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Nicolás Cuello


We lay down. We looked up at the sky shifting in silence, while we got our bodies accustomed to the cold wetness of the ground. Our gazes, now objectless, punctured the emptiness of a warm midday, until just a little while after, a strange sensation began to pass over us. Several hands were clinging to our bodies in fear. Other ones brushed the messy vegetation of that fertile soil with their sweat. We knew that to take action was to put the body in movement. But that it was also to articulate a desire for affectation. And affecting, was to awaken in others the vibratility of a resonance. An inaudible, slow, and unstable language that emerged like an intimate barricade over the governance of skin and the violence of disguises. Stopping ourselves was to attempt a different choreography of the political. Stopping ourselves was not us becoming victims of our own fragility, but rather to humbly accept that we are defi­ned by it. Stopping ourselves was an opportunity to go back and listen to the forces of a world as vulnerable as us, but also, it was to make space for the uncomfortable irruption of its uncertainty. There we were, completely suspended by the disorientation of our own limits, deactivating ages of sensorial authoritarianism with our reparative resistance. We didn’t need to see each other, since the mutual recognition of our presences was an inescapable form of contact. The multitudinous interdependent stillness of our bodies gave way to a vivid upheaval. A rampant flow of images, memories and feelings moved decidedly forward over the forti­fied floodgates that guard our imaginary museums to the ordinary and made every possible order of signi­fication stall on a global level, detaching language from history to uncover the texture of its trauma. In the sky, the stars drew diagrams, while a small wind was driving sounds of justice. A deafening silence crossed over the world with such an intensity that we could hear how the water breathed. No one could foresee the uncertain possibilities of the body from the tilted coupling of its fragments. Terror wanted to name us a defeated multitude, but we knew that we were choosing fragility as a system of support and as an oblique form of imagining our tomorrow. This was how, connected by the patient recognition of our strengths, we softly forced a non­figurative thought mottled with certainties that escape even the tyrannical con­finement of words. “Where should our bodies turn towards?” was the question that we expected to hear, but nobody said it. We only remembered that it was a palpable impression. One second, one spark of time that said: “in all directions, towards the inimitable opportunity of the present”.


This text was written for Mariela Scafati’s work The Mobilization on view at the 11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Nicolás Cuello is an art historian whose work focuses on the intersection of artistic practices, queer politics, critical representations of negative emotions, and alternative graphic cultures in Argentina. As an archivist he is part of the independent iniciative Archive of Underground Cultures.

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