Art in corona times 55. Pedro Neves Marques & Zahy Guajajara, Ywy, Visions; 1646, The Hague

When entering 1646 you hear people talking in a non-European, strange language.

There are no subtitles or voice-overs, you just hear the rhythms, sounds and emotions and some excitement.

Alas, although it is an intriguing start of an exhibition, due to the present lockdown you cannot visit it.

I was invited by 1646 to have a look.

The show was opened just before the lockdown and so it has been barely visible to the public.

So the show will be missed. 

Ywy, Visions is a project by Pedro Neves Marques from Portugal and Zahy Guajajara from Brazil and several people and institutions who co-operated in the project.

Main protagonist in the project is android character Ywy.

While strolling, looking and listening in the gallery, you get a sense of estrangement rather than of clarity.

The estrangement may come from the strange language, heard in the beginning, and from the science-fiction idea of an android.

In a film Ywy (played by Zahy Guajajara) talks to you.

She is standing in the middle of a field of genetically manipulated maize.

What she tells you covers a lot of what we have to deal with on a daily basis: the integrity of our food and consumer products and the way they are produced; the way we look at gender (Ywy seems to be presented as a woman, but an android is almost by definition genderless); the way we look at nature and how it is exploited for our commercial needs, and indeed how countries were occupied and colonised for those needs; the way we look at the future and how constructions of the past play a decisive role in it, whether we like it or not; the way we accept globalisation while forgetting how many languages there are, each containing its own culture, history and knowledge.

The quotations on the wall in combination with the other three works bring a lot together and you may even identify with Ywy in spite of not speaking her language (most people in the world won’t understand your language or dialect either, even if you speak a “world language”).

In the end the differences between the sexes, skin colours, languages, cultures should only play a role in as much as they have the potential of making the planet worth living in for all and everything.

The exhibition itself is exemplary for an international artistic co-operation, surpassing languages, ethnicities and continents.

The four parts of the show – a sound installation, a presentation of digital drawings  (in co-operation with Hetamoé), a video, and quotations on the wall – are well balanced and intriguing in their combination.

It is a pity that chances of seeing this show are limited, but on the other hand it also shows the importance of what cannot be seen.

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© Villa Next Door 2021

Contents of all photographs courtesy to the artists and 1646, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters