Larraitz Torres Zumelaga: Forms that enable Transformation

Advisor/tutor: Alena Alexandrova
Independent reviewer: Paola Caspao
Arnhem, June 2014


This thesis is an analysis about some contemporary artworks' intentions, regarding to the coherence between messages and forms. Taking the forms not only of the artwork itself but also about the context, the exhibition format, and the perspective that enables regarding to time. The way a work is exhibited according to the place and how the time is articulated is themaain concern of this thesis. That is why First chapter is about retrospective shows or how to arrange past, and second about how to articulate present, different presents, and third is about mixing times as a way of escaping the standard languages and forms, through artificiallity. In order to follow the time and place axes, 1 found important the analysis and overview of the current categorizations processes, not only in art, but in society. As a way of making them a conscious process and watch the difference between the need and the habit of categorizations.


Larraitz T. Zumelaga's quest on how to activate relational thinking is aesthetically and politically relevant; it concerns not only art making, perceiving and re-accessing, but also the larger social environments art is embedded in. Looking at current categorization processes both in art making and in its socio-political contexts, she aims at making place for the invention of what we could call forms of decategorization and re-agency: non-authoritarian modes of relationality, of perception, of critique, and ultimately of living. Emphasizing the critical force of the "artificial" (against reification), the practical ambition of her research is definitely engaged and engaging; she proposes artificiality as a mode of perception and articulation that includes the unknown, the not yet imagined, i.e. performing the capacity to go beyond given relations and activating new possibilities to organize and experience both artistic works and life. Furthermore, her research reveals an awareness of the performative and critical force of documentation as active re-membrance and re-assemblage, a mode of articulation that triggers imagination as a multidirectional practice, capable of producing unexpected forms of temporal and spatial agency. Should the research be pursued in the future, I recommend that the role of affect as an agent of sociability be explored in depth, since it is only referred to in passing (p. 24, 25), though emotions are said to be "big operators in this process". Another issue that deserves further development is the glossary of articulation modes; privileging encyclopaedia definitions to other resources that could have helped constituting a more accurate toolkit for practical use, it remains under-explored. Last but not least, if the relevance and overall consistency of the proposal are undeniable, there is work to be done so as to develop the practice of writing as a generative/creative research tool, and not only as a supplementary means of "writing-up" research, which in this case clearly plays against an otherwise appealing thinking process.

Paris, 09.09.2014, 

About the reviewer:

Paula Caspão, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow / Performance Studies, Lisbon University Guest Lecturer, Danish National School of Performing Arts, Copenhagen Dramaturge / Intermedia Artist, Paris