The expression “Post Script” or “p.s.” (POST-DATA in Spanish) has definitely fallen into disuse over the years. Hand-written letters, along with other forms of linear and analogical writing, cannot be corrected, unless sections are crossed out, deleted or re-written.
Postscripts are used as a response to the impossibility of making changes and are inserted below the signature as the final addendum; a comment that could not be made within the body of the text or a note that goes beyond the missive’s general message.
The exhibition POST-DATA is a re-reading of the research and creation work of several professors from the School of Arts of the Pontificia Universidad de Chile who, in a manner similar to a footnote, reflect on creative processes, the development of works over time and references to further an understanding of decisions made in constructing their works. These reflections range from academic formalities to biographical allusions. Together, they form a frame of reference that brings us closer to the works with a different perspective in relation to what they originally suggested. These projects were not necessarily created to be shown collectively and even less to be accompanied by texts that further explore their method and approach. These displacements in time and space help to define the temporary and potentially transformable nature of their proposals.
Often, the processes of artistic research are linked to methods that are far removed from models traditionally associated with knowledge production, models that historically have become pillars of development and more specifically, academic excellence, in the Western world. Nevertheless, models from a more disparate and nebulous (i.e., opposite) perspective come together to explore the value of visual art as a proposal in what Sarat Maharaj has coined “non-knowledge.”1
This proposal leans in a direction that radicalizes the value of what is indeterminate, inconclusive or suspended in time as a semantic axis of the artworks.
Research in contemporary art is different from research on contemporary art, since the first puts art practice at the centre of its labyrinth, the second puts its products as objects of research. Art objects that then tend to be isolated and subjected to study, as in the other scientific fields.
The term “non-knowledge” is more suited to art practice, since in this field, the borders are more blurred, references become relative and there is a permanent trend toward a nomadism of images the aim of which is not necessarily rooted in a specific point. Rather, the visual nature of the artworks could be defined as a state of relative calm; a place momentarily suspended in time. For this very reason, the epistemic or knowledge-based value of the visual arts is one that negates the idea of the image as an historic, scientific and true object.
As traditionally defined, creation and investigation are fields that are not easily combined (as in viewer and artist). However, creation and investigation that are perceived by the naked eye have the potential of being valued by way of the distance that exists between what is meticulously shaped through the sciences (investigation) and the procedures that are articulated through the visual experience, when the here-and-now perception and contemplation is at the core of the cognitive proposal.
To know something visually is an experiment that can be conducted in the “exhibition venue laboratory.” The time devoted to such experiences allows spectators to identify the recognition of the truth of the artistic proposals in an area that is under constant review and which must be periodically re-read via footnotes or, in more “domestic” terms, via the postscripts (“post-datas”).
Mario Navarro Professor, School of Art, UC