Margolles

by craigepplin

I’m in the midst of writing on Teresa Margolles. It’s a spherological reading of her work. It’s almost too literal. Sloterdijk wrote a book called Bubbles and she has a piece that looks like this (video here):

Teresa Margolles, En el aire (2003)

It’s not that clear-cut, of course. Sloterdijk uses the bubble as a metaphor for relationships of intimacy, whereas Margolles is much more literal-minded. For her, the bubble is a vehicle for creating a relationship between the living spectator and the deceased person whose corpse was washed with the water that now floats around the gallery.

The common denominator there is this idea of intimacy. Margolles carves out a space where the dead and the living commingle through the common medium of water. This is what most interests me about her work: not the way she honors the anonymous dead or makes them speak, not the way she indexes the violence of the Mexican present (though both of those things are interesting too), but rather how she places emphasis on the media that link the living and the dead. This is how she works as a theorist of nonhuman collectives: she makes it clear that all existence in common happens through a medium, and she places that medium at the center of her work.