How to balance the experience of cultural difference when the (mixed-race) alterity from which it comes from is at stake?
The journey into the unknown is a way to get back in touch with the other. Suriname is a place to confront traces of the Dutch colonial experience on the South American Caribbean coast: apparently so geographically close and yet conceptually so far away from the Spanish tradition in the Andean Pacific Ocean code, of which Marco Pando is heir. However, it’s the same the whole world over (1).
"Translation as blood transfusion" (2) is a strategy of identity renegotiation in Pando from the generation of a speech that seeks to deconstruct the paradigms of the mythical "Occident" inherited from its education in Peru, and of what was the “Occident” experienced in the 21st century Post-colonial Netherlands. The museum, that memory and identity-shaping machine of the former nation-state, comes into question here, in the era of multicultural crisis when the museum becomes the secular cathedral of the emancipated.
Pando makes a mimesis of the museological strategies focused on the anthropological, and from this perspective, the European vision of the other (non-Western). Even though postcolonial analyzes seek to deconstruct these hegemonic views, museums have hardly reinvented self-critical exhibition strategies from other approaches.
Marco Pando has recharged with(in) the complexity of Suriname, to symbolically fight against the European museum model and its authority ballast. His cannibalistic strategy combines the exhibition of objects that retake aesthetics of these "other" cultures - but from their hybrid and mutant condition - because they contain in themselves the imprint of that Occident of which they are part of, and at the same time of an animistic dimension from their will of inviting a telluric magic particular of shamanism: with artifacts that remind us of the material culture of civilizations associate with the "primitive."
From this dialectic, Marco returns us to aesthetics apparently assumed by modern and contemporary art of the 21st century since the ethnographic turn: but what seems disturbing appears to be his projection to dystopian retro futurism (aligned with our critic neo-medieval present full of fundamentalisms), in which the industrial detritus is raw material for a new ritual with which to reenchant with life. He takes the apparently bastard everyday as raw material to understand the stirring ground in which we all move. In its way, he is heir to cultural anthropophagy, and as archaeologists do, he knows that a rubbish dump explains the dynamics and tensions of a civilization better than a palace.
The nomadic condition implies a renegotiation of meaning at every moment... this is why the "cultural conqueror" can be interpreted as a way of reconfiguring the individual self, which assumes its mixed-race condition as a motor to challenge the cosmopolitan horizon, even in vampire mode. Despite looking for mirrors and shadows from where to understand his always elusive identity, his legacy speaks of a practice of resistance and a way of being and doing. And that is to negotiate being transnational (and perhaps other forms of being part Peruvian, Dutch and wandering as well).
Remember that the exotic is built from the look of the other (who is also in a strange us). This is an opaque territory. Attention with the vertigo of your contemporaries: it also speaks of shared instabilities.
Carlos León Xjiménez
Translated from Spanish
Madrid. March 2017
1 English translation for: “En todas partes se cuecen habas”
2 Haroldo de Campos: Deus e o Diabo no Fausto de Goethe. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 1981.
In 1956, Haroldo y Augusto de Campos, along with Décio Pignatari, launched the movement of Concrete Poetic in Sao Paulo. Under the influence of cultural anthropophagy, the Concrete movement became the first Brazilian vanguard movement of international repercussion.