A system of beacons for the waste
It is part of the instinct of our species to move away and to bury the waste we produce. It is a foundational hygienic gesture: we push away from us what, in all likelihood, could sicken us. We send it to a mysterious and opaque space in the hope that there it will disappear. We move the excrement to a parallel reality that, in the words of the philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek, we perceive as “an underground world, chaotic and primordial”. A world-drain, a world-sewer from which we expect nothing will come back.
The series that make up “Environments” are the result of looking not so much the wastes as the way we move them around from one place to another, expelling them from our most immediate context to integrate them in that area -or blind spot- from where they should not come back. Thus, “Environments” can be understood as a system of beacons that Jon Gorospe put along the route that the rests set forth on to their final exile. Their return, their potential return can only be imagined as a catastrophe: the nightmare of revulsion. However, one could propose a hypothesis that even if a bit excessive is still possible: that the disaster may not be in front of us but behind us. Consequently, what the work of Gorospe shows us might just be nothing more than the natural drift of the post-apocalyptic scenario in which we live -not knowing it- since a long time. Then, to approach the waste plants, the landfills and dumping sites is not just to approach the great museum of the denial or the more complete masking repertoire, but also the more likely landscape, the architecture that awaits us and is already here.
From the garbage bag to the landfill, we are before a tenacious process of concealment. We hide what we do not assume, we hide the obscenity of decrepitude and death, we conceal what, on the other side, continues with its process of putrefaction, with its increased and threatening toxicity: there is no transparent waste bag, container, or truck. As in the culmination of an optical trick, we witness the disappearance of the traumatic as camouflage, swiping, or glaze. In the images that follow we will not see the garbage, the filth, the dregs, but the dark abyss that protects us from them: the opacity hiding them. Something that, on the contrary, will not leave us quite because it happens, as Nietzsche knew, that “when you look long into an abyss, it looks back into you”. That is the risk -the toll?- that the viewer of “Environments” have to assume.
Text by Rubén Ángel Arias, October 2016