PROCEDURE, APPROPRIATION, RUPTURE: COUNTER-ARCHIVE IN OBLIVION
The request surrounding the writing of this text comes from an initial conversation with Gabriel Pessoto, where, in his speech, I heard a passage that touched me deeply: the artist told me about a personal trajectory in which there was an absence of references of images of affection and intimacy registered between people outside of the heteronorm. This is because it seems to him that pornography is the only place where this type of image manifests itself. At the same time, in this field there would be, for him, some displacement between affection and sex. This brief conversation circumscribes us and brings us together, creating points of contact where a common dimension emerges.
Perhaps this request takes place in a different temporality, such as the performative dimension entered by Gabriel when he proposes to follow instructions from old sewing magazines aimed at women who manufactured their own wedding trousseau. But here, the mating preparation ritual takes place in another register, where fabric can be paper, cross stitch can be pixel, and, above all, becoming, being and doing can, effectively, be undoing and violating.
To start from this type of memory and material, which is still an archive, makes me think of an archival functioning outlined by Jacques Derrida: as something topological, in regards to the place and also to the home, and nomological, which is linked to the idea of law and authority. The romantic and affective life illustrated by the images contained in these magazines designates a specific type of family model, also of intimacy, inscribed in a heterociscentric domestic and conjugal space. The procedures, appropriations and ruptures proposed by Gabriel Pessoto exercise an active refusal. It can be said that they somehow reject mastery in the name of an idea of failure, along the lines indicated by Jack Halberstam.
Derrida has precisely analyzed the difficulties of archiving, believing that the archive is an archive fever. That is, something that is always being haunted by spectrality, by erasure. When I talk about memory, it is not about memories that are linked to concrete evidence, but to fractured genealogies. I see the works, images and narratives created by the artist as possibilities to circulate another file, a set of ideas of failure that, as stated earlier, are opposed to the binary and hellish opposition, perpetrated by global capitalism, between the ethos of loser and success associated with profit at all costs (which is also linked to notions of discipline and control). After all, who is missing something?
Queer people or dissidents of the sex/gender system, or individuals situated beyond the heteronorm, are often placed on the side of strangeness, lackness and also failure (in its hegemonic meaning). It is worth remembering that queer people also inspire collectivity, with their sets of technologies capable of activating other ways of life. Often, even thinking about the sphere of home and housing, creating shelters, networking, experiences beyond the domestic conjugal space.
Gabriel Pessoto's works make us remember and forget. Remembering carries within itself the difficulties of archiving, something always disturbed by its fever. Actively forgetting can be remembering otherwise, or learning to live with certain ghosts. It is true that forgetting can be a powerful instrument of a dominant culture, but is it possible to think of a queer temporality capable of breaking with a heteronormative notion of time? This possibility seems to me to resonate in Ambiente Moderno. A time of refusal, but of construction. A constructed imaginary, whose atmosphere shows us affections, but above all desires, as unsustainable and to some extent impossible. Not because they are intolerable, on the contrary, but because they are in permanent drift. And I let myself be carried away by it, in a refusal of the path of conquest and success when circumscribed in a dominant logic, a logic that with its archive, images, narratives and restricted scores sustains a form of world that always seems inevitable, but it's just a way of remembering.
Daniela Avellar, 2022
Daniela Avellar researches, writes and works in Rio de Janeiro. Master in Contemporary Arts Studies at UFF, she is currently a doctoral student in Communication and Culture at UFRJ. She was one of the proponents of Regrupo, a follow-up and research group for artists. Teacher of the courses "Listening Policies (2020, 2021)". "From Score to Action (2020)". "Frictions between audible and visible (2019)". Collaborates in the curation and programming of the independent art space "Refresco".