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Hello all and welcome to The Only Constant video collective blog. We are The Only Constant, a collective of emerging video and filmmakers based in London. Our ethos is to challenge visual taboos and create forward thinking moving images. Our aim? To rant, rave and INSPIRE.

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Sunday, 31 January 2010

'Digital Spectrum of the Body' by Caroline Rodrigues: about 'Tropic of Capricorn' by Kika Nicolela.

Digital Spectrum of the Body by Caroline Rodrigues
About Tropic of Capricorn by Kika Nicolela.

North-American Minimalism brought up to modern art the possibility of radical changes in the observer's point-of-view, according to the space in which the art work is inserted. From this though some of the most creative fields of nowadays' art emerge: Public Art as an existence outside galleries and Video-Art as the nature of digital moving image inside these institutions. When the spatial configuration is changed, the time of perception is also transformed. Therefore, the central point of the discussion is the possible transformations in the phenomenology of perception inside the observer-art interaction.

When the same digital image is yet converted into different media, its nature stretches. That is how Kika Nicolela works, an artist that browses trough the possibilities of the digital world stretching the borders between observation and experience. Tropic of Capricorn presents itself as the paroxysm of this choice. Kika invited four transsexuals from São Paulo to expose themselves trough images produced in a cheap hotel bedroom. Despite being the working place of the majority of them, the performance here demanded was about talking about what the situation brings to mind: stories, desires, fears. The camera is high and vertical positioned like the bedroom lamp, lighting the centre of the bed, where they lie themselves down, one by one, and stay for a while, alone with the cine-eye. Jéssica, Jennifer, Márcia and Samara gift the curious observer with erotic stories full of fabling.

The environment turns different between each one of them and the camera, who acts as a hole in the lock, sexual partner and confidant; but in the course of the image production, the atmosphere warms up in each body with the simple talking about it. And despite the monochromatic bodies pasted in the video image surface, the underground becomes deeper, a delusion of self-knowledge through desire indeed found in the last moment of shooting, when Kika asks Jessica: “Was it good for you?”, and after a quick smile comes the answer: “Wonderful”.

The edition of thirty minutes is an intense documentary about the desires' underground. Observed inside an art gallery it may fit as a glance at this distant world, and at the same time intimate in anyone's skin. But from this voyeur observation an experience has been proposed: in the installation with the same name, Kika rebuilds the scene where the images emerged in a bedroom with a simple bed, where the image is returned to by the projection in realistic dimensions. The transsexuals’ spectrum inhabits now the bed exposed to public. The bed is not only initial work place of the transsexuals; it is future and potent media of being someone else in a dreamful sleep or in full immanence sex. A possibility of action is brought up here: who lies down in the Tropic of Capricorn's bed may become another, may become the other's fetish, the other's dream, the other's pain, whether lying aside the projection as an accomplice, whether receiving in the own body the hot skin of the projector's light, feeling transformed by the trans-sexuality phantomized into art work.

Who lies in Tropic of Capricorn's bed joins skin's surfaces and spectral image, moistures the reality of documental representation and the reality of experimenting a body's spectrum. This can surely lead us to the discovery of the self with Lygia Clark's relational objects. By means of rocks, plastic bags full with water, sand and several textures placed in the interactor's body, Clark proposed an intern diving. And couldn't digital projection be a contemporary relational object, as a self diving through the spectral self of someone else?

Expanding her images to different possible media with digital technology - photography, video-art, cinema, projection - Kika not only shows that her work has a multiple character and a liquid autonomy like the Zigmunt Bauman's liquid society wishes, but presents a kind of image liquidness that transmutes into horizons of subjective-universal glances. In this way her work streamlines an issue still locked in documental and plastic representation of the other in a Brazilian contemporary art, stretching this other's conceptual existence until its inexistence, trough the double spectrum of projected digital image.

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