Lucía C. Pino Non-Slave Tenderness

19 Jan - 11 Mar 2018
Non-Slave Tenderness


Naturally, certain difficulties arise when we try to describe the island in strictly human language. First of all, a verb tense has to be chosen, differentiating past, present, and future, and then all the verbs have to be conjugated in accordance with this choice. I can say that the island was, that the island had been, that it would be, or that it will have been. But none of these conjugations or the many other possible verbal inflections are capable of expressing or containing the multiplicity of times that occur in unison on the island, the constant flow of heterogeneous times that takes place there.

The use of the first person singular is also inadequate, of course. This sullen noun phrase, like a too-small suit, falsely presents me as a differentiated, individual, unique self. The puny morphemes of number and person cannot possibly contain our immense, viscous subjectivity, the enormous, final totality of each and every element in this place: the shells, the polyurethane foam, my sweat, the MP3, the mercury vapour in the fluorescent tubes. All of them are me, and I am all of them, continuously and intermittently, and also the overall whole. Ans there is tenderness among us. I am friendly toward the alternating current, toward the pumping of water, the lime, and the different layers of plaster. The toxicity is tender towards me, and I have learnt to love it. And now we are all one, we have a shared circulatory system, a tentacular amalgam of glass tubes and rubber tubes, conduits channelling the island’s transparent blood and our breath, the voltaic current and the movement of the galaxies, all of them activated by a collective heart, a machine-muscle that, in technical terms, is a Sterwins 250TP-3 garden water pump.

It is also limiting and reductionist to give the island this or any name, because the island has many names and its name is ever-changing and never stays the same. Some of its names are sayable in strictly human language: space-time, Spider-Wom- an, reconstitution refuge, ocean-uterus, liquid void, Antonia, compost, cell, Everything. Many other names cannot be translated to the language of individual human beings. Once, its name was the song of all the birds that have become extinct on Earth, and once it was the whole series of names – one after another and all at once – of the mothers of all of us who live there or have or will ever live there. As I said earlier, on the island all verb tenses and all of the world’s times coexist, like geological strata, always accessible, or like the light of dead and living stars in the universe. However, there is day and night on the island, and there are seasons: the season of extreme snow, the season of extreme rain, of the desert, and of spring, which is also the recommended season for dying.

The island, then, has a shifting name, a name in progress, and our language on the island is in itself a complex, mutable, “trans” entity that constantly transforms itself to enable all forms of thought and of expression. Indeed, the island itself is an existence that mutates and sometimes even partly disappears. With its fog, its translucent surfaces, its liquid masses and invisible outlines, the island is, territorially speaking, in a constant state of redefinition. There is, in fact, no physical or conceptual boundary that defines the island, a circumstance that could cast doubt on whether it is really an island at all. We could even ask ourselves whether all the people who work in the museum’s offices, all the tourists who contemplate Miró’s paintings, and all the coffees that will be served at the bar-restaurant from now until the end of time, are also part of the island.

But there is a threshold, a shining gateway, an entrance, and it is like a hymen. And whenever I cross this threshold, I – or the I that am everything and everyone and all things – am able to feel and remember the experience of the birth of somebody or of any of the things or elements that form part of the island, now, in the past, or at a future time. Inside, I have been a mountain in the process of coming into being, the foam that appears when a wave dies, all the microorganisms in water, the pavement that somebody forged in a factory, the activation of an engine with a Tudor 64 Ah battery, a new planet, the first syllable of human language, led light as it was being invented, you when you were born, the very first movement, the very last second.

In Non-Slave Tenderness, Lucía C. Pino undertakes a sculptural investigation to build a future island stronghold, a semi-isolated science fiction landscape where the toxic and waste element is inseparable from the biotic, a place where cables, glass, tubes, light, water, sounds and even people establish a relationship of equivalence with one another. The landscape is made up of a variety of materials emerged from an imagined liquid environment, like a sea or an ocean. Either from the effect of the waves or due to processes of compacting, fusion, care, forcing and technological regulation, these materials have become hybrid objects, conglomerates of heterogeneous sediments. The setting invites the viewer to slow down, proceed carefully, and even adopt a contemplative approach. The sculptures, conceived as live bodies, prefigure an environment where relationships of extraction and submission have fallen behind, and where a new system of correspondences based on care and tenderness emerges.


Alexandra Laudo

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