I watched videos this morning: an interview with Stanley Cavell and various others by Fernando Llanos. That last link takes you to a page where you see various of Llanos’s interventions as Videoman, which is simply him, outfitted with projection equipment on his body. Videoman screens videos in public spaces: on blimp-shaped balloons, on monuments, on buildings. There’s lots to say about his work–and I’ll have more to say in other posts–but for the moment there’s one video that I want to make note of.
The eighth video on Llanos’s site shows him at the Satélite towers. From what I can gather (and I’m still trying to learn about the area), the towers mark an ill-fated attempt at US-style suburbanization in 1950s Mexico. Llanos has a site dedicated to remembering and archiving the project. Perhaps the most interesting link is a video of an ad for Ciudad Satélite, complete with cartoon Martians raving about the development. Some of the material is the same that Llanos projects onto the towers as Videoman. So what he’s done is gather material about Ciudad Satélite and project it onto its architectural remains. He creates redundancy, and also reverses the normal topographical order of the historical record: usually what’s older lies under what’s new, creating a palimpsest, but here the old imaginary is played over the existant architectural surface. The towers become a screen, reminding us of the multiplication of visual surfaces in our lived ecology, even as Llanos reminds us that screens have been around for quite some time. And they also become the site where an archive is put on display. Memory is prosthetic, in other words, and Llanos-as-Videoman implies that the memory stored in lived, human experience is insufficient, necessarily supplemented by his digital and mechanical interventions.