Curated by Malin Barth
computer based 3-channel video, mixed media installations
Cristina Lucas´ exhibition thematizes different aspects and effects of geography of power and war-making. Through the various works of art, we are invited to see and discuss some of the more central and inflamed forms of power in our own time. It is the space between the extremes, on one side the underlying issues and relations that might trigger war and on the other the devastating consequences for civilians inflicted by war. These aspects are explored and transformed into her artistic acts.
Lucas is featured with three works in the exhibition. They come together as a narration, starting with the single video projection of the work Piper Prometheus (2013), where an aircraft flies a commercial banner with the print of the formula that enables it to fly. The desire to be free from Earth and able to fly freely has captured human´s imaginations for as long as the time remembers. Thanks to the lift formula L= (1/2 d v2 s CL) and invention of flying machines, aircrafts were already implemented in warfare from the Italo-Turkish War starting 1911.
Lucas` 3-channel six plus hour long video installation Unending Lightning (2015-) is an open-ended work-in-progress. Global cartography of aerial warfare, that shows all aerial bombings over civilians since man started to implement bombing as a tool of war. The project is composed around historical investigations that is evidently endless, and grievously ongoing due to current events.
The three screens are synchronized, and time has been condensed with images changing every 3 seconds; representing one day. The viewer is on one screen presented with the respective military forces responsible for dropping the bombs, date and type of bombs, the city under attack and if known the number dead civilians available for the public. The center screen is Lukas´ cartography indicated where in the world the bomb was dropped, while on the last screen documentary images and film footage are seen of the devastating horror of the act; damage, injuries and death. Unending Lightning has also been divided into three chapters. The fist presents the beginning of aerial bombardments until the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. The second part runs through to the end of the cold war in 1989, while the third section is running through our current time. This also includes remote-controlled drone attacks. Lucas´ project aims at creating a solid remembrance over the civilian aspect and consequences of war.
The video has an open framework. It can be updated on the basis of present day research or information that have been forgotten, de-classified or disclosed lately. For this edition Unending Lightning has now an expanded and up to date section of aerial bombing and its civilian casualties in Norway during Second World War. The film ends horrifyingly, only one month short of the inauguration of the exhibition. To a large extent, a sense of massive powerlessness and hopelessnes, anger and fustration turned inward, is an effect of the work’s temporality.
In Ignominy Map (2018) Lucas´ has left out the contours of the boarders of the word map. As viewers, we are left with indication through her embroidered black city names. Included on a world scale are only cities that have experiences destruction, obliteration, and civilian casualties caused by aerial bombardments.
- There are no winners for humanity in war, only losers.
Those who insist that we cannot afford to take in the world’s misery should make more of a concerted effort to ensure that we are not helping to create the world’s misery. It is however through the work Ignominy Map that Lucas´ opens the discussion of a way forward and hopefully leaving Unending Lightning as a reminder of gruesome events in the past. In the work there are no border lines, not even borders formed naturally by oceans, by mountain ranges, rivers or lakes etc.
Most borders are entirely man-made. They are essentially imaginary lines, either agreed or imposed. They keep people in, they keep people out. A great deal of time, money and resources are spent defending these arbitrary constructs. Millions of lives have been lost to protect the integrity of something entirely made-up. Given the serious and often deadly nature of borders, it is only natural to wonder, what would a world without borders look like. John Lennon, in his song, Imagine, wasn’t the first to imagine all the people sharing all the world, but his dream of a world without conflict and division became one of the world’s most popular songs. Imagine reflects on the natural human desire for peace. We perceive national borders as a natural phenomenon, and in doing so, we often forget the unnatural, political origins from which they arise.
If any of us want to move across borders we will meet immigration procedures. If we want to move to a different country in hope for a better future, or just seek new cultural experience and new job possibilities, or if a person has to escape from armed war or lack of food and water. Whatever reason you might have for moving you will meet the immigration officers. Your possibilities will depend on your passport and your economic and social situation. Highly unfear it is, when the procedures are more difficult for the person fleeing from war and atrocities and even more unfear when the person try to enter the region that has caused the problem for the person needing to leave in the first place.
However, if we try to address the problem of limiting human freedoms and solidifying the inequalities that already exist around the globe, would the answer be a world without boundaries? Or maybe a world with reduced border constraints? How would that world look like? Would it be freer and more prosperous or perhaps even more turbulent and unstable? Some economists predict that a world with less stringent borders can accelerate economic growth, but also further mass migration where there are economic possibilities and possibilities for a greater standard of living. This will benefit a greater number of poorer people in their nation of residence who would otherwise endure the harsh reality. On the other side, lack of border may also disrupt the ability of governments to preserve national sovereignty and safety. But should we look closer and question our domestic biases and consider the option of a borderless globe if the general result would allow for broader freedom and higher equality?
Writers, artists, and many others are constantly trying to imagine and describe a universal vision for humanity. For instance, L. Zamenhof at the end of the 19th century, created the international auxiliary language; Esperanto. While in 1953 Garry Davis, the international peace activist, formed a World Government of World Citizens. It now exists as an organization called the World Service Authority based in Washington DC. This organization issues a world passport based on Article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating that «everyone has the right to leave any country, including one´s own, and return to one´s country».
We can not deny the reality that as technology becomes more sophisticated, the world becomes more interconnected. As governments lose the capacity to strictly control migration, it may naturally become more united. However, many obstacles and challenges remain to be resolved before we attempt to unify our world, such as the prospect that right-wing nationalist organizations will respond to such a demographic shift. Furthermore, it may be regarded irresponsible and premature to eradicate boundaries when the world is in a present state of conflict, leading to more chaos than peace.
Over time, it may be better for this process to unfold in clusters of systematic changes, policy reforms, and other types of developments that are already occurring with internet growth and globalized world politics. Giving this opportunity a place in our collective imagination can, in essence, enable us to take concrete steps towards a more equal world and bring that vision closer to the present only if it proves beneficial to humanity and only if we mitigate its potential risk.
Cristina Lucas Lives and works in Madrid, Spain. She uses performance, happenings, video, photography, installation, drawing and painting to focus on the irrationality of human activities and to contrast traditionally conflicting concepts such as reality and fiction. Her works analyze the main political and economic structures of our time in an effort to reveal the contradictions between the official story, the true story, and collective memory. She enjoys challenging historical, social, political and cultural clichés and takes a critical stand on issues such as the position of women, Western domination and humankind’s ambition to control nature. Her work can be seen in many European museums, including Musac in León, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, as Manifesta 2018. Cristina Lucas is educated from Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, NL. She has a master´s degree in Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of California, Irvine, US, and a degree in Fine Arts at the Universidad Complutense, Madrid.
Exhibition opened by Susanne Urban, cosmopolitan born in Baghdad, architect in Bergen. Member of the board of the International Women's League for Peace and Freedom - Bergen.
Cristina Lucas present at the opening.
- Review in Kunstkritikk >>>
- List of organisations whose databases, reports and research were used extensively in this project >>>
Special thanks to BEK, for their technical support.