A second iteration of the project Flesh, Stones & the Machine is being developed in Paris in 2019 as part of an interdisciplinary project involving performance, video and video mapping.
Flesh, Stones & the Code
The multimedia work initiated in 2017 in Madrid takes as the starting point the Antelope Canyon, Arizona (USA) and its rocks' unique textures, shapes and colors. The artist projected her pictures of the Canyon on naked, painted-in-white, bodies of models. Through light projections, the artist plays with matter and its appearances. Landscapes’ and human bodies’ lines and textures merge to create a new environment at the crossroad between the organic and the mineral. Laying in the original fetal position, humans are central to the visual scene. Models’ postures invite us to recall of the uterus and the development of babies in their mother’s belly, giving this artificial setting a surprising feeling of familiarity.
Behind the visual metaphor of pregnancy, there is the idea of a spiritual rebirth and the artist's conviction that all human beings have an individual in gestation within themselves. Inspired by esoteric ideas such as the Magnum Opus in alchemy, by various mythologies on the theme of spiritual rebirth, and nourished by more scientific theories about individuality from the field of psychology, the artist explores the paths to reach self-awareness. The distant, observing, top-down and objectifying point of view on the models is a nod to scientific practices of observation and experiments in which the aim is similar to the one of the artist here: investigating the fundamental nature of things.
As an orchestra conductor, Irina provided clear guidelines to the models as to generate the postures to reach during the photo and video sessions. After one minute, the models were able to explore their own expression and took an active role into the project. Bodies searched their places, testing limits and barriers and gradually gaining consciousness of the environment around them. Fetal positions evolve towards more open postures, from discomfort to comfort, from tension to liberation, expressing anxiety as a result of fear to the unknown.
When exhibited, the videos and pictures were shown in a specific stage setting in which they were visible only through holes in the walls of the gallery. In Irina’s words, “ The photo or the video can be seen only with one eye through hole embedded into the wall. Photos and videos reside behind the wall - we don’t see them overtly because they talk about a hidden truth. This is also an answer to the proliferation and dictatorship of images today, a phenomenon that fosters the death of our intimacy but also of our potential for introspection. Here the images are available only to the ones that are really willing to look at them, therefore creating an intimate relationship between the subject of the image, its author and the viewer ”.
During her residency, Irina met Natalia Muñoz Izarra and her Camera Van Project, in which she uses the inner part of a van as a dark camera to explore the possibilities of analogical photography. Natalia was the invited artist at the exhibition Renacimiento. Collaboration between both artists provided a way for experimentation and a different view on Irina’s project. A role reversal where Irina posed under landscapes’ projections gave the artist the opportunity to interpret her own path to self-awareness. Please click HERE to see the work.
Flesh & Stones Teaser
Flesh & Stones is a multimedia work about birth produced with the participation of dancers, actors and performers. It originates from Irina's work Renacimiento, created during her residency at R.A.R.O Madrid in fall 2017. Part of the project involves a collaboration with the artist Lia Mun (see RENACIMIENTO IN THE VAN).
The first iteration of Flesh & Stones has been exhibited at Espacio Nigredo in Madrid in November 2017. The scenography of the exhibition was key to the work as the images and videos were visible only through pinholes in the walls of a dark room. With a reference to the process used, the camera obscura, this staging fostered an intimate relationship to take place between the viewer and the images. For documentation of the scenography and more information about the project see BACKSTAGE.
Acknowledgments to Inés Clara Sánchez, Estelle López, Raùl Delbado and Miguel Ballarin for their wonderful performances in danse and acting; to Jose Abajo Izquierdo for being a constant source of inspiration; to Lia Mun (Natalia Muñoz Izarra) for enriching the project with her art; to Israel Guerrero Vàzquez for conceptualizing and designing the exhibition; to Almudena Blanco García for being an unconditional support during the residency; to Daniel Vega for his precious collaboration; and to Nigredo Espacio for sharing the place to show it to the public.
(*) Irina Jibert has worked at Black Balance Club and at Daniel Vega’s studio
(**) the videos displayed on the website only show extracts of the original ones