If we look at the map of the human migratory route on the planet, we will see a network of lines tracing large movements guided by the geography of the Earth. Its valleys, oceans, mountains, prairies, deserts, and jungles have conditioned human settlements and their subsequent propagations. These lines state the need of expanding the horizons of knowledge, as well as the desire of knowing what is beyond the sight and the territories.
Some found an Eden and settled there; others continued searching for a truth not yet revealed. In its wake, from generations to generations, humanity left villages and families, which became lineages, then mixed with later migrations. The geography of the land, as well as its migratory history, conditioned these peoples by making them understand the world differently, according to the landscape in which they lived, generating questions and looking for answers in the history gradually lost and in the opposition of the natural forces that shaped his thoughts.
From the Sumerians, Aristarchus of Samos through Copernicus, humanity has tried to measure the Earth with the desire to dominate it from the knowledge of its measurements (the geo-metry). The human desire to overcome all questioning, makes humanity observe both, its environment and time, with the purpose of appropriating the truth about its own origin.
It is not a coincidence that the four members of H0 are from different provenances (all living in the multicultural city of Berlin). These artists came to the desert to raise questions about immigration – the origin and myths surrounding it. Thus, they developed their research during a month and a half of residence from different perspectives, presenting its outcome in a collective exhibition in the Chela Lira exhibition hall of the Universidad Católica del Norte.
From the perspective of migration, as a critical factor in the history of the occupation of unpopulated territories, Chan Sook Choi presents part of her research «Black Air,» which starts with her autobiography as a migrant. She creates a parallel inspired by women displaced from their lands after the Second World War – on demilitarized territories of North Korea; and Chuquicamata, a mining town in Chile, uninhabited due to its high levels of pollution now being buried. Chan Sook presents a documentary video installation dealing with hybridized human identities formed through migration processes in political territories strategically populated.
Shingo Yoshida’s project, «Historias,» immerses the viewer in a personal interpretation of popular beliefs of the interior of Antofagasta region. The Japanese artist, with his interest in unveiling memories and traditions in danger of being forgotten, becomes a kind of archaeologist of the «not yet lost.» Yoshida interviews villagers and local people to find myths and legends of the region that, for him, can be key pieces in the global puzzle of the origin of the humanity.
On the other hand, Gonzalo Reyes Araos’ and Felix Kiessling’s works propose a point of view from a «global being,» dissociated from the notion of local, due to the mobility in the world. For his part, Gonzalo talks from his perspective as a migrant and his long-distance relationship with his family. His work refers to contemporary forms of communication that have influenced and conditioned human relationships through the Internet. «Mother PNG» is a 440-page book which content is the code that a computer must read to reproduce the image of its cover, which is a screenshot of a Skype conversation with his mother, who lives in Calama. Since the Chilean artist lives in Berlin, Skype is the «closest» way to maintain direct communication with her. The artist’s mother is his carnal origin, from who he only receives signals decoded by algorithms reproducing her presence from a distance. In his project «Tu Sol Mi Luz,» the artist shares the sunlight of the Atacama desert through the Internet. He installed a webcam pointing towards the sun; thus the star can be monitored from anywhere on the planet.
The artistic actions of Felix Kiessling observe the Earth from a planetary point of view. Playing with its measures and with its spherical proportions, the German artist traces lines on the planet, demystifying, again, the old idea of a flat earth. The artist installs two T-shaped elements several kilometers away, forming an imaginary line between them, a tangent touching the curvature of the Earth on a central point. These elements are the visible extremities of an invisible construction, which will be then abandoned. Two «mythological» landmarks that after long forgotten years will be found by archaeologists or researchers who will wonder about the use that these elements could have, or have had, «indecipherable typographies found nowhere» that would condition new myths about the origin of it.
Gonzalo Reyes Araos