Hello“Without room in Bearing” work in progress

Álvaro Díaz-Palacios_ “Without room in Bearing” installation (2 videos, sculpture, photography and painting).

“la pregunta que suscita esta escenografía ya no es: ¡qué se puede ver detrás?, sino más bien: ¿es que puedo sostener con la mirada lo que, de todas formas, veo? ¿y que se desenvuelve en un solo plano?”, lo que de todas formas veo es la fórmula de lo intolerable.” G. Deleuze.“La Imagen Tiempo”

“The question raised by this scenery is no longer: what can be seen, but rather: can I sustain with my gaze what I, however, see? And what unfolds on a single level? What I, in anycase, see, is the formula of the intolerable.” G. Deleuze, “The Time-Image”

The following is a proposal that mixes documentary and fiction to recreate a historic moment and contextualize it within the current crisis. This results in a remote investigation: on June 17th, 1816, a French fleet of four ships; the Loire, the Argus, the Eco and the frigate Medusa, departed the port of Rochefort, with the aim to conquer the port of Saint Louis in Senegal, West Africa, a strategic enclave for anyone who would sail to the Cape of Good Hope. The dominante of the sea routes constituted a show of force as well as of commendable political and economic power. Governor Schmaltz ́s hurry to reach his desired destiny made him bring the fleet dangerously close to the coast. A decision that led to the sinking of Medusa and a human drama that preceded that of the Coast of Mauritania; an event that shook the monarchy.

The destination points of these routes were subject to international relations, and travel safety partly depended on the guidelines that consisted of “appaerances and occultations” of the lighthouses of the territory and their “nominal range” – the scope of the light signal – that, still today, are in use as navigation tools. The location of these lighthouses and signals did not always meet a geographical logic, and other factors, often policial ones, also conditioned the reach of the signals, leaving the navigator at the mercy of his manual guidelines – whether they were useful or not. The succes of the missions were also under threat from adverse wheather conditions, local conflicts (that would cause damage to lighthouses and other buildings of communication) as well as technical errors; all this increasing the risk of decreased visibility, often resulting in human tragedies.

Bearing is the angle formed between the visual appearance of an object and true north, within which there is no space for delay, resulting in accident being almost inevitable. This project focuses on the documentation and recreationof the events on the raft and the last known point of navigation – not used – from the planned route of the frigate Medusa in Nouadhibou (lighthouse). In a peculiar Twist of fate, this brings another aspect of focus to the Project, i.e. the second biggest shipwreck graveyard in the World, located off the coast of the lighthouse of Cap Blanc, now a days an abandoned, neglected and empty space.

This project thus represents a reflexion and a recontextualisation of the existencial drama that took place in this space in time.

The work consists of two videos, a sculpture (of the physical device used in the first of the two movies, i.e. the raft), as well as a series of paintings and photographs (on which the second film is projected).