Issue #33-34, 2009

“The mask is our entryway to collective being.”
Ovidiu Ţichindeleanu

For the opening of this double-issue we present an archive that is exceptional both in the sense of its intrinsic and inspirational value and as a gesture of renewing the editorial and theoretical practice of IDEA magazine. The section archive was initially conceived as a space for exploring and exposing intricate relationships between art and theoretical inquiry with the purpose of opening a wider interface between the practices of art and theory. The published texts spanned a wide range, from Adorno, Kracauer and Groys, to Greenberg, Buchloch and Danto. In spite of its undeniable usefulness and wealth, this approach also navigates the thin line between document and documen­tary and thus runs the risk of creating in reception master voices rather than fostering critical practice. The present dossier is one attempt to conceive arhive as a space of differentiation of dis­courses in their material existence and performing temporali­ties, as opposed to the understanding of the archive as an attempt to unify the important things that have been said. The arhive should make subjective and inter-subjective prac­tices appear, opening for the application of assumptions rather than hosting problems in a meta-discussion.

Pedro Lasch’s What Are We Before We Are Naturalized? is an archive of both visual and discursive practices. The following materials are part of an ongoing series of practices and unfold a notion of the archive of knowledge in the sense of positing an active subject on the quest for the creation of the conditions of one’s own knowledge. The practices archived here are past, ongoing as well as future. The archive challenges the onlooking reader to relate to the reflecting practice of an artist who is indeed focused, as Xochitl Leyva once proposed, on designing new practices from collective subjects of transformations of which we are already part. In the modern age of mass repro­duction and destruction, the simple mirror mask created by Pedro Lasch can be opposed to the innumerable technological apparatuses and culture industry dispositifs whose obscene recording of the movement of bodies, of sights, sounds and discourses, is only the bright albeit fractured side of massive operations disseminating silence, invisibility and death. The mirror mask is an “entryway to collective being”, making possible dialogues that place the exchange of words, identities and assumptions in a gravitational field which brings to visibility social con­structions of individuality and the collective articulation of social situations. With the help of an archive that is neither building a burial pyramid nor moving a mountain, the mirror mask invites everyone to embody the transition from fetishized power to obediential power.