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Planas Archive iterations

A very festive/merry death, 2016

In his book Camera Lucida, Barthes finds a relationship between the image and the past or death: the photographed person will die. A future death is read from the photograph. Through this he concludes that each photograph contains behind it the sign of death and that in the essence of the photographic image the message "this has been" is implied. Barthes’ fascination for the image is that of a man who seeks, like Proust, to recover a life that has vanished.

In another hand, it also communicates the future death of the spectator. This would lead the observer to ask the question “why am I alive here and now?” leading inevitably to the thought of the day in which one will not be alive. Therefore, every photo gives rise to the thought of one's future death.

In her book "The Benefactor," Susan Sontag examines how photography moves between life and death. She writes: "Photographs turn the present into the past. They are a vehicle for the creation of myths that claim the conscience of immortality. Photography also turns the world into a vast cemetery. Photographers, connoisseurs of beauty, are voluntarily or involuntarily, the angels of the death register."

To take a picture is to narrate the meaning of what has already been in the present. The importance about a photo is that it is the testimony of what has been, what happened, what once was and has been defined by the inexorable passage of time. In this way time becomes visible after the photographic act. This act is then a means of commemoration and remembrance.

A very festive/merry death is a project that looks into the concepts of death, document, light, anonymity and phantasmagoria and that understands the photographic machine as a file machine. To work with these ideas I have used a photograph from a file/archive composed of more than 2 million images that belongs to my family and that my grandfather once bought at a second-hand market. After a few years I found it among hundreds of piled-up photographs and it led me to think about the magic that surrounds the presence of an absence. The intervention in this image has a cheerful and festive tone that corresponds to the activity that is represented in it: a picnic. In this spectral photograph emerge strange sensations of what at first seems normal.

Biennale Génova, 2017

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