Time has allowed us to accommodate and dilute ourselves in what we call the normal. Normalization is an interesting machinery that produces and reproduces power relations which are barely perceptible and, therefore, difficult to observe when we reproduce them without the capacity to resist. Hence the normal is not identical to the norm but can adopt its function

It is the possibility of feeling like free modern subjects that pushes us to reproduce certain conditions of government that, under the promise of a better version of ourselves, continue to fuel obsolete dynamics and old systems that signify and manage an internalized order without any nostalgia under that coexistence of forces. In this way, we are led to believe in that sweet utopia in which we live in a territory and at a time where everything is to be done, in which it is difficult to escape from permanent transition and where the context is what commands, since the hierarchy is assumed as a kind of symbolic presence that squeezes but does not asphyxiate. But what would happen if we were to question these constructed perceptive structures? Would it be possible to vindicate the “total social fact” as opposed to the separation of bodies?

That would imply not differentiating the different conceptual, vital, natural and cultural spaces [2] and to assume as true the intersection of spheres and the interweaving of subjects now understood as authentic descriptors of life. The essential, then, would lie in how the modern individual learns firstly, the way to possess a body dependent on certain existential conditions, and, consequently, to develop a creative and productive relationship “with oneself” and the surrounding ecosystem[3]. It is at this moment, in that creative relationship, when the concept to dwell (sic) acquires a re-significance through the work of Xavier Monsalvatje. Works in which, by means of the construction of small fictions that start from a specific reality, he manages to construct a questioned truth that is capable of being in itself an incomplete eco-critical response. An open invitation to the viewer who becomes an active part of a joint reflection on the sustainability or not of systems.

To dwell means to inhabit or live somewhere but also implies observing, considering and thinking about something, which pushes us to meditate
on ourselves. It is as fascinating as it is disturbing to stop and notice our own presence in an exercise of intersubjectivity in order to feel that we are part of our context. Monsalvatje makes use of this to carry out extractions of unfinished physical and emotional realities, based, almost always on a personal and unique experience, which through being mobilized by his artistic practice, propitiate readings which confront this mechanistic life which questions us, demanding and reclaiming a self-reflective attitude to turn around the social amnesia that surrounds us.

His work proposes a review of our ways of connecting with the environment and the landscape, understanding these concepts as spaces with definitions in transition where cities, social and industrial contexts or technological environments are essentially carriers of a chain of personal and cultural memories. Territories that need the implicit existence of an observing subject capable of giving meaning and connecting interrelated histories, those that tell us about power relationships, geography and transfigured economies or even an ecology seen as that longed for home, an idea that survives only in the memory. With all this, he outlines a panorama that speaks to us in images of a cosmos full of exclusion zones, giving shape to what previously did not exist through the conjunction of the fragment to show us that reality is nothing more than a cartography of croppings of the individual and that it is necessary to step back in order to question the authenticity of the systems of modernity.

Nevertheless, and assuming the entropy that we perceive in social and cultura change as an identifying feature of present society, he makes us see that we are part of those images that we generate, images which he passes on to us through his frenetically paced artistic vocabulary which he uses to dimensio stories in a discipline at times as unknown as contemporary ceramics.

It may not be casual, it may all be part of the strategy and perhaps in this way it makes us think, through this scenario of dichotomous nature, how it is possible to mix traditional and artisan craft with the “superficiality” of our present, without altering its forms, without confusing the functions of the object, leaving us free to vindicate the times and truths of this precise moment full of contradictions, in order to ask ourselves if we will be capable of transforming a mentality for too long assumed as our own.

The question then would be if an interactive and procedural art could approach a new articulation of the social, if this conception of the artistic would return us to the idea of a future under the construction of an art of free access that defies, gets involved, worries and takes into account the opinion of the public for whom it is made. Spectator subjects who feel questioned by the work and that as in this case, may still not be aware of their expectations and what they want for themselves but that, after confronting the warning, take conscience of their own needs.

Monsalvatje gives us the chance to choose, invites us to take sides from other dialectical positions in order to show us that when we move away from preestablished structures we receive a stimulus to experience the world from another perspective, where contemporary reality is a construction drifting away from a system and ecosystem settled in a territory where we believe that what is visible is the truth.

[1] Lorey, I. (2006). Gubernamentalidad y precarización de sí. Sobre la normalización de los productores y productoras culturales. Instituto europeo para políticas culturales progresivas.

[2] Mauss, M. (2009). Ensayo sobre el don. Forma y función del intercambio en las sociedades arcaicas. Katz: Madrid.

[3] Foucault, M. (2005). Historia de la sexualidad, 1: La voluntad de saber. Siglo XXI.

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