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Andrea Crespo “virocrypsis”

25 November – 8 December 2015

Andrea Crespo “virocrypsis”

2015, HD Video, 16 minutes

Cynthia and Celinde are two and one. They share the same space, inhabit the same bodily form, in a perennial embrace, yet have separate personas. Located in the surfaces and membranes of the visual, virocrypsis displays their desires, identities and gestures.

Andrea Crespo’s exhibition “virocrypsis” is currently on view at the Swiss Institute, New York, until December 20th.

Introduced by Stella Bottai

Stella Bottai: Where is virocrypsis set? In ecology, crypsis is the ability of an organism to avoid observation or detection by others. Did you have this kind of ‘ecological crypsis’ in mind?

Andrea Crespo: The video is set in interstitial locations: isolated long-tails on databases, interiorities of isolated bodies and/or hosts, and motley combinations. We did have this form of crypsis in mind, though predominantly in regard to online content ecologies as well as interrelations between virally circulating figurations and bodies.

SBvirocrypsis accentuates the plasticity of the screen as a flat and transparent surface. The haptic qualities of the sound provoke further proximity, as well as tension, between digital and bodily textures. What where your sources of inspiration for this tactile composition?

AC: I am interested in how screens collect traces of the body and their environments, particularly when they are related to with intense intimacy. Screens and scannerbeds readily accumulate dust, hair, condensation, bodily residues, etc. They seem prone to static clinging. They act like slices or slides, capturing a particular material history.I think this tells us less of the utility and usage of screens than of tactile relationality and coupling with and/or through machines.

SBHow did you come to this reduced palette of colours?

AC: The palette derives from memories of screen-lit domestic spaces. Many of our shared experiences have occurred and continue to take place nocturnally in front of computers, televisions, and phones. Nevertheless, some experiences occur off-screen. Until recently we never added color to our drawings; they were usually haphazardly drawn by trembling hands in graphite or pen and immediately disposed of.

SBWhat about the sounds and songs in the films, where do they come from?

AC: The sounds include whirring computer cooling fans, the subtle chirps of our idle scanner, nervous clicking and keystrokes, and various hums and drones. These are useful in inducing apophenia. The songs are from Pokemon Blue/Red for Gameboy Color and Vocaloids named Rins, produced by jim830928.

SB: Are numbers and numeracies in virocrypsis presented as independent notions building an intellectual dimension, emancipated from sense-perception?

AC: We’re inclined to say the case is quite the opposite. The numbers correlate with stimmy or obsessive-compulsive tendencies of our body, depending on how you look at it—not to mention syzygetic inclinations. It’s about the quantification of body movements and ticks, the numbering of sensate events. Stereotypy intensified for us at an early age without a clear cause. Twoness holds special significance for us as it reflects the bilateral division of the nervous system Everything needed to be in 2’s, 4’s, 8’s and so on. Even numbers evened out on both sides of the body. If one of us did something twice, the other had to do it twice. This is our signal.

SBMichel Foucault spoke of medical assessments as an exercise of positive power to frame (and, consequently, normalize) ‘irregularities’ in relation to physiological, psychological and moral rules. I would like to ask about your use of scientific language and aesthetics in the film to display, define and blur notions of ‘normality.’

AC: Our diagnoses, deployed by clinicians, were as plural and fluid as we. It seemed the figurations we produced for ourselves were more adequate and stable in capturing our irregularities, less the negative connotations of imposed psychopathology. Our embodied neurological differences are, at least in part, agents of our identification with teratological bodies.

Michel Foucault was writing about medicine at a time when it was far more centralized. With the development of computational networks, general access to medical knowledge is increasingly commonplace. This led to a deployment of medical and pseudomedical discourses that may multiply difference and irregularity as much as it may normalize through conventional as well as unconventional methods. Perhaps we need new languages to discuss these transformations, though it’s difficult to keep up with them considering how quickly these transformations arise.


Courtesy of the artist; Hester, New York; and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin

Super Weird Rin – Singing Animation by jim830928