Views from Dance of Light screening at Field Projects (New York), Nov. 2022
HD video, b/w, sound, 4´57´´ (loop)


The images that give rise to Dance of Light are based on short excerpts taken from a 1950s film about life in the depths of the ocean. When I looked at them for the first time I felt thrown into the center of the vortex that invigorates when we think about all that precedes us, about what we don't know. No matter how much scientific data we have, nothing guarantees that the projections we make of the past are true. It is this universal doubt that interests me. It unites us in our ignorance and, ironically, thus makes us a more human collective. We are equal in our ignorance about the truth.  That said and returning to the images that give form to this video, I want to add another fact, that is: to accentuate the entrance into this vortex, at the end of the original film the following sentence is raised – «Can you visualize that strange, silent world when ancestors of such sea dwellers as we have seen ruled the supreme in the animal world?». Faced with this question I could not say a word. I could only project into my imagination layers and layers of images that formed much more of an abstraction than a concrete visuality. And I found myself in front of what for me became the abstraction empowered and what was also the power of abstraction that I consider to be transversal to the human condition in front of the most primary questions about the origin.  (...)

A curious thing is that even though everything became an abstraction, I mean both the images of these marine species and an eventual idea of a beginning, the truth is that everything also immediately became relatable to our own existence, the forms, the movements. All the elements represented vibrant memories of forms that we recognize and even of what we are as humans. Even more curious is that shortly after I began working on these images, a friend sent me T Zero (1967), a compendium of short essays by Italo Calvino. When I looked at the table of contents, my eyes were automatically directed to an essay entitled Blood, Sea that begins with the following words: «The conditions that obtained when life had not yet emerged from the oceans have not subsequently changed a great deal for the cells of the human body, bathed by the primordial wave which continues to flow in the arteries.» Calvino establishes an analogy between the chemical composition of our blood and «the sea of our origins, from which the first living cells and the first multicellular beings derived the oxygen and the other elements necessary to life.» In short, continuing to be swallowed by the vortex, everything became more and more evident to me, as if the speed of this abyss brought me the clairvoyance that we are all made of the same thing and that this collective sameness is liquid, fluid, and uncertain.  (...) It is precisely this indefiniteness that unites us from the beginning, because every projection of our beginning is a fiction in constant change, a veil that rises in a brief «dance of light» and falls out again. 

The dance of light is everywhere from the very beginning (whatever it was and however it was), and shows us how a Venus Girdle (Cestum veneris), one of the marine species that appears in the video, can turn into a bird that disappears like a drop of water, just as Ludwig Wittgenstein showed us that a rabbit is also a duck while reflecting on his idea of “aspect perception”. To end, if you do a quick search on the Internet, Girdle of Venus will most certainly lead you first to the art of palmistry, which again immerses us all in the essential mystery of life where everything can take us everywhere. (AnaMary Bilbao, November, 2022)


© 2023 AnaMary Bilbao – All Rights Reserved