Lara Almarcegui at bétonsalon Paris 09/10/10 – 15/01/11

We Don’t Record Flowers, Said the Geographer.

Lara Almarcegui, Louidgi Beltrame, Ursula Biemann, Julien Blanpied, Wang Bing, Tacita Dean, Ellie Ga, Michael Höpfner, Ruth Kaaserer, Yves Mettler, Trevor Paglen, Carson Salter, le Silo, Triple Canopy et José León Cerrillo

An exhibition by: bo-ring (Virginie Bobin and Julia Kläring)

A both infinite and self-enclosed territory (double illusion), “the desert” crystallizes a broad network of disciplines and references, from geography to literature, philosophy to biology, cartography to ecology. Desert is whiteness “without qualities” – or so it is fantasized – and is best captured with maps or planar representations. It is thus an ideal space for projection, inscription, and the forward planning of political fantasies, architectural utopias, scientific expeditions, and some of fiction’s founding narratives. It is the image of a place that is out of time and out of the world, a heterotopia often represented with connotations of romanticism. It is also a landscape, a (film) developer, a theater, a laboratory, crossing migratory trajectories, socio-political experiments and attempts for national hegemonies: before all, a place that bodies and histories pass through and constitute.

We Don’t Record Flowers, Said the Geographer takes roots in the appropriation – under various forms and for various reasons – of the desert an its images in modern and postmodern political and cultural history. Beyond the current fascination for entropy and the poetics of ruins, the exhibition considers both “natural” desert spaces and deserted urban ones in dialectics of occupation/de-occupation and appropriation/expropriation. Such territories call for design – according to Hal Foster’s understanding – and many artists appropriated these multiple interwoven relationships in order to examine, document and report on them and/or to produce new projections and new narratives. We Don’t Record Flowers (…) is inspired by a conception of geography that takes into account the relationship between subject and place: a conception that is not fixed but transformable and is regularly redefined and restructured, quite different from the authoritarian and ethnocentric conception evoked by the title – a quote from Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince. The documentary and ethnographic aesthetic of most of the presented pieces actually reveals a more vast and subtle network of connotations, lapses and narrations, proposing a psychogeographic lecture on the desert.

A program of narratives (films, conferences, performances) will accompany the exhibition at bétonsalon.