Ecstasies of Communication
Curated by Raúl Zamudio Taylor
Domingo Sanchez Blanco
Jean Baudrillard’s The Ecstasy of Communication (1988) was a landmark text that came on the heels of Marshal McLuhan’s famous phrase “The Medium is the Message.” While highly divergent from each other, both texts can be characterized as emphasizing the signifier over the signified; that is, where the form that meaning takes to convey itself becomes as crucial as its content.
Ecstasies of Communication is an exhibition of video work by international artists that dovetail on Baudrillard’s and McLuhan’s concepts in one way or another, where often the medium is emphasized or seems equivalent to the individual narratives they articulate. In Kiki Seror” Phantom Fuck (2003), the artist intervenes into an Internet pornographic film scene of copulation to the point where one if its actors is dissolved into an amorphous mass of color whose sexual gyrations are rhythmically set to a hypnotic dance track. Also ostensibly deconstructing modes of visual communication is Emilio Chapela’s What is Space? (2012), a work consisting of “images of space extracted from a Google search for the word "space" while a computer voice reads the Wikipedia article for "space." In a similar vein but overwhelmingly collapsing filmic genres of documentary and fiction is Adolfo Doring’s COMING SOON (2012). Shot with a lush cinematic aesthetic that brings to mind a myriad of films both historically and more recently, Doring’s piece teeters between what is an actual trailer for a film that may be actualized or not, to a kind of Mobius strip where the work folds in on itself ad infinitum. This looping effect is germane to Martin Durazo’s LOVE STAIN (2008) as well, a video that breaks conventions in that it situates itself in a formal and conceptual twilight zone where video, animation, painting, and sculpture intersect. Like Durazo’s blending of disparate media, Yolanda Leal’s Teatrino (2012) works somewhere between video, sculpture, and performance in a work that is presented on a stage-like setting that focuses on two tortoises and their mating rituals that seemed to be culled from National Geographic. Lastly, is Domingo Sanchez Blanco’s Meet my Meat (2012), which is a video/performance in which human flesh becomes a kind of sacrament of communication as it is surgically extracted by a doctor, then grilled with peppers, tomatoes, and onions by the artist as chef, then served on bread and consumed by an individual sitting at a table nearby replete with napkins, cutlery, and red wine. Like McLuhan and Baudrillard, then, meat is the message, and an ecstasy of communication.