Federico Paladino: 88 Pedazos
Stones have a long history among us: mineralization led to bones, the spinal cord, the brain, and later on, language. They were our first territory, refuge, tool, and also weapon. They were the place where we started to draw and write; we raised them like tombs and charms turning them into symbols of memory. Rubbing them, fire emerged. Do stones have will? Is it possible to reflect upon our story from the perspective of minerals?
It’s 18 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s 14:12, it’s sunny, it’s hot, and inside the National Congress an unfair bill which mainly affects retired people is being debated. Four days ago, during an attempt to revoke the bill, a protest ended in heavy-handed repression by a force of three thousand cops against protesters, loose pedestrians, journalists and representatives. Once again, the new government insists and deploys an operation which tries to stop the demonstration.
The reaction: thousands of bodies stir up, arms with hands throw stones against the rows of policemen. According to Newton’s Law if a body exerts a force over another one, the latter reacts against the former with another force of equal value and direction but in reverse. Every action has its reaction.
Limestone, marble, rock, granite, concrete, asphalt, brick. Pavement, benches, rails, floor tiles, monuments. These are the pieces of a dismantled city that come alive and react. They are the forces of a crowd crashing into the structures of control turning inactivity into activity. What does this rubble tell us about ourselves?
An archive recontructs eighty eight pieces of this action. A sort of geological catalog representing the fossils of a possible civilization. The empty spaces of Buenos Aires as active locations of resistance: Plaza de Mayo, Plaza del Congreso. Images work as condensed nodes of information which migrate and transform people and systems. Making a picture entails an action, it’s another way of shooting. In these photos, taken seconds apart, we see only one hand that holds, a single observer; a collector.
During the night of that very same day, the government picks up and removes the stones. Any evidence of a battle is hidden, those strange bodies that lay dispersed on the public space show the discomfort. Where do they take those remains?
Title: 88 Pedazos
Publisher: La Balsa
Author: Federico Paladino