Images of Absence

“images of absences, imágenes de ausencias, образы отсутствия, des images d’ausencias, Bilder der Abwesenheiten, imagens de ausência”

“Evoking the senses, the sensations and the understanding of what is close; that thing that philosophy usually fails to remember: spaces that are lived in and experienced. The occupation of the space is always the primary experience of existence. We live in spaces, in spheres, in atmospheres. From the first sphere in which we are immersed, with “the enclosure in the mother «, all the human spaces of life are nothing but reminiscences of this original cavern, the first human sphere we always long for.” SLOTERDIJK, Peter, Esferas  I Burbujas. Microsferología, Esferas II. Globos. Macroesferología,. Siruela, 2004.

Being born in an environment with established guidelines of behaviour is not a reason to accept them. The ability of human beings to develop and self-criticise allows them to evolve and move away from pre-imposed destinies. In this regard, woman is the great example of the necessary revolution of immovable structures in which the fear of losing power prevents a vital reality. It is woman who carries out the great social revolution in the western world, and her revolution in other regions of the world will facilitate the creation of the basis of world equality. That is why I aim

for this exhibition to be as feminine as possible, evading archetypes and symbolism so that, from my gender and my egalitarian beliefs, it could find means of expression respecting and honouring the providers of life.

This exhibition seeks to continue the debate that my work raises: «identity» as something dynamic and unstable, innate to the evolutionary and social nature of the human being. From this loom I have worked with five women that articulate the development of the book along with the images of the exhibition, video and installations of the project: «images of absence «. Three main texts are written by women who have had intense experiences of life, who have left their homes, have questioned their motherlands, have evolved from them and have taken approaches and carried out prominent works in their fields: the artistic creation from the social angle. Heta Tapio, Luz Angela Lizarazu, Marina Valencia and Aixa Portero de la Torre: The death of a daughter, the murder of a father, to live with a dealer of weapons, to walk among bombs, from minus fifteen degrees to the heat of the desert, to renounce your origins for the person you love and then later leave that person, to live several lives with different families, three generations in a house, to raise a life within, to cradle it, to love it … moments of meeting and misunderstanding, moments of being loved and making decisions. They are independent people, a clear reflection of the search for woman’s liberation, with particular situations that have awoken attitudes and developed philosophies that enrich the understanding of the concept of «identity».

Woman is the real engine of social identity change of the twentieth century and what the images of absence explore are moments of transit, remnants of things that have already happened. They are part of what we are but they do not contain us anymore, we are outside and distant from them, progressive developments appear due to their existence, but they develop in an independent way. The individuality in the interpretation of who we are and what our mindset and decisions are is vital for the construction of a society based on freedom from established conventions.

Inspired by my images, they have written: the skin shed by a snake (reflection of a moment of transit); eggs (the progression of life); chrysalises (the constant metamorphosis); dissected insects (collections of the most valued thing); boxes where we wrap our memories, images of our dreams, symbols of society, cells and cosmic graphs that reveal new worlds, palimpsests that show us the perishable side of things; etc.. All that prevents us from feeling immovable, that makes us feel the dynamism in which we live. The moments pass, leaving scars, but they pass… they do not remain, they affect us in different ways and to different extents. It is individuality that leads us to obtaining different perspectives of our past and history, of who we are and of how we understand life.

Politics, religion, ideologies … all have tried to define identity in order to control society: how easy it is to know which role one has to play in society when it is expected, but the arguments are rewritten in every person, each one has the aptitude to construct their own future, to take their own decisions in a dynamic attitude of change.

They have written from motivation, and from freedom, extremely stimulating, unpublished and specific texts to enrich this project with their reflection and creativity.

In turn, the poet Julieta Valero has composed an exquisite poem in which the mantra/responsorial psalm affirms the condition of: «to be, everything changes and nothing remains. To be”, which is recited untiringly from a secret loudspeaker in a picture. And the composer Estani Peinado illuminates with beautiful and appropriate sounds the video that appears in the chapel: «ovo, eiruga, volvoreta, crisálida» as well as reawakens and performes for the sacred-exhibition space a 17th century score belonging to the Granada cathedral archive.


Regarding the artistic intervention


I devote myself to the creation of realities that are not: Images and objects that seem to refer to many worlds, that take their appearance from nature, from nanotechnology, astrophysics, microscopy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, from archaeological remains, symbols, icons and runes, from writings, clouds and fluids, geography, archaeology and speleology, from jewellery shops, from hats, clothes and shoes, from empty spaces, from anatomy, animals and mythological beings… with the aim of connecting, and banishing apathy, having created a work loaded with realities and direct connotations to truthful contexts that are simultaneously replete with artifices and unreality.

Its subjective existence, with undefined paradigm, incomplete and perverted resemblances are always visible, ready to connect with the audience, to make the work exist in their perception and sight, what associates what they have perceived with their own reality, with their baggage, their knowledge and their experiences. It is vital to allow and to assist the spectator in identifying himself with the work and discovering his own bestiaries, awaking the memory and evoking attitudes towards what it is offered. If we show an elephant, they will see an elephant, if a cloud appears with the shape of an elephant, faced with the obvious, they will see a cloud in the form of an elephant. There are people like “le petit prince” who are able to see a diverse reality behind an apparent image, such as a python that has swallowed an elephant instead of a simple hat.

This is the perception I am interested in when facing the task of creating art, it is the approach that moves me and touches me: to interact with the environment and with people that have a particular and individual view of the world, free from closed and established codes. That is why my work aims to promote as many alternative perceptions as possible, not only in the precise thing but in the extension of the activity and the work: Ernst Cassirer defends in his work The philosophy of symbolic forms, «the nature of the forms as containers of expressions of thought, as counterfoils of the symbology that determines the scope of the dialectical progress of culture.

Forms acquire a symbolic meaning of representation of what is thought or is perceived as a reality, they are a product of the representative function of thought «.

This does not mean that we are playing with a lack of definition, on the contrary, what is intended is that the spectator does not react indifferently towards the work having either an immediate or an impossible insight, but connects with its reality, having enough resources not to escape before his perception that, in turn, will lead him to connect with his past and present, and will modify his future, as it is a part of his experience. This is the connection that allows the understanding and approach of the global aims of the work. An experience that becomes part of his life, that remains in his memories and connects with his knowledge and experiences.


Works like «mantras», without containing or referring to something concrete, aim for their observation, in a reflective attitude, to help liberate the mind in a discovery of the individual. Each work emphasizes an aspect in which the observer can be identified with. Many of the forms I use are repeated and recreated in different media, they travel, interact with the environment, are registered, are documented, etc., widening and extending their field of influence. Observation is part of the extension from the transcendent work to the form, to the imagination, to the delimitation and to any explanation that shows itself as a magic formula, creative word or prayer.

In my work it is essential to stimulate conceptual connections on different levels. All my labour is part of a complex project in which works are just words of a speech in which time and space are essential elements. Every installation, performance, trip, film, conference or exhibition is part of the artistic work I develop where the social aspect is always crucial. The connections established between all these pieces construct a contemporary and elaborate speech where society is part of the experiment and of the reflections. The works travel and establish themselves all over the world, the time and means of exhibition are extremely diverse: repetitive and alternate in the time, ephemeral, eternal up to their own loss, theft or destruction.

My creative activity needs to interact with the most diverse spaces; the work has to develop and to connect with different physical and social environments that help establish conceptual relationships between the work and its inference within different human spheres. The space of Gran Capitán allows me to exhibit in two spaces that I am in the habit of using simultaneously, the artistic and the sacred one: many churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, that have been «profaned» by my work in search of spaces with meaning.

In my artistic development I do not usually have prejudice when choosing the place in which to carry out an intervention, whether or not it is a public, private or exhibition place, legal or illegal, allowed or not, … as long as it is the necessary one, the one in which the work finds meaning, in which it develops in an appropriate way and contributes to the argument or suitable reflection.

Another important factor in my work is the use of actors within the different projects, not necessarily being plastic artists, or linked to the creative area. All this leads to the establishment of connections non-existent before, with the creation and the unfolded deliberations.

All this, together with the performances in numerous countries, places and types of people, allows us the creation of connections that, from the theory of the «Small World effect» or «six degrees of separation, Stanley Milgram, 1967», where any person can be related across a short chain of social relations, construct the net of necessary influences, in order for the social and educational pretensions of the work to expand, develop, connect and shape solid nodes of interpretation and implication. It is in this aim of connection and expansion of the artistic work where the great number of collaborators who take part with their theoretical reflections in the edition of books that complete, from different points of view, common concepts, fit.

There always exists a human need to define, group, file … and from this need the question arises “what are you?” Painter, sculptor, engraver, …there is no need to specify there since the creative media have always  been, and will be, those that answer my needs, no matter whether in the shape of a video, painting, engraving, sculpture, digital print, drawing, robot, useless device,… or any ignoble process out of the habitual artistic areas, either lasting or ephemeral, natural, synthetic or technological. The important thing is that these media are part of what is needed to transmit and to construct the project and to help to achieve its final aim. The idea I want to develop is what defines the form, material, presentation, characteristics, location,… of my work


Regarding images of absence


» Images of absence » refers to the idea that despite what is shown in the exhibition seeming to be real, because it is present, is visible, tangible, photographable, achievable, etc., it is just «presences» that refer to absences: precise moments that gave rise to their existence, but those moments have already passed, they were moments and circumstances that generated situations that have now developed into something different. Every work is associated with a moment, with a reality, which has stopped existing as it was; now the spatiotemporal distance allows us to estimate them at a distance, and to reinterpret them from new positions.

These works intend to be a representation of the dynamic and mutable nature of each person, of the different countries, of the world, of the universe … the identity is intended to be paralyzed, and I offer my work as something that I am not anymore, it is not my identity anymore, now it is a reality that interacts with that of the observers and that tries to modify their identities in order to be a catalyst of modifications that connect and alter their perception and their nature. Opposing objects that show, in an organised and rhythmic way, past facts, elements with history and connotations, fingerprints of meaningful acts, dreams that remember who we were and who we no longer are. From here the production of opened forms that live in the oneiric world, in spite of having a solid and real appearance. Nevertheless, in their own unreality and diversity they allow the establishment of relationships with the remembrance, finding a space to connect with the memory.

Mutability is the essence of existence, we constantly look backwards to remember who we were, at the same time we are dizzily changing. There are many reasons that lead to inflexible defence against the process of constant change in the world. Indisputably not every change is positive, as would be desirable, but it is inevitable as any interaction propitiates them, it is only the isolation or the imposed conditioning which results in its delay. It has been religion, politics or any other element of power, which has managed to manipulate and determine the behaviour of the masses. To achieve this, as the theories of psychology of masses explain, it is fundamental to unite a whole group in a stable and common outlook, into a likewise common identity, which will render them easily influenced, having lost their individuality.

The human being develops himself in a social but individual way, in spite of being able to feel identified with a particular group, he possesses a specific way of developing and of thought that leads to his differentiation and evolution as a result of interacting with the environment. He is permeable to all he enters into contact with, either consciously or unconsciously. It is fear which leads, in many cases, to an irrational resistance to change in which the stable hierarchies do not question our acts and decisions. What is established, normalization, makes the unstable stable faced with the fear of the perniciously developed human reactions, of imbalances understood from personal views on the perception of what must or must not be.



– El ser decide llevar a cabo cambios en su vida

– En la actualidad las tensiones existentes entre la globalización y la defensa de la identidad es

Son miembros del AA. Arte activo.

Espacio sagrado de obras públicas y de comportamientos ilegales.

Las piezas tienen algo de ensoñación, inacabado

El artista es alguien que toma decisiones, si simplemente realiza cosas por muy bellas que sean pero su elaboración no ha implicado el compromiso personal del autor en la toma de decisiones éste ha obviado su función como creador. Mi decisión ha sido el crear una realidad personal que comprometa al espectador.

Imágenes de ausencia / images of absence

– El conectar personas es fundamental

– El que las obras estén cargadas de sentidos, que hayan viajado, que ya tengan una historia…

– Que haya sociedades, personas de distintos colectivos,


(Del lat. palimpsestus, y este del gr. παλίμψηστος).
1. m. Manuscrito antiguo que conserva huellas de una escritura anterior borrada artificialmente.
2. m. Tablilla antigua en que se podía borrar lo escrito para volver a escribir.


Espacios de ausencia / spaces of absence

Imágenes en ausencia / images in absence

Elementos de ausencias / items of absences

Elementos del recuerdo

Elementos perdidos

Restos de lo mutable

Restos de identidad

Huellas del recuerdo / traces of memory

Huellas de lo mudable

Huellas de ausencia

Huellas de identidad

Lares de desarrollo

Lares de ausencia

Lares en desarrollo

Iconografías de lo mutable

Trazas de identidad

Realidades ausentes

Recuerdo ausentes

Mundo de recuerdos

Universos perdidos

Realidades ausentes

Presencias en ausencia

Ausencias presentes

Objetos de un instante

Instantáneas del cambio






















Lar de los recuerdos ausentes Un artista británico «expone» una galería vacía como propia exposición

30 de Octubre de 2006 – Jueves

Un artista británico ha vuelto a provocar a crítica y público, presentando una galería vacía como su propia «exposición»: una galería sin nada en y entre sus paredes. Se trata de Simon Pope, de 40 años, que ha bautizado su exposición, que estará abierta hasta el próximo día 5, como «Galería Espacio Recuerdo» en el Chapter Arts Centre, de Cardiff, capital de Gales. A los visitantes se les invita simplemente a recordar sus experiencias en otras galerías. La idea, según sus organizadores, sería «existir en dos espacios al mismo tiempo»: el espacio vacío donde se encuentra en ese momento el visitante y el otro, el de su memoria. Pope ha colaborado con Vaughan Bell, neuropsicólogo cognitivo del hospital Maudsley de Londres, cuyo objetivo declarado es generar en el público una mejor comprensión de las neurosis. La exposición permite recrear los síntomas de un trastorno que se conoce en la jerga como «paramnesia reduplicativa», la creencia ilusoria de que un determinado lugar ha sido «duplicado», es decir que existe en más de un lugar simultáneamente. Según el artista, aunque la invitación al recuerdo que se hace a los visitantes de ese espacio puede parecer una tontería, las respuestas son muy complejas. Mientras que algunos reaccionan como si se les hubiese gastado una broma, otros se mueven por el espacio vacío de la galería como si fueran mimos o figuras de un ballet.



El mantra

es una palabra o grupo de palabras sin un contenido semántico específico. Un mantra es un conjunto de sílabas en sánscrito (lengua sagrada del hinduismo y del budismo tántrico) que se recita un determinado número de veces para conseguir un logro, que puede ser mundano (obtener algo, lograr alguna habilidad) o trascendente (el logro supremo, que en el budismo tibetano consiste en la iluminación no solamente racional, sino de la verdadera naturaleza de la mente).

Según el hinduismo, el mantra Om es el sonido primigenio del universo, el origen y principio de todos los mantras. Man significa ‘mente’ y tra significa ‘liberar’. En la tradición Vaisnava Gaudiya, que en Occidente representa el movimiento Hare Krishna se enseña y explica la potencia o los beneficios del canto de estos mantras. Según cultura vedica gaudya Vaisnava, la función primordial de los mantras es liberar a la mente del condicionamiento material y elevar la conciencia a un plano superior o espiritual. Dentro de la doctrina gaudiya vaisnava el mantra más importante es el maha mantra Hare Krishna.


En el budismo tibetano, cada mantra se considera el sonido correspondiente a un cierto aspecto de la iluminación y se recita para identificarse con ese aspecto de la mente iluminada.

Por ejemplo, el conocido om mani padme hum corresponde a la compasión. Se traduce: ‘¡Oh, joya en el loto!’, siendo originalmente el célebre mantra om el símbolo sonoro correspondiente al Brahman, aunque tal mantra pasó a ser parte de una célebre frase budista.

Según la tradición budista tibetana, un mantra no tiene efecto completo si la práctica de su recitación no es supervisada y autorizada por un maestro competente (lama en tibetano, gurú en sánscrito), respaldado a su vez por un linaje de maestros que —en el caso del budismo— debe remontarse hasta el Buda (no necesariamente el Buda histórico). Según el budismo, además de recitarse, un mantra se puede escribir en determinados lugares para beneficiarlos con su influencia espiritual.

Brahman (hinduismo)

Brahman (pronunciado bráhman) es un término sánscrito que hace referencia a la deidad absoluta del hinduismo. Etimológicamente Brahman tiene el significado de ‘expansión’.

En el Rig Veda, brahman alude a la palabra ritual, con varios significados: himno, fórmula mágica, palabra creadora, plegaria, y saber sacro.

Aunque es en los Upanisad en donde se señala al Brahman como lo absoluto, que se encuentra en todo el universo, que es la esencia de todo y que transciende a todo, que es inmanente y causa eficiente del cosmos; en tanto que a nivel de microcosmos su correlato es el ātmā el sí mismo o alma eterna de cada individuo.

Si en el plano existencial y fenoménico (o de la māyā) el ātmā se considera distinta del Brahman, en el plano esencial absoluto o insistencial, se considera que no existe distingo entre el ātmā y el Brahman. De este modo dentro de muchas de las creencias originadas en la India se supone que es dable -en vida- alcanzar la identificación del atman con el Brahman en el estado llamado samadhi.

Aunque en ocasiones se ha representado al Brahman y algunos llegan a afirmar que el mantra om es la expresión directa del Brahman, se considera que el Brahman, en tanto absoluto es transcendente a toda forma, a toda figuración, a toda delimitación y a toda explicación. Esto da una paradoja: en el hinduismo existen infinitos devas (algo equívocamente traducidos como «dioses») porque cada uno de ellos es sólo un reflejo o una mínima manifestación del único y absoluto Brahman.

Al culto específicamente dedicado al Brahman se lo llama doctrina vedanta advaita. Por su grado de abstracción nunca fue popular en la India. El brahmanismo se refiere a una forma antigua de hinduismo, y junto con el shivaísmo, el vishnuismo y el shaktismo se encuentra dentro del sistema religioso llamado hinduismo.

En la mitología hindú el primer ser creado por el Brahman es el Señor Brahmā.

Conviene distinguir la palabra Brahman (con mayúscula) de bráhmana (con minúscula), que en el sistema hindú de varnas («castas»), se refiere a todo individuo perteneciente a la casta sacerdotal (considerada tradicionalmente superior a las otras tres).

Small world phenomenon

The small world phenomenon (also known as the small world effect) is the hypothesis that everyone in the world can be reached through a short chain of social acquaintances. The concept gave rise to the famous phrase six degrees of separation after a 1967 small world experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram which suggested that two random US citizens were connected on average by a chain of six acquaintances.

However, after more than thirty years its status as a description of heterogeneous social networks (such as the aforementioned «everyone in the world») still remains an open question. Little research has been done in this area since the publication of the original paper.

Milgram’s experiment

Milgram’s original research — conducted among the population at large, rather than the specialized, highly collaborative fields of mathematics and acting (see below) — has been challenged on a number of fronts. In his first «small world» experiment, documented in an undated paper entitled «Results of Communication Project,» Milgram sent 60 letters to various recruits in Omaha, Nebraska who were asked to forward the letter to a stockbroker living at a specified location in Sharon, Massachusetts. The participants could only pass the letters (by hand) to personal acquaintances who they thought might be able to reach the target — whether directly or via a «friend of a friend». While 50 people responded to the challenge, only three letters eventually reached their destination. Milgram’s celebrated 1967 paper [1] refers to the fact that one of the letters in this initial experiment reached the recipient in just four days, but neglects to mention that only 5% of the letters successfully «connected» to their target. In two subsequent experiments, chain completion was so low that the results were never published. On top of this, researchers have shown that a number of subtle factors can have a profound effect on the results of «small world» experiments. Studies that attempted to connect people of differing races or incomes showed significant asymmetries. Indeed a paper which revealed a completion rate of 13% for black targets and 33% for white targets (despite the fact that the participants did not know the race of the recipient) was co-written by Milgram himself.

Despite these complications, a variety of novel discoveries did emerge from Milgram’s research. After numerous refinements of the apparatus (the perceived value of the letter or parcel was a key factor in whether people were motivated to pass it on or not), Milgram was able to achieve completion rates of 35%, and later researchers pushed this as high as 97%. If there was some doubt as to whether the «whole world» was a small world, there was very little doubt that there were many small worlds within that whole (from faculty chains at Michigan State University to a close-knit Jewish community in Montreal). For those chains that did reach completion, the number six emerged as the mean number of intermediaries — and thus the expression «six degrees of separation» (perhaps by analogy to «six degrees of freedom«) was born. In addition, Milgram identified a «funneling» effect whereby most of the forwarding (i.e. connecting) was being done by a very small number of «stars» with significantly higher-than-average connectivity: even on the 5% «pilot» study, Milgram noted that «two of the three completed chains went through the same people.»

One problem with conducting such a study, however, is that it assumes people in the chain are competent at discovering the connection between two people serving as end points.

Mathematicians and actors

Smaller communities, such as mathematicians and actors, have been found to be densely connected by chains of personal or professional associations. Mathematicians have created the Erdős number to describe their distance from Paul Erdős based on shared publications. A similar exercise has been carried out for the actor Kevin Bacon for actors who appeared in movies together — the latter effort informing the game «Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon«. Players of the popular Asian game Go describe their distance from the great player Honinbo Shusaku by counting their Shusaku number, which counts degrees of separation through the games the players have had.


The social sciences

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, based on articles originally published in The New Yorker, elaborates the «funneling» concept. Gladwell argues that the six-degrees phenomenon is dependent on a few extraordinary people («connectors«) with large networks of contacts and friends: these hubs then mediate the connections between the vast majority of otherwise weakly-connected individuals.

Recent work in the effects of the small world phenomenon on disease transmission, however, have indicated that due to the strongly-connected nature of social networks as a whole, removing these hubs from a population usually has little effect on the average path length through the graph (Barrett et al., 2005).

Network models

In 1998, Duncan J. Watts and Steven H. Strogatz, both in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at Cornell University, published the first network model on the small-world phenomenon. They showed that networks from both the natural and manmade world, such as the neural network of C. elegans and power grids, exhibit the small-world property. Watts and Strogatz showed that, beginning with a regular lattice, the addition of a small number of random links reduces the diameter — the longest direct path between any two vertices in the network — from being very long to being very short. The research was originally inspired by Watts’ efforts to understand the synchronization of cricket chirps, which show a high degree of coordination over long ranges as though the insects are being guided by an invisible conductor. The mathematical model which Watts and Strogatz developed to explain this phenomenon has since been applied in a wide range of different areas. In Watts’ words:

«I think I’ve been contacted by someone from just about every field outside of English literature. I’ve had letters from mathematicians, physicists, biochemists, neurophysiologists, epidemiologists, economists, sociologists; from people in marketing, information systems, civil engineering, and from a business enterprise that uses the concept of the small world for networking purposes on the Internet.» [2]

Generally, their model demonstrated the truth in Mark Granovetter‘s observation that it is «the strength of weak ties» that holds together a social network. Although the specific model has since been generalized by Jon Kleinberg, it remains a canonical case study in the field of complex networks. In network theory, the idea presented in the small-world network model has been explored quite extensively. Indeed, several classic results in random graph theory show that even networks with no real topological structure exhibit the small-world phenomenon, which mathematically is expressed as the diameter of the network growing with the logarithm of the number of nodes (rather than proportional to the number of nodes, as in the case for a lattice). This result similarly maps onto networks with a power-law degree distribution, such as scale-free networks.

In Computer Science, the small-world phenomenon (although it is not typically called that) is used in the development of secure peer-to-peer protocols, novel routing algorithms for the Internet and ad-hoc wireless networks, and search algorithms for communication networks of all kinds.


Granada, Spain