Projection – Injection – Incision. About Pablo Valbuena’s ‘Extension Series’
Paper for Almost Cinema(2009)
PIETER VAN BOGAERT
Pablo Valbuena’s ‘Extension Series’. The artist projects a drawing, a map of the space, onto the space itself. This projection scans the space with laser precision. But while scanning it, it slowly starts redrawing the walls, the windows, the skirting, the floor and the floorboards. Scanning becomes copying; one image turns into two.
‘Extension Series’ projects a virtual space onto the actual space. It virtualises what is real and actualises what is virtual. The result is a projected space: a visible space, based on the tangible space. The existing space and a thought form a new reality together. Both are absolutely designed spaces.
these projections are not dissimilar to injections. Injections of light that make the space implode (not explode. Again: think of Albert Speer’s column projections during Nazi rallies). Valbuena injects light into the seams of the wooden floorboards, into the electric cables, into the veins of the house. His light becomes a seam, cable or vein: it does not expose, it connects. It connects by opening. Joining by cutting. The injection is in fact an incision. One that cuts deep into the matter. One that performs scans in depth.
A reality where it is perfectly possible to build with light. Not like Speer’s light colums in Nazi architecture, but more like clouds of light that subtly fill the space. A light surface on one wall sheds a cloud of light on the other. A light volume on the floor casts a glow on the wall. Light does not form space, it also fills space. It is the mist of virtual images that always surrounds reality (Gilles Deleuze: ‘L’actuel et le virtuel’. In: Deleuze & Parnet: Dialogues, 1996.)
The result is a game of light and dark. On and off. Present and absent. Virtual and real. A binary system made to measure for the digital age.