Saturday, May 25, 2024

Blind House is an incisive artwork made by the duo Walter Martin & Paloma Munoz: «remember when we thought glass houses were beautiful and sexy, when they seemed like the exemplar dwelling of classic modernism? But now with the harsh reality of a dark age upon us, are they not really anachronistic? With the glass house the underlying premise of house as safe harbor is turned on its head. How can there be safe harbor with open doors, transparent windows?»

Where do you get your inspiration?

This project titled “Blind House” was fueled by a certain sense of fear and dread of a dystopia in which we are not just digital pawns but in which we are physically surrounded by toxic elements like bad air, noise pollution, as well as neighbors with automatic weapons and bad esthetics.

Our blind houses are also a metaphorical solution to the full on campaign against personal privacy. There has been much discussion about the idea of public openness as a sort of positive capitulation to the indefensible nature of security. The premise is that as cybernauts we live in glass houses and must learn to embrace the loss of privacy as the cost of being connected. For us the idea of ’embracing’ this level of exposure seems totally insane and grotesquely naïve. The problem is we are addicted to the Internet. It is not that privacy is impossible it is rather that we do not have the will power to unhook ourselves from the matrix.

If transparency is an outdated illusion then its opposite – opaqueness– may be a new survivalist ideal.

Which is the relationship and influence between your cultural background (country, studies, etc.) and your artworks?

Walter Martin: I came to images and the plastic arts through literature. It’s a mystery and a wonder to me the way writers are able to corral their mental imagery and press them into words – strange and wonderful too how those words can re-inflate in the mind’s eye of a reader like a conjuring trick. Our debt to literature and film is evidenced by our images which read like decontextualized narrative snippets.

Paloma Munoz: I came into the arts through my family. My mother is an artist and art was a part of my upbringing, one of the topics we talked about around the table at dinner time. I also helped her in her studio sometimes when she had exhibitions and that was a lot of fun. That said, when I was a kid, art seemed very mysterious to me, much more so than the sciences…this human need to create things, useless things, and the magic of seeing how they somehow become “useful” later in time. How ideas, forms, colors become objects and then those objects inform and shape many other functional things, and vice-versa.

What are you most focused on?

For this particular project our rights to not be culled and sorted by bots and spooks not to mention the drones hovering outside your window. There is the nano-hummingbird drone which has the size, look and incredible versatility of a real hummingbird with an excellent camera of course. Then there is the black hornet which fits in the palm of your hand and looks like a tiny flattened helicopter. It can hover nearby, silent and almost invisible and has an HD zoom camera with night vision.

“Blind House” is a sort of proposed counter measure to the wholesale invasion of privacy and identity exploitation that is nibbling away at the edges of our autonomy. Admittedly it’s a surrealist fantasy solution that cannot really stop the theft of our private world.

There has been much said about “the tragedy of the commons” which could be described as the erosion of our exterior and shared space. There is a parallel and equal pressure being exerted upon our interior space – a constant syphoning off of identity control – a sort of ongoing violation of the individual.

Privacy, if you have any in the future, will be an accident, an oversight or the result of your status as a low value target. As individuals there is not much we can do except keep the shades down and disconnect from the Internet. And what could be more suspicious than that?

Have you encountered any difficulties when you first started your art/freelance career? 

The usual clichés … not enough money, shit jobs, no time, poor representation, bad choices. Persistence is important but so are luck and animal spirits. More than anything you need another set of trusted eyes to council and guide you past the blind spots and weaknesses of your fledgling work.

Over these years, what is the most important thing you have learnt from your profession?

That it is not a profession. It is an avocation with a very challenging business component. If you are in the plastic arts for instance your life studies may produce objects of contemplation which others may desire.

The business side of it can be unpredictable. It’s a boom or bust sort of life. For one thing you must continue to evolve. But change is not what a ruminative line of work wants. It wants more variations of the same. It’s always a blind gamble going off in a new direction. Most people can’t afford to gamble. Artists with big ideas but modest means are particularly hampered by this conundrum.

To be true to their practice, to evolve, artists sometimes feel the urgent need to go off their beaten track – to step up their game. But if you don’t have deep pockets everything is at stake. Artists disappear all the time, casualties of their own daring. Is this a profession? If it is it’s like working without a net in a circus. Always having to outdo yourself to keep people’s interest and yet every successful gamble seems to just delay oblivion.

There are lots of compromises to reality people have to live with to continue making art over the long run. One is defined by one’s practice. So if there is any professionalism to be had it is in maintaining your focus throughout your career despite disappointments or the noise of success.

Do you think that a creative job is just creativity or it’s discipline too?
It’s both.

Are you currently working on new projects?
Yes, always, but if we haven’t shown it it’s because it’s too soon for us to talk about it.

If transparency is an outdated illusion
then its opposite – opaqueness– may be
a new survivalist ideal.

Artist Website >

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