Raul Silva: Something better than me

‘Aeroponic’ – root systems nourished by air – Acts is the name given to the nomadic Dutch Art Institute’s final & festive iteration of the two year long so-called Kitchen* trajectory. Aeroponic Acts are conversations-in-a-form. Each presenter addresses one question as a practice of engagement.

Here you will find the documentation of Raul Silva's presentation as filmed by Baha Görkem Yalım, followed  by a written report, authored by Harun Morrison, which includes a summary of the spoken comments by esteemed guest respondents Barby Asante, Lisette Lagnado and Momtaza Mehri. 

Something better than me

Raul's question: What do we have to change?

Raul's introduction: A relation between visual signs, creating different symbolisms to approach history. I am trying to produce a cycle of interpretations that need to be decrypted over and over with a graphic object.

This project tries to reflect how our historical failures to change the current political system have brought us to realize that we are at an endpoint that cant be reversed. Or if it could, how would it be? We need to change our interests, our way of feeling, understanding and perceiving. Our way to interact. Seems impossible. But what is this other form that can be better than me?

Harun's report: This presentation was in two distinct forms, one being a freesheet:  a drawing that contained multiple images, scientific references, an explanatory text and symbols. We were invited to spend time with the drawing and free-associate and make links between what we discovered on the page. It felt like deciphering a map, without knowing the meaning of the key, or compass points. The destinations you arrive at in your mind, becoming reflective of your own interpretations more than anything else. The second part was a video speculating on disappearance and simultaneously being forgotten, or no longer thought of - twinning two notions that do not automatically go together.  In the context of Raul’s ongoing research it cannot be separated from history of ‘forced disappearance’ in 20th century South American political histories as well as the rainforests themselves. 

Momtaza MehriI welcomed the encouragement to interpret the print. What came first, the drawing or the text? There was a recurring image of light, the recurring symbol of the birds. Something flying straight into the face of disaster. Maybe we should doubt what captivates us? It’s hard to think of a poetic practice outside of capitalism, everything we produce is within that lexicon. Poets don’t make money so they’re ethically protected - haha - I speak as a broke poet who is simultaneously artworld-adjacent. How does what we consider real or imagined escape from these systems? The text provided a potted history. My provocation would be to ask how do we heighten the sense of urgency? How do we make clear ties between the past and present? 

Lisette Lagnado: First of all I was asking myself: what kind of question do we have to change? You bring a lot of assumptions that are very strong. I could imagine it is your position. . .  some of these positions are so loaded I was curious which political writers inspired you? Then we see the film, when you talk about disappearance - I don’t know if I'm mistaken – but see it as a political disappearance not the existential one. When I read disappearance, I’m not sure which articulation of disappearance the film was transmitting. / Pigeons bring us nasty visions of the future.

Barby Asante: We are here, because you were there. . . Is Left and Right inherited? . .  I was thinking about the film from an artist's position, really trying to process something that hasn’t been fully processed yet. So I think for me you were not yet present to the place. When you lose a sense of the place, you can try to work out what your relationship to a place is. So I'm interested in the title, and the search for SOMETHING BETTER THAN ME.


Raul Silva's "Something better than me" was presented before live audience at the Posttheater in Arnhem on August 26th.

Find the overview of all 24 AEROPONIC ACTS 2021 here: UNDERSTORY CHANT

About Raul Silva