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This week I visited Daniel Canogar’s work (Madrid, 1964) at Sala Alcalá 31, in Madrid. The artist achieved something that is very difficult: for the spectator to stop being a mere observer and start interacting with his art. Through movement, his pieces of art invite the viewers to seek out multiple perspectives from where to look at them, incorporating their movements in and around the work as a crucial component of their experience. We hadn’t considered those perspectives until now; that’s why his work surprises us and catches our attention. With the great beauty of his pieces, the artist captivates our gaze and makes us stop in this world where few things stop us and invites us to observe and reflect. Daniel Canogar makes us realize that “we live in a world of acceleration and continuous information barrage that makes us live with a vertiginous rhythm.”
“The fact that we’re constantly exposed to diverse inputs ends up eroding memory, we are no longer able to (try to) store very basic data, and this results in a kind of collective Alzheimer: we lose notion and the weight of time. It’s as if we have forgotten the traces left by the past, traces that are key to know where we are going. In that sense, Fluctuations is an attempt to preserve a certain personal and collective memory that is closely linked to technologies.”
Daniel Canogar’s work talks about the guidelines of our data society, and he does so by investigating the transitions between the virtual world and the real world.
Through large installations, Canogar makes us think about technological change and the broken libraries of our cultural memory. Sikka Ingentium is an abstract audiovisual mosaic based on our cinematic past. Thousands of DVDs hang from a large wall and reflect the projections in the wall in front of them. It becomes a magical corridor, full of color, lights, and sound. The sound of the projections wraps us, the spectator is being invited by the artist to receive those lights that are reflected in his body and to interact, play with them, to dive into his work.
In his series Small Data, Canogar investigates, as an archaeologist would, different obsolete technologies and, through video animations, he gives new life to discarded electronic devices. When the spectator looks at these technological devices –that he used until not long ago, but are now obsolete– to recover apparent life, the artist achieves what he is looking for: to move the spectator.
“The obsolescence that really concerns us is ours,” says the artist. Seeing these artifacts that we used until recently and that are useless in the present, can wake up a certain vertigo. Canogar talks about his work and tells us: “I have scoured junkyards, recycling centers, and flea markets, looking for samples of aging technologies that defined our existence in the not-so-distant past. What we throw away holds an accurate portrait of who we were. By projecting video animations onto old media, I attempt to reignite life back into them so as to reveal the shared memory they hold within.”
With Cannula, Canogar echoes the data flow that is currently traveling on the network. The artist uses YouTube videos to create a liquid composition. Connected to the internet, the work downloads in real time the first 100 videos that show when doing different searches; among them, the most watched YouTube videos. Canogar projects these images that he liquefies in a beautiful color composition. In the exhibition, three sofas were placed in front of the projection. The artist invites us to meditate about “the constant information barrage to which we are exposed that makes us feel like we’re never here and we’re always missing something.”
“After years of research, I have developed a flexible LED tile that allows me to create screens with complex curve shapes. Thus, I can make screens that bend and twist and respond to the specific features of the architecture that contains them.” And so, Fluctuations shows the results of the artist’s researches, who seeks to externalize and capture in his work the awakening to the reality of our civilization that, according to Canogar, is drifting due to “the obsession with the ephemeral in the era of programmed obsolescence,” because we are losing our memory. “Memory and its loss are central topics in my work. Unless we remember, we are doomed to an amnesiac present, that lacks time perspective.”
This is another work with life data. In Xylem, the artist uses abstraction as a method to capture the social system created by the infinite flow of digital information.
An installation of led screens with animations that react to real-time information of different phenomena.
The artist breaks the screen’s limits, and he creates three-dimensional installations in which he conceptualizes new media as sculpture.
An unpublished piece based on screens that evoke the shape of a half-open book.
Made of knotted telephone cable in which animated videos are projected.
Canogar is an artist who likes to play, invent, transform, and give things a new utility. With his work, he invites us to interact, observe, stop, and reflect. I think visiting this exhibition is something you should all do this Christmas if you are in Madrid. The exhibition will be open until January 28. I am going to take my daughters this weekend, and we will also do a workshop. I will show you the outcome for sure! It’s a huge challenge… How do you invite those who were born in this digital era to deeply reflect and question this world’s problems with its dizzying pace of constant information barrage that is expiring every day? I’m an immigrant, I come from another time; Canogar’s work awakens me, makes me realize: what if you’ve never been in another era, but you were born in it and know anything else?
Photography: Oscar Rivilla.
Styling and conceptual design: Carolina Verd.
Make up and hair: Carolina Verd.
Fashion by Pez (Madrid):
Dress by Masscob.
Crocodrile skin vintage belt.
Over-the-knee boots by Zara.