (by manipulating video or electronic recordings) and diverse forms of dislocating genres. In his works, the natural habit of seeing things in a single way in broken. Such is the case in pieces such as Lighting Piece , an ephemeral match that burns endlessly with an eternal flame, or in Pequeños mundos privados (Small Private Worlds), a specular proposal that—just as in La Reproduction Interdit by Magritte—,deconstructs space—Chinese boxes—as well as time—and in this circular proposition, where is the beginning and where is the end? Where is the limit between the reflection and what is being reflected?


As George Simmel pointed out in the early 20th Century, all economic exchange should be understood as a form of social interaction. Others would coincide as well, from Bronislaw Malinowski (with his theory of exchange), to Marcel Mauss (in his Essai sur le don), and Claude Lévi Strauss, for whom the actions of give and take and their reciprocal nature are present in the collective unconscious of all human society. Time bills emerges from a terrain that is nourished as much by this Sociology of Exchange or Economic Anthropology as it is by a tradition of artists' interventions involving bills (from Pop to Fluxus, in particular). The work—which functions within a public space that here, is simultaneously an art space and a political space—, consists of soliciting a “commercial” exchange from passersby: What would they give in return for a bill by an artist? What are these bills worth? Their exchange value? Their use value? Their accumulation value? Are they art transformed into merchandise? Money, the bastion of modern society, symbolizes a spirit of rationality, calculability and measurability. Nevertheless, history has registered very different mechanisms for exchange. The potlatch , in North America, used to take place in the form of a ceremonial celebration, New Guinea's Kula Ring used to include magic rituals, and Hell Bank Notes are considered a monetary currency for the next life, offered up as a way of venerating ancestors, etc., etc. Furthermore, in Time Notes , the nomenclature of the bills does not refer to an abstract value but to units of time; is time money? Is it a Faustian pact to buy time—eternal life?—in exchange for something—the soul? In the face of money's ostensible impersonal value and abstract homogenization, Romano reveals a manner in which idiosyncrasies, desire and belief can persevere behind every note." -- BELEN GACHE

Posted by jo at September 29, 2006 05:08 PM