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ROBERTO HUARCAYA.


AMAZOGRAMAS

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Just over two years ago, artist Roberto Huarcaya started a project that took him – invited by WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) – to Bahuaja Sonene, an Intangible Natural Reserve in the Amazon jungle, South West Peru. Throughout the first year, Huarcaya made several trips in which he found it impossible to “represent” the vast web of emotions that the Peruvian jungle provided.  Huarcaya chose to go back 175 years, and recover one of the first procedures used in photography: the photogram. The photogram is a technique that, without a lens or a camera, allowed accurate reproductions of objects. Its “official” inventor, William Henry Fox Talbot, while describing his first experiments with the technique, wrote with astonishment: “Nature draws itself.” Huarcaya’s solution to the philosophy of representation that paralyzed him, was admitting the landscape´s superiority: to stop being an author – a monolithic authority – and become a mediator.

Huarcaya_Amazogramas

That was the only way to activate photography´s empathic neurons, and emulate nature when she lets time go by slowly, so the circles of life can be completed. That was the only way in which he could aspire to include nature’s dualities simultaneously: life and death, order and chaos, reality and fiction – coexisting in this primitive, overwhelming, mysterious and aggressive mutant territory that is the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.

Through empathy, one can access knowledge; but, according to research, mirror neurons are active during childhood and it is very difficult to activate them in the adult period. Maybe 175 years is too long and now, in the XXI century, spending our time studying is no longer considered a priority in our society. According to Bauman, what we are looking for now, in this era of liquid modernity, are results and immediate benefits, liquidity in a strict financial sense. Very few ask photography to imitate nature and take hours or days to generate an image. Huarcaya is one of them.

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The expedition undertaken by Huarcaya probably had his own interior search as a destination; and it was that relationship between experience and introspection that gave him access to different and more effective solutions. In any process that we use to obtain answers, time is a galvanizing and protean element. A beautiful metaphor of that process is found in photographic paper, which slowly shows its latent image – its answer – within a container of developer. The examples, metaphors and allegories provide us with images that help us understand the world in its most minuscule or anecdotic dimensions, as well as its metaphysical ones.

Alejandro Castellote

AMAZOGRAMAS 

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