Cyber erotic narratives by Spanish artist Mit Borrás in conversation with Maria Abramenko.
How do you balance all of your creative activities, as a curator, artist and tutor?
I am an artist and I love my work, it is a way of seeing the world that I cannot get rid of. This leads me to be a great consumer of art and an active character in the facets you mention. Due to this healthy vital need I curated for years, written numerous articles of cultural criticism to show the artist’s work and establish relational links with distant and innovative scenes. I directed project spaces, participated in art institutions in Berlin and internationally, and I currently give master classes on contemporary art and new media in Madrid. I believe that the dissemination and teaching of art are essential. All of this is an extension of my artistic work, which is the one that occupies my mind and my time every day of the year in my studio. I am a hedonist of art, and it is not a rhetorical figure, it gives me a lot of pleasure. This is my way of contributing the way I can, to the improvement and amplification of the international contemporary scene, it is important to me. My work is part of the modern thought, the Zeitgeist and, like any other artists, of the speech that will come tomorrow and that is a responsibility that I gladly assume. The works you mention are an extension of my practice and tools for doing intellectual activism.
Where does your bleak aesthetics coming from?
It is a good question, my work is like that because it is built from a very intimate and stable position of seeing the world. The social system in which we subscribe is unequal, hereto-patriarchal, misogynistic, classist… the list is long, and it encourages the consumption of goods with promises of reward. It is a creature that destroys our ecosystem and is opposed to a fair coexistence. Capitalism is pure collapse. It fascinates me as an announced accident in the same way that I observe analytically the positive elements that operate whit in this system. There is something we have lost and miss and we want to replace it in a prosthetic way. This is a constant reflection and permeates my work. I am passionate about sociology, and from that prism, I speak of what the essence of this historical moment represents: A society that lives a liquid modernity in Lipovesky’s terms with a great protagonism of desire, where everything light is good, and there is a new way of understanding and idolising the body, sports, the workplace and the intimate, a new sense of leisure. In this contexts the design of objects is crucial, they are are the artifacts with which we understand the world. In short we have a new way of relating to reality that communicates how we are, and here comes the core of the question, a moment where we privilege the idea of technological progress as the greatest identifying paradigm of our society.
I feel the need to subtract some elements of this scenario in my exhibitions, the soft and ergonomic cave we live in, that strange event in which we find ourselves, not to give answers but to provoke a stimulus and thereby establish a question.
My works are the result of distilling and simplifying that modus vivendi to the minimum, showing a concentrated Doppelgänger or an idealised form of it. This is how it works and why it looks as you said. I am inspired by clinics, shopping centres, the advances in science, transhumanism, bioethics, sports and meditation centres. My studio actually looks like a laboratory. I deform and exaggerate those places that identify us so much (and where I certainly feel pure Stendhal pleasure when I am in them) and that is why I create works and build spaces that pass between the unpleasant and the superlatively naive. Then I counterpose them to the way nature adapts for reasons that may not now need to be revealed and that are part of the discourse.
That is why I seek a precise balance and that my work is perceived at the same time disturbing, uncomfortable and clinical as well as friendly, intimate, rubbery, pleasant, attractive or erotic. This harmony between both poles is the key that sustains both the formal body and the thesis of my work.
In your works, is there a sexual reference and if so, what is your idea of sexuality in art and what are your inspirations and references?
Yes there is, (laughs). I’m glad you asked because the erotic aspect of objects is a tool that I constantly play with. I’ll explain better: the consumption of goods and technological progress are capital elements of our behaviour as animals, they define us. As I proposed in a conference that dealt with the question of the erotic function and the curved form, I began to observe that ergonomics, a unique discipline of adaptation, played a vital role in describing how we perceive The Reality; here understood as that collective fantasy that we call Reality, you know. The goal of ergonomics, by its definition is to reduce human error increase productivity, and enhance safety and comfort. That idea is basic in my practice. We design anatomically adapted objects that submit (the word I like to use here is submission in the sense of capitulation) to our anatomical shape and this provokes in us a series of reactions and relationships of various kinds: always positive, of satisfied desire, affection and eroticisation of life. is what I call the sexualization of comfort.
There are a series of key patterns at the service of ergonomics that contribute to this, such as the materials that are implemented: hybrids and highly technical, hydrogels, rubbery, sparkling, elastic, flexible, vibrating, stimulating, sensitive, vaporous and light materials, invigorating, as well as colours; soft, pastel, gentle and candid tones. This emits a sense of security and the consciousness that we have conquered matter, that we have defeated it. We like that kind of docility in life, that domesticated nature gives us power. This fascinates me. Ergonomics is a vital tool in our way of relating to objects and it happens to us that our current world tirelessly references and promotes the idea of beauty, youth and innocence, hedonism and pleasure, as well as the forms that are inspired by it. genital, vaginal or phallic. This transmits an idea of pleasure to our vital context, what we can call the delusion or fiction of the future achieved. There is a sub-layer of perception of eternity through technological progress that bewitches us, I am very interested and rooted in cyborg culture, the sensuality of objects is vital to perceive it. It seems like a delicious monstrosity and I don’t want to talk about anything else.
That is why I build prosthetic, ergonomic heavens in my works and with a certain component of desire that refer to a state of limbo and pleasure from the synthetic perspective. I evoke those states of euphoria, with objects that refer to adaptation and the genitalised, with pieces that recall progress, are nourished by technology and that lead to a state of spirituality.
How important is digital art in this stoical moment and why?
Vital. First of all, for life. Second, for art itself. I remember an article I wrote 15 years ago, it was for a magazine about video art, I was already talking about the importance of digital media for the art scene, it was easy to see, I don’t think it was anything visional, you just had to observe the potential of that medium and what was beginning to happen with digital media. The artistic discourse now is constructed from digitally, although not exclusively but decisively, for many reasons. The contemporary art scene, artist, collectors, galleries, dealers, cultural managers, cannot look other way to the presence of digital art in the 21st century if they want to tell what is happening. I am a defender, I have been a promoter of digital art festivals on two occasions, I have collaborated with quite a few as artista and curator and my most intimate environment is dedicated to it from a certain vanguard. Cultural actors who have not yet assimilated it will have no choice but to do so.
Digital art is wonderful for people, it has been shown that it is a medium related to our new way of decoding life. We have an intimate and close relationship with digital devices, and leaving aside that like everything else, their abuse has an obvious counterpart, it is a medium from which citizens increasingly enjoy art. It is difficult and you should not try to also replace the exhibition and the physical work, as I say in my classes, we need to touch things, smell them and perceive the space between the works and their dimensions, but there is no doubt that digital art is here to stay and proposes a way to collaborate and express the fascinating world, obviously unstoppable. Needless to say that due to the Pandemic, this issue has been accelerated. During the hardest confinement of 2020, for example, my work had a good international presence in various digital exhibitions, digital art fairs, online museums, zooms, live streams, even confined to my home I did artistic residencies in places as far away as Azores Islands. When you read this interview tomorrow (greetings to our readers of the future) this will mean nothing, but in 2020 and 2021 it was a bloom.
What are your future plans?
Doing new pieces is my plan always. I work a lot so I can tell you about my most immediate projects: After five years of work, I am finishing shooting my first feature film Adaptasi, which I will release in 2021. It is my most ambitious project, we have filmed in Dubai, Sri Lanka, Madrid and Indonesia. In addition to the film, Adaptasi is an expanded Project, it involves a new exhibition body of work that combines projections and an installation that are part of the aesthetic world of the film.
We are also organising the 2021 exhibitions: Heaven at Exgirlfriend Gallery, my gallery in Berlin, for the Berlin art week this September, this summer the Pylon Hub Lab exhibition, a space that I love, also in Germany, the exhibition in autumn from my gallery in Milan, Dimora Artica and the Centro Párraga exhibition in November. Also the collective with Espai Tactel Gallery and then another in Berlin with Frontviews that will then travel to London and about which I can’t say anything else yet. 2022 will be the year of the film and I will combine the work in the studio and the exhibitions, with the distribution of the film in festivals, theatres and for the gallery format.
Artist: Mit Borras / @mitborras
Art Editor: Maria Abramenko / @mariabramenko
Assistant: Antoine Schafroth / @a.schafroth