DEAR SAVAGE . CARLA ZACCAGNINI

I have written before about patterns of nature which repeat themselves by chance or accident, such as how the shape of some rivers is similar to the shape of lightning, not to mention its almost identical spelling in Portuguese: rio and raio. But this is something else. Here I am talking about the convergence of structural patterns: wood knots and water moiré, wood grain and animal hair. In every standard or essence there is an order that repeats itself not as a constructive process, nor as a constituting matter, but as a formal result.

Of course, we need a perspective; we need to look from the correct angle and from a certain distance, that is, to see the rivers from above, and the lightning from below, for example. Or to see wood which has been cut and an animal which is still and quiet. It is necessary to have a subject that desires and determines that nature can see a mirror image of itself. We need the filter of culture to reveal nature, or at least to do it in a comparative way that prompts conclusions.

And maybe this is culture: to compare and to conclude. The construction of a gaze that recalls, which upon seeing something new draws on the past, searching for and finding what was once seen before and bringing together current experiences and memory. Undoubtedly, a highly deceptive procedure filled all kinds of mistakes, detours and corruptions. Such as when one sees an illustration of the silhouette of the Alps and can almost smell chocolate. Or such as when wood-patterned-fabric with continuous horizontal print makes one see a river - without ceasing to see the fabric, without ceasing to see the drawing and the reference to wood, without ceasing to see the machine and the movement. In such moments, when perception is dubious, it is possible to understand how these mechanisms work, their tricks and our innocence - which is always being tested.

On the other hand, the industry – and perhaps cultural industry in particular – creates illusions based on our need to recognise things. This need to instantaneously converge something new with our memories makes us understand each new object which is vaguely similar to something else – and everything is vaguely similar to something else – as a by-product or a complement to the already known. Hence we conclude: there is nothing new.

Industrial procedures study and standardise wood grain and animal hair and allow us to select them in catalogues. Here the catalogues are fused. They mislead the better trained eye to classify all types of ivory wood as ivory wood and all jacaranda-Formica as jacaranda wood, instead of studying the specificities of the drawing of a single tree cut lengthwise.

The recognition of the drawing of a lion lying down as a cow in a nativity scene is added to the recognition of this print as 'wood that is not'. The lion was once the illustration on a beach parasol, an object similar to the umbrella that protects us from infrared and UV rays and promotes a healthy contact with the external environment. And there is also the memory of the lion's hair painted by Delacroix or as seen on Discovery Channel. The two things co-exist, in an oscillating movement of being one or the other, and reveal, in this pendulum movement, the construction process present in the decoding of the world.