PlatteForum Residency (Denver)

June-july 2022 // PlatteForum Residency (Denver)

Platte Forum Resident Artist 2022
Raquel Meyers
Project: Concrete Redundancy (2022

Community Engagement Statement // Platte Forum Residency
The 2020 residence was postponed due to the situation generated by the COVID pandemic. Since then, the original proposal has evolved in purpose and meaning.

[Original Proposal 2020]
My proposal is to create Concrete poetry artifacts inspired by Denver’s Brutalist Architecture mixed with the English and the Spanish Alphabet; using typewriters Graph paper, photography, and embroidery. A typing and crafting project with language. I would like to organize a tour in collaboration with an architect or a specialist in Brutalism to organize the route to research the cultural context and influence of that kind of architecture in Denver citizens. The idea is to invite artists, musicians and anyone interested in the project, to create the words, characters, and patterns as a shared and collective experiment thought language. Even if we don’t know each other ones, using manuscript and graph paper. The papers, the characters, the photographs will be materialized in Concrete Poetry artifacts thought typing and stitching. An expanded version of the project will transform the artefacts into visuals and graphic scores who can be performed by local musicians.

[Interlude, 2021]
Picnic by the Anthropocene [Raquel Meyers, 2021]
It feels like we’re having a picnic in the roadsides of the world. Each one in its designated area, its landscape, its contradictions and its monsters. Globalized picnics full of future technofossils, decorations and obsolete humans. Using the screens of our electronic devices as a prism and agenda of what surrounds us, especially those of us on the “civilized” side is clear. The Strugatsky brothers’ view of the debris smugglers from outer space is more accurate than the tormented dream machine’s guide as much as I like Tarkovsky’s Stalker. All for money, nothing for humanity. As far as the landscape is concerned, it is a problem of nature that does not allow itself to be civilized, how beautiful and clean everything would be all sealed… The climate crisis is also about identity, about the human’s identity. To put an end to this little presentation we cannot forget the monsters. Our defensive mechanism par excellence, of the plural of ego ‘I’ against otherness.

It is fun to be in a picnic by the Anthropocene with our personalized kits such as botellón (Spanish slang for urban drinking) set, climbing set, party set, political rally set, demonstration set, summer set, snack set, romance set … available at AliExpress, Amazon, Walmart, Tinder and other multinational franchises. The important thing is to bring your mobile with your GPS, your RSS, your apps to share expenses, etc. We can always request a rider or an uber to bring us what is missing. Picnic at the stroke of App, at the stroke of data. But what’s a picnic without your Godzilla coming to bust it? We can’t forget the dramatic twist. By this I am not referring to the enormous mutant dinosaur Japanese icon of atomic fear of the 1950s; but to the residue, to the garbage… what we leave behind. A material and philosophical sedimentary layer of tangible rubble and thought.

The Anthropocene or Capitalocene (choose the label you like the best) represents the current geological epoch whose beginning takes place in the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century until today. What characterizes it is that the impact is generated by us humans. It’s a shared catastrophe no matter how much we like to shirk responsibility by projecting our failure on each other. What would become of us without monsters? Enough of preaching to the choir. We only listen when it affects us personally and materially. Only then do we lay hands on our heads and ask for a savior, a guru to tell us what to do. Our intelligence has gone back to monumental idiocy, to second-hand information and opinion. Where the narrative is a storytelling, a corporate, political and cultural fiction turned into reality by the force of repetition, memes and viral videos. Even monsters are subject to demand. You can build them by following the offers on the menu. It is very easy and comfortable, you just have to forward or refuel. Hate and fear are listed on the stock market, the high arousal emotions that social networks need to survive. Like humans, if you don’t
feed the monsters, they will disappear. Medieval bestiaries collected fabulous beings that went from feeding our imagination to becoming monsters to fear, exterminate, dissect, burn… The written word, the static or moving image was responsible for continuing to build the imaginary subject to the fashions of each epoch. In the digital age, the internet has been filled with them in multi format. The world is an inexhaustible source of imaginary or real beasts; Frankenstein, comunism, terrorism, COVID, feminists, Putin, unicorns, migrants, Donald Trump, witches, climate change, the cyborgs, Bitcoins, the earthquakes, sirens, Kim Jong-un, King Kong, the ultra-right wing, vampires, squatters, Mordor, Spaniards, zombies, nazis, the yeti, NATO… everything depends on the side you are on. Capitalism will take care of it. It has the ability to phagocytize any act of rebellion and create its own reality. We have swallowed it to the point of affirming and believing that there is no alternative. The new bestiary is neo-liberal and have so many empty boxes ready to fill. Fear is profitable and so are turmoil. Pick your monsters and have the merchandising ready.
I’ll wait for you in the nearest roadside. What then?

[Proposal 2022, update]
Concrete Redundancy [2022], Raquel Meyers.

Concrete Redundancy is a project who combined Critical Theory and KYBDslöjd Poetics beyond raw dystopias. A temporary habitat for the times we are living. Redundancy is “the state of being not or no longer needed or useful” (we the humans), while ‘concrete’ refers to what I defined as “KYBDslöjd Poetics”. The translation of the world using Brutalism, Concrete Poetry, Photography, Graphic Notations, Embroidery and, the so-called obsolete technology (Typewriter, Commodore 64, Teletext, fax). The original proposal to was to create “artifacts inspired by Denver’s Brutalist Architecture mixed with the English and the Spanish Alphabet; using typewriters Graph paper, photography, and embroidery. A typing and crafting project with language”. But the world and ourselves have changed so the project.

Monuments are used as relics of the future to validate and preserve an identity, but the future is not an extension of the past. What awaits us is a techno-medieval version where all stored knowledge will be reduced to premium access or simply disappear leaving the cloud in ruins for us. The Internet is destined to collapse but its legacy will become an aestheticized version for contemplation, a full-blown ruinenwert. Humans will be reduced, rather than to relics, to techno-rubble. The future doesn’t need us, reason and life submit to the ferocity of financial mathematics, algorithms and technology. In the post-Fordist era, human nature has become a financial gamble, art too. We have to change the logic of that narrative. I would like to think that the future is not an imminent ruin, analyze the present, and stop using a nostalgia of the past as a reference; with self-criticism and honesty, you can leave the impasse. It will cost us a lot
not to end up as the Anthropocene’s debris, but we can still resist. Denver’s Brutalist Architecture will become the base to create the Concrete Redundancy Artifacts using digital craft and KYBDslöjd Poetics through a collaborative process. There is a brutal dilemma between care and redundancy that we can no longer avoid. The apocalypse is not yet to come, but the ruin is
near. If we do not change our attitude, we will leave as a legacy pure rubble of Anthropocene that will be sold as a post-pandemic souvenir to future generations. If there’s any left by then.
Solutions are not going to be found based on individual illuminations, dialogue, empathy and noise are needed, no matter how much background. Noise to noise, layer by layer, until we reach the bottom, towards the terrifying end, which needs to be rewritten if we don’t want its fiction to devour us completely.

Denver Brutalist (list to be update):
Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock St. //
7News Building, Lincoln & Speer.
William C Muchow Federal Reserve Bldg, 16th Street & Arapahoe St.
Colorado Education Association, Colfax Ave & Grant St.
Denver Police HQ. 13th Avenue & Cherokee Street.
Martischang Bldg. 5335 W. 48th Ave.Boettcher Memorial Center, York St., Denver Botanic Gardens.
Renaissance Hotel Stapleton, 3801 Quebec St.
United Air Lines Pilot Training Center, 7500 E 35th Ave.
Cherry Creek Corporate Center, 4500 Cherry Creek Drive South.
Denver Fire Station No12, 2575 Federal Blvd.
Oneida Tower, 2121 South Oneida Street.
Denver Art Museum, 100 W 14th Ave. Pkwy. [Gio Ponti’s North Building, 1971]
Zeckendorf Plaza [destroyed in 1990s, I.M. Pei]