Vigor Mortis and Abra Cadaver in conversation with Curator Vera Vestibular and theorist Christopher Hitchins prior to the opening of their exhibition ‘Ocular Bones’ at the Bardo Museum, Barcelona.
VV: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
A: Time? We have lots of it.
V: No problem. It’s a pleasure.
A: Shut up.
VV: So I was interested in something you said recently about the importance of blurring the lines between skeletal and spectral states. Or spaces. Lets call them spaces.
A: We weren’t saying ‘importance’ so much, it was more along the lines of the inescapability of that. As if there could be any other outcome.
V: I think the idea that they are separate things is really the issue. I mean, to the eye they appear to be quite different, one is picked clean but remains corporeal material and the other is completely without substance, a kind of material incorporeality. I say material incorporeality because it still appears
A: So we are acutely aware of being caught in between those spaces. It’s very confusing at times. I mean, we struggle to understand that, how we can be both of those things simultaneously.
CH: Can I just cut in here
V: Even when we were alive we were acutely aware of the imminence of our own deaths, and now that we are passed that phase, it’s not immediately clear how things have changed. I mean, where do we go next?
VV: Going back to something you just mentioned, you said of the spectral that it appears. What do you mean by that?
V: Well it’s self evident. They appear. It takes you back to the scopic regime. In Foster’s account, and who could argue against it?, we are resolutely ocular-centric. But it’s more than that. When we apprehend the ‘post-death’ we see those traces or hear them. Maybe smell them, whatever. Science has invested a lot of energy over the last few hundred years trying to capture those traces but they are very slippery. Has anything come in recently Abra?
A: No, not yet. A big part of our MO is resisting transubstantiation, despite the fact of it. It’s a difficult headspace. But we have a range of scopic devices at our disposal and we use them relentlessly to bring clarity to the problem. We’ve had some very positive results so far too.
V: Yes, we have.
A: Heh heh.
V: Heh heh heh.
CH: From my experience…
V: Shut up you. We’ll keep looking anyway. We’re not sure what we will do with that knowledge once we have it, but for now it’s important that we continue looking.
VV: So it seems like you’re caught between backward and forward looking gazes.
A: Very much so. It can be a struggle to get up some days.
V: But we’re no fools. We appreciate what a valuable resource we have. Both of those gazes together, I mean that’s very powerful. One thing we have worked out is that it’s not actually binary at all. No.
A: No. It is like a hard drive though, in some respects. All that information passes through our perceptive fields and gets laid down in no particular order, and we have to work through it all and create pathways between our selves and the individual bits, connections. Memories. Associations. Linkages. Oh, and by the way, perception is not a field at all. Turns out it’s a lens.
VV: So can I ask where you are going with this? What you hope to achieve.
V: We’ve talked about that. On one hand we are looking to be acknowledged, or seen if you like. It may be about being remembered too, but at some point its really about language. Being encoded.
CH: I’d just like to…
A: Oh for fucks sake. What?