I consider this as one my most achieved works [The dead
Acer tree] and well, I guess that’s why I’m keeping it in the
middle of my living room… well the whole house was designed around
it right… It
doesn’t have an official title – since well, I never
meant to take it from where it is – but I like to refer to it as Castaway.
A contradiction in a lot of senses, almost paradoxical in nature, but in that
paradox is where the most personally meaningful part lies.
The dead Acer was meant to be the fixed point of the room in the sense that I designed everything around that object, those dry tree branches – I haven’t tired, nor I really feel the need to, but I think it would be a great experience to see what happens to the space if you remove it.
It basically consists of a dead Acer tree – originally I wanted Cherry tree branches, then stared at Plum tree ones but I dismissed them for several reasons, but more important, because the now dead tree was once a living one. – And there you have another thread of meaning… a dead tree in the living room… Actually when I showed it to a friend alongside a dead bouquet of flowers I keep in my bedroom he told me I was a botanic serial killer. We laughed but to be perfectly honest is something important – Anyhow… It consists of a dead Acer tree I just decided to stop watering during January or February 2007 until it died. Then I put it on a nice forty centimetres micro concrete vase – I liked those since they hit the massive market – and a cheap dichroic light (35 degree ones) slightly buried on the dirty. So when you turn the light on the branches are illuminated from below, casting their shadows on the ceiling.
I was really impressed and knew that it was a good work when my nephew came to my house… at that time he must have been around 2 or 3 years old… and actually realized about the shadows on the ceiling, pointing them and mumbling something. You know, realizing that part of that work can be decoded by a 2 or 3 years old kid just blew my mind. That’s the main aesthetic objective of the work and I think the aforementioned example is useful to understand how simple and… accessible it is….
Then well… It’s a paradox to call Castaway something that is completely dry – and actually died because lack of water – and that has to do with what was happening in my life at that particular time… The relationship with my ex-wife was degrading and well, a few months after we split up. – Also, I felt I was in some kind of… desert at that time – I always loved the desert as a metaphor… I usually picture myself in one right before falling asleep – so the decision of killing something by stop watering it was a highly meaningful gesture for me back then. And also… because it’s a Castaway in some way. It’s the most important meaningful object inside the little island that my living room is.
But again, all the aforementioned ideas and thoughts are somehow secondary. I originally intended the object as a decorative element for my living room – and materialized it just because of that – so I guess it’s more important to ask oneself what its use is, than what it means.
I’ve decided to call it Unresponsiveness because
of the fact that I was idling totally, lying there, just the camera on my hands,
staring at the ceiling, and didn’t even took the time to perform a white
balance – even if I hardly ever do it… I really like to capture
light tints – so it was almost the ultimate lazy / unresponsive gesture.
Just the movement of my index finger against the camera shutter button four
times. Later I thought about it and that's what I like about that series the
most... I mean, I think they are good photos, just that I enjoy the fact that
at the same time they are the result of an extreme gesture of laziness.
Even if I ended using them [the 4 Unresponsive Photos] both as a slideshow screensaver and printed them, at that time I was just toying with the camera and had absolute no intention to do anything serious with the photos I took.
If the making of Unresponsiveness was the ultimate combination of lazy gestures, Responsiveness was a rush of activity. I hate going to bed before the sun rises – I’m a nightshift person, most of the time I work during the night… I think it’s a genetic trait since my mother and sister experience it as well – so well, shortly after shooting the Unresponsiveness photos I was tired and walked out of the studio and when I enter the living room I see this perfect, almost magical sunlight playing with my dead tree.
Thank god the camera had batteries – I’ve been neglecting it for a long time, but one or two days before we’ve been playing with it with a friend – So I just rushed, picked it up and started shooting frantically, knowing that the lightning conditions were subtly changing as the sun rose, and if I wanted the photos to have a tonal consistency – which is what I usually look for… I’m more interested in series than just single shots, photographs – I had to hurry up.