© 2005 Ana Rosa Richardson - The Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth
My work as an artist is a conscious interaction with my body’s experience. I realize that my body is my memory and knows more than I consciously perceive. From the daily interaction between my consciousness and my body, I draw the energy that I transform into my art. I was about ten and I was lying on my bed during the siesta reading Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I suddenly glanced at the top of my wardrobe and I saw a long, thick strand of light which was vibrating slightly. I took fright, threw my book away and huddled under the bedcover. From that period, I have other memories of SEEING what I now call “cosmic landscapes”. And I believe that these landscapes are the first phase in the process.
My last painting was “Map” (1984) and with the action “Burial of the Painting” I put an end to the “plastic gesture of painting a work of art” because it is an integral part of humanity and kept my perception stagnating in a narrow analytical intellectual aesthetic.In 1986, I decided to transpose lightweight vector polygon graphics from the computer screen to sculpture, making polygons from thin sheets of reflective, clear, mass-dyed acrylic crystal, laser-cut into very fine lines. Multiple parallel rows of acrylic crystal polygons were slotted vertically into a horizontal surface of clear, reflective, acrylic crystal. Thus in 1987, I made my first laser sculpture. 7. Laser sculpture
The basic design of these works was as simple as a drawing on paper. Laser sculptures do not suffer from the interference of opaque masses in space, and the juxtaposition of transparent elements creates an almost immaterial, evolutive image8. Laser sculpture – the target
In plastic terms, my sculptures, like the rest of my oeuvre, are a direct interaction with the human body.9. Laser sculpture – le porte manteau What interests me in the visual process of my sculptures is that the spectator watching the image evolve forsakes his mental dialogue and reaches an inner silence in which time is suspended in space. My laser sculptures bring me the mystery of other dominant presences, different from what I think I know yet do not perceive. For my last painting, “Map”, I had used a model with photos of men’s faces framing a war-torn landscape. I divided the image into 12 equal rectangles and for each one I made a figurative pencil drawing in a sketch book with a stiff white cover that I called “The White Book” (1987). 10. The White Book The White Book was used as the basis for “Puzzle” 11. Puzzle in “Voyage Ordinirique no. 1”, which is composed of various laser sculptures and the “Semiotic Cell” environment. 12. Semiotic Cell Before cutting out my sculptures with the laser beam, I visualized them in 3D and made them revolve. This mental process helped me see the energy, because once, when I was visualizing the image of the sculpture “Clothes Rack”, 13 Clothes Rack – part of the mentally visualized sculpture a black circle appeared in front of me, like a tunnel pulling me towards it. I really felt it was going to suck me in. In my fright, I gripped the edge of my desk and fixed my eyes on other things in the room until the image I felt in front of me, tugging at me, had disappeared. This experience bothered me enough to make me stop visualizing my sculptures in this way. “Calendario Lunatico” (1991), wood and paper, is a work with 10 hanging elements aligned in space and time. Each hanging is graphically different from the next and is made up of two wooden slats which hold the upper edge of an 84 x 100 cm white page. 14.Not Doing – Calandario lunatico – Doing
On the page are black photocopies of the various 3D phases of a laser sculpture which suggest an everyday activity (“doing”) and on the back floats a fine piece of wood-based paper measuring 50 x 76 cm on which I have drawn small fragments with a brush and black ink (“not doing”). Seen from the side, the white page is on the right and the wood-based paper is on the left, each in its own world, back-to-back; the world of everyday “doing” propels conscious energy towards the world of “not doing”, while the world of “not doing” is reflected in a fragmented way in the world of “doing”.
From 1992, working with a partner, I produced interactive performances on the Numeris network then, from 1995 on I developed them on Internet.
List of performances: 1992 “New World Network” Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie de la Villette - Paris / 1993 “Nomadism and Other Cultures” 45th Venice Biennial, Media Park Cologne / 1993 – “The Body in Signs, Parodied”- Centre Georges Pompidou - Paris/ 1994 “Commedia del arte”, “Art in France 1970-1993” - Gallerie Moderna d’Art Contemporain - Bologna / 1995 “Overdose Family”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sao Paulo / 1996-97 “Coca Tango”, Villa Médicis hors les Murs AFAA Argentina / 1997 “Megalith”, Rencontres électroniques de Rennes / 1998 “Geobio City”, Gladbeck Germany / 1998 “Puente de l’Inca”. Aconcagua Mendoza Argentina - Silicon Valley USA.
My experience with interactive network performances prompted me to use the quick visualisation and decision-making peculiar to computer images in my ordiniric signs, leaving aside any notion of a “work of art” or “mood”. This sharpened my sense of the ephemeral because of the abstract side of communicating through simultaneous imagery. An active, interactive space was established and it became my refuge in a sometimes cruel game of give-and-take in a multi-directional world. My graphic responses to the public were short and sharp.
My experience of performances on my “Réseaux Ordiniriques” website, a simple act of communication based on the relative freedom with which several people could activate small pieces of a network game, also activated something in my everyday life which
was more pleasant to experience than conventional relationships, which lower the energy level.
After the “Coca Tango” performance (1997), I decided to suspend my artistic activities and switch to another area of my life and work, in order to live as long as I could on the American continent.
I slipped into another network of another material reality in which it was me who reached out to other human beings who had evolved in a different way, in parts of the world where there is a concentration of forces in the environment. These human beings and geographical areas function like energy centers for me.
I carried out an intensive search for cosmic energy in what I call ‘fieldwork’. In many different ways and through many different experiences I worked to change my everyday life as much as possible and to adapt my personality and my body to the immediate needs of communication. So I set off on a fast-paced treasure hunt not knowing what to expect.
In this process, which could be qualified as “magic”, rather than always following one path, I went by leaps and bounds, sometimes from one geographical extreme to the other, sometimes going backwards or stopping short and changing direction. If I were to seek analogies for my movements and attitudes in the animal kingdom, I would say that I sometimes hopped like a hare and sometimes ran like a fox.
The time I spent in the various places was not rationally planned; it was conditioned by the success I met with.
In spring 2002 I decided to stop traveling for a while to develop the work I am doing now. I adapt the technique of my energy pictures to what I SEE. If I SEE that they require traditional techniques, then I use them; if I SEE that they need new technologies then I use them. I act with the physical and emotional pleasure of executing a work with free, fast movements guided by the energy I receive.
Cosmic energy appears without any ritual and it could be said that it is abstract, not in its form but because of the context. It has no relationship with immediate sensorial needs and is not associated with anything else at the moment when I SEE it. I feel that what I SEE is part of the essence making up the cosmos and my own self.
I SEE cosmic energy with my eyes open, watching it calmly as long as it is there before me and I imprint it on my memory; as soon as it disappears, I do a drawing in as much detail as I can. For I know that the energy of a new visual universe which is not part of our everyday visual environment will vanish if I do not work to remember it.
I take no drugs or alcohol. I follow a sober path which is not always easy but is essential for keeping a lucid mind. In this state I have no doubts about my work, even if I do not always know the meaning of what I SEE in cosmic energy.
What do I see in cosmic energy, in conscious energy? I can list them as follows:
1 – My cosmic body. This is the result of the everyday, physical work of interacting with my double, in an effort to SEE and prolong its movements.
2 – Landscapes of the cosmic sea. The “first phase”, in which I observe the landscapes, is a matter of daily, almost natural, interaction. A different kind of visual concentration is needed for me to enter the landscapes.
3 – Cosmic entities. These are spectacular and appear unexpectedly, without any physical action on my part. My body senses them before I SEE them. They demand great visual concentration.
4 – Fragments of my inner body. These are images, very occasionally sounds, which come to me in a disjointed form. They do not have the dynamic energy that the others have but I think they need to be taken into account.
5 – Searches. These function like a search engine.
A few words of explanation for numbers 1, 2 and 3.
1 – My cosmic body. This is my double. My cosmic body is in constant movement. Wherever I am and whatever I want to do, if I let my mind and body drift, I soon see it moving. The first time I was aware of seeing it, I was in my bedroom during the day time doing exercises to limber up. I saw a few fine strands of light moving in space and at the same time I felt a strong presence beside me. I kept my eyes on the light strands and let my body mimic their movements.
Before SEEING my cosmic body, in a “search”, I SAW myself
writing with green ink in a sketchbook with a white cover, which I called “The
White Book” in 1987.
In May 2000, I put a blank notebook in my bedroom and wrote a few sentences in it without really knowing what I could do with them. A few days later when, in the same bedroom, I discovered my cosmic body and mimicked its movements, I was terrified that I would forget them and hastily described and drew what I had seen in the book using green ink. So, in other books and with other inks I described and drew some 700 cosmic movements in 2005. All I draw is the movement of these fine luminous strands. In these luminous lines I sense a relationship with the computer animation I did in 1980.
Here is an example of one of the simplest cosmic movements (text and graphics 471/788 – MC). Initial position: feet parallel, arms beside the body. As the right foot steps forward, the hands and outstretched arms describe a large circle to the right, above, left and below, and the left foot slides behind the right foot.
These movements are repeated twice and the torso twists to the left, the hands reach up and left, the right hand higher than the left, and both bend at the wrist, pointing to the ground, making a downward spiral movement. I have been doing these exercises with my cosmic body every day for over five years and the relationship is a basic part of my life.2 – Landscapes of the cosmic sea. The first phase appears in an everyday interaction and when I watch it calmly I SEE a moving, glowing white light a little over ten centimetres in diameter. When I look closely, the white ball of light extends in an open tube which is like a semi transparent web constantly changing shape, shrinking into a cone at the end or growing within the diameter of the white ball of light and following its movement. This is the second phase. I drew the first phase in charcoal on canvas but the resulting images were dreary. I was not satisfied so I carried out a search and SAW how I should make them with paper.
|Cosmic landscape, first phase||15. Cosmic landscape|
These “Cosmic Sheets” are what interest me most in the cosmic landscapes. With intense visual concentration, I can enter the landscape, as if I wanted to observe a drop of water, and I SEE a different image each time, except for a few which are repeated. The Cosmic Sheets are technically very different from the visuals of the first and second phases of the cosmic landscapes.3 – Cosmic Entities. I have already explained how I SEE them. Now I will explain how I work on them. The dates of the cosmic entities correspond to the year I SAW them, not the year I made them. I carried out a “search” to find out how I should make the cosmic entities and I SAW my first work, which was hanging from the ceiling, made from translucent paper unfolded in 2 dimensions. I understood that I had to model clay into an uneven undulating surface and make an imprint on the paper. . 16. SKIN – first imprint When I had done that, I SAW that there was a piece missing. It was the pale blue irregular canvas where I had made the clay moulds and which bears their trace, that is, the trace of the earth mould. 17. Trace clay mould « the sex »
The cosmic entity “SEX” (seen in 1998) is made of two entities inscribed in the universe; they are intertwined, male and female, and their energy-generating potential is indissociable.18. Cosmic Entity « SEX»
The cosmic entity “SOUND” (seen in 2002) is a diagram which encompasses all sounds.19. Cosmic Entity « SOUND» 20. Diagram « SOUND»
The cosmic entity “FEAR” (seen in 2001): when fear comes, the gear wheels disengage creating a void which fear invades until the gears interlock again.
21. Cosmic Entity « FEAR»
The cosmic entity “ENERGY MATRIX” (seen in 2003): this cosmic entity must be processed on a computer.22. Cosmic Entity « ENERGY MATRIX» The cosmic entity “MEN FROM THE SEA” (seen in 2000): the sketch is just as I SAW it on a wet winter’s day, looking out at the Caribbean Sea. The lines of the sketch represent fine grey strands outlining the human body in constant movement. There were many bodies, beautiful, sober, walking proudly in from the sea. 23. Cosmic Entity « MEN FROM THE SEA» - sketch
Working in my studio, in 2003, I made the clay mould from the sketch, then took a print on paper. When I saw how stiff and rigid the bodies were, without thinking I put them in a tray and ran them under the tap. With the pressure of the water, the stiff material became a moving, gelatinous substance that was difficult to pick up; I spread it out on a table and that is the result of the work. The difference between the final image and what I had seen disturbed me so I decided to carry out a search.
This is the answer I received, although I failed to catch the first words in the sentence.
“… these bodies continue to live in an terrestrial substance. They are living, organic bodies, scattered everywhere; they are part of our lives, part of our everyday existence. They were the fathers of this world, the men who came from the sea.”
Question: Why did they come from the sea?
Answer: Because the sea is life as it is death. Everything is continuity.
Question: What were they exactly?
Answer: They are our ancestors, those who have illustrated us in the universe like magical beings; they are not eternal, but die eternally in this world. That is why you loved them so; because they are part of your life, your blood, and your moods. Humans are like them, all human beings.The cosmic entity “DOOR” (seen in 1998), I saw it looking out to sea on the Normandy coast, where the Allied forces landed during the Second World War. It is a gigantic black disc which turns and communicates with other worlds. 24. Cosmic Entity « DOOR» “VAULT” (seen in 2000) is a cosmic phenomenon that I have not yet produced in plastic terms. I have not yet classified it. I SAW it one a sunny spring day, when I was sitting on the sand looking at the sea. Some part of me travelled far away and came to a grey vault, then turned round and came back again. 25. the vault – I made this draw immediately after the event in a particular state, always sitted in sand
I did a search asking: What is the world locked in this vault? All galaxies? A parallel world?
Answer: All galaxies and all other worlds are locked together in a sphere. All energies reverberate in this sphere. Elsewhere, apart from them, there is nothing, a total blank.
Question: What is this total blank?
Answer: A complete void. There is no life. Everything in this sphere is a reflection of the sphere, the universe is a reflection of itself.
Question: And where are the cosmic entities? Inside or out?
Answer: The entities are everywhere. They are immaterial and eternal. The sphere generates itself so it is eternal. Outside the sphere, there is nothing.I am currently publishing my cosmic diary on my website.
Two more things, just as the stones transmit their images to me, so trees communicate their words to me.
Here are two extracts of dialogues with a tree:
1. ARR: Why do these birds fly all together?
Tree: To harmonise with time. It is easier. Harmony with time is a form of nourishment; if you go against it you are impoverished. If you go too fast, you get burnt. You must be in phase with your time. If you trail behind you are always tired because you receive nothing but crumbs. You must always be in phase with your time.
2. ARR. I know nothing.
Tree: That’s good. It is better to know nothing than to know too many things.
Tree: So, what you know, you know, and what you don’t know, you don’t know. There are no wise men, there are only antennas for picking things up and there are very few antennas in this world, there are few receptive beings.
An easy example of transmission of images through stones:
It was springtime in the Mediterranean in 1997, siesta time in Nice. I was resting on the bed with a stone under the nape of my neck like a small pillow. A pebble I had just picked up on the beach.
As I drowsed, I was swimming in a cool clear river where the bottom was lined with pebbles. I opened my eyes and went to tell the friends I was staying with about my experience. They told me that these pebbles are washed down by Le Paillon River which runs into the Mediterranean. We went to the river and I walked along carefully, studying the riverbed, until I SAW – sensed with my body rather than saw with my eyes – the place I had just SEEN in my bed. Holding the stone in my hand, I sank into the delicious water of the river and laid the stone on the bottom.