Wherever I am not is the Place Where I am Myself

An oily dark cloud engulfs everything, blending water, earth and sky with such perfection that distinguishing them is not possible anymore. Everything is wet and black. The horizon is finally touchable. Space is at last homogenized. An oversized kaleidoscope where every object is out of scale reflecting and deflecting one another on an immensity of angles. By this time everything had to be moveable so as to avoid destruction,1 It was with this premise that the tanks were created, in contrast to the bunkers, which almost seem to have been placed there as if begging to be pierced, exploded and cracked. I doubt that these monoliths were ever meant to survive throughout time; one can easily imagine the power of the enemy’s impact, just by glancing at the thickness of their walls.
It is relevant to mention the artist’s desire for his works to be destroyed, as it is the only way to progress. However, giving stillness to the things created means the artist needs to be in constant movement. The collapsing of a work means the rising of the next one, forcing him to move in between them - his mobility exists on behalf of the one mobility of the works.

By destruction he loses. That is all that matters. His steps are moved by the desire of constant loss. Nostalgia is what keeps his work awake. After all, is there anything more powerful than what we can no longer access?
Absence draws a path leading to an emptiness that needs to be filled. It is a mode of travelling in which clean footprints are left behind by the irreversibility of his steps, driven by the need for recovery. As he walks through the ruins of his past he sees a future built out of the same mental cinders. It strikes me how much we can destroy and build just by travelling. This liminal act is where creation takes place. It is alongside this travel that interment comes into play; it is also when seeds are thrown through the window of a car and left alone on a fertile ground for something to grow.

Did you ever find yourself digging up something you have buried a few years before? If so I should tell you for sure that its history will never be fully recovered because the past always stays silent and never wants to be disturbed, but I guess you will reach the conclusion that you are acting dangerously by yourself. However, if you do want to take that risk, then the fulfilment of being reminded of its absence might help you to bury it again but this time in an impenetrable, bulletproof grave. We can only forget by being reminded of the absence of things.

A massive grave was found on the outskirts of the city, more than 100 hectares of vertical destruction accumulated over 130 years, allowed for the vertical construction of the adjacent architecture. The quarry is surrounded by luxury condominiums, built around its rim, and its inhabitants face perpetually onto a steep canyon, probably unaware that the place they stand on was taken from the place they look at.

The quarry was once a loud and dusty place, a limestone theatre whose play was endlessly sound tracked by rubber and cement. After leaving it behind one would constantly hear the feathers of the pillow drumming the sound of the traffic over the rusty bridge.

It rests now neglected and exposed to emptiness, like the bunkers on the Atlantic coast, where destruction acts calmly, echoing over a vast sea of drowned memories. In such places, there is always a fraction being consumed by the absence of men’s hands, because the hands of man delay space’s intentions for objects, postponing their natural deterioration.

Now, picture this: a tall Scandinavian man wearing a bathrobe and having a coffee on the balcony of his luxury apartment, doomed with a view of a dusty dungeon beneath his feet. The hole works as a reminder of his foundations, as a monumental vacancy that defines, without trying, the memory traces of an abandoned set of futures.2 Is this giant cupola a monument to the past, or is it a monument to the future? A romantic ruin or a ruin in reverse?

It is hard to tell.

Henrique Pavão, 2018

1. Paul Virilio, Bunker Archeology (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1994), 41.
2. Robert Smithson, “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey” in The Writings of Robert Smithson, ed. Nancy Holt (New York: New York University Press, 1979), 55.

Fallen Between Cracks

Even a Rusty Pipe Without a Function Has a Twin Brother

“The mirror itself is not subject to duration, because it is an ongoing abstraction that is always available and time- less. The reflections on the other hand are fleeting instances that evade measure. Space is the remains, or corpse, of time. It has dimensions. ‘Objects’ are ‘sham space’, the excrement of thought and language. Once you start seeing objects in a positive or negative way you are on the road to derangement.”

 Robert Smithson1

Certainly you have found yourself in the backseat being driven through a repetitive landscape. Did you ever try to change it by drawing or writing on top of it? I want you to stay in this seat, look through the window, and read the words on the humid glass.

“From Overton, NV follow Mormon Mesa Road to the top of the mesa eastward. As you come to the top of the mesa, you will pass a cattle guard. Continue east across the mesa for 2.7 miles. Do not leave the mesa. Just be- fore you come to a second cattle guard at the east edge of the mesa, there will be a less-traveled road/path that extends along the rim of the mesa. Turn left onto this rim trail and follow it north 1.3 miles.” 2

The Double Negative is an earthwork conceived by Michael Heizer and has existed in a remote area of the Nevada desert since 1969.

This intervention is almost invisible, though it has a lot of presence. It consists of two du- plicated slots, each forty feet deep and a hundred feet long, excavated into the tops of two mesas. Situated right in front of each other, these elevations are di- vided by a negative space, a deep ravine in which one cannot stand.

By occupying one of the slots and looking across this negative space, we can form a picture of the space in which we stand, resulting in an absolute perception of the site.

Last August I was in a rush between Algarve and Lisbon. My “in-betweenness” didn’t real- ly allow any thoughts, but while pressing the trigger of the gas nozzle, I had the strange feeling of being in the same place not so long ago—though something was wrong with the placement of things. It seemed everything was flipped.

In front of me vivid colours invaded the kiosk’s mechanical framing, hiding its ugliness. Be- hind, weekenders and truck drivers stretched and scratched their balls while resting their vehicles. I was surrounded by starved machinery, whose food liquidised on behalf of mad anxiety.

I turned my head towards the highway, and through the rush-hour rain of headlights I noticed the same vivid colours. I could also see the facade of the metallic covering above my head, and the number of gas pumps was the same.

What I was experiencing made me suspect the existence of a mirror site, but such qualities could never be proved without having access to both at the same time. I was in a need of another person, a mir- rored me that could confirm those similarities.

If one sees a mirror as an ongoing abstrac- tion and a reflection as a glance of this abstraction, what would happen if the mirror became the reflec- tion itself? What would happen between two mirrors placed exactly opposite each other?

If my suspicion was right, my location al- lowed me not only a full understanding of my spatial position, but also the feeling of time control. I was travelling backwards in a place where present and past faced and repelled each other. The image of my location was on the site I had been at three days ago on my way to the south, and the place I stood would be the place reflecting my image on my next trip.

Located in a place of “inversions without end upon other men’s journeys,”3 roadside stations are considered by most people to be “junkspaces” or “non- places.” According to the architect Rem Koolhaas, “junkspace makes you uncertain where you are, obscures where you go, undoes where you were”4 and it “cannot be remembered.”5 I think these places are in fact stripped of any meanings, carrying a single function: the ironic goal of linking meanings. Still, they can be remembered. I see junkspace as a tempo- rary condition; it only exists when we are in its pres- ence. In other words, junkspace is an “unlingering” position.

The location of one’s body is irrelevant; it melts with the site, becoming part of it. The desire of reaching the known blurs the idea of perception, and real time is temporarily put aside. But once one leaves it, the body splits from the site and junkspace vanishes. The arrival to the known will give meaning to the place one went through to get there. In other words, I only see Koolhaas’s idea of junkspace as being possible if one never gets out of it. Let’s have as an exam- ple: Robert Maitland, a fictitious character from J.G. Ballard’s 1974 novel Concrete Island.

After a dramatic accident that makes his car break through the metal barriers of a highway, Maitland finds himself in between motorways, viaducts, and headlights.

He is put through many trials as he brings his injured body up above the embankments, and then comes to realize there is no way to communicate with the tangible world. He lies on an island, invisible to the rush-hour drivers, blinded and possessed by their destinations. Despite their blindness, this moment will have a meaning when they arrive to their homes, offices, and hotels. The same would never happen for Maitland.

“The island was sealed off from the world around it by the high embankments on two sides and the wire mesh fence on its third.” 6

During my research journey, I felt like Robert Maitland. My hunt implied travelling nowhere, and remaining in the junkspace.

Two hundred and forty kilometres of asphalt make up the A2, the second most used highway in Portugal. Every forty kilometres there are two service stations sited directly opposite each other, with the exception of the first, which is unpaired.

To succeed in our hunt, we needed to find a pair of stations with the exact same qualities.

                  Palmela – Palmela
                  Acláçer do Sa l– Alcáçer do Sal
            A2 Grândola – Grândola
                  Aljustrel – Aljustrel
                  Almodôvar – Almodôvar

We started our enantiomorphic journey from Lisbon. I was left alone at the west-side station. My mission was to catalogue the physical qualities of every present ob- ject, communicating them to my east-side stand-in.

We were divided by six lanes of intense car traffic. A place where human presence is only allowed inside vehicles.

Even though we were separated by a thirty-minute ride, we were still able to say “hi” to each other by lifting our arms.

Palmela was the first pair analyzed, locat- ed at kilometre 31. This one was in fact not so ugly. Its pale orange structure wrapped around a glass- encased cafeteria, which I read would be demolished and replaced, probably by a standardised colourful building more faithful to its function.

The same structure was confirmed on the east side. The gas pumps also had exactly the same qualities, and even the parking lot had room for the same number of cars to rest. However, the carwash garage proved to exist only on my side—and difference meant departure.

Similarities were also missing at the next four roadside stations. What I assumed to be reflected revealed itself to be defected.

“You can only see the differences between the objects when they are close together, because they are some- times very subtle.”7

All phone calls had been recorded; a catalogue of sim- ilarities and differences was the soundtrack for our journey to the last option. The horizon was constantly being crossed by our wheels, leaving hopeless tracks on the wet pavement. The clock revealed we were in junkspace for almost ten hours—perceived as forty.

With my head submersed in this galactic mode of time perception, ancient myths started to invade my senses, driving me into a state of pessimistic delirium. As I looked in the rear-view mirror, I saw Robert Smithson as my reflection reading The Gods of Mexico in the backseat. He read aloud the chapter about the journey of Quetzalcoatl,8 the morning star of Venus, towards Tlapallan, where he would find the sun and resurrect his image.

Smithson was particularly interested in the episode of Uceutlatitlan, referenced in his ninth mirror displacement in the Yucatan.Quetzalcoatl rested near a tree, looked to his obsidian mirror, and said, “Now I become aged,” and “suddenly he seized stones from the path and threw them against the unlucky tree. For many years thereafter the stones remained encrusted in the ancient tree.”10 According to Smithson, “if one wished to be ingenious enough to erase time one requires mirrors, not rocks.”11 Smithson told me about Quetzalcoatl’s journey as a failed search for an enantiomorph half, a “mirror looking for its reflection but never quite finding it.”12

Smithson and Quetzal crossed my path, as evil magicians in the old times, but I was lucid enough to refuse their teometl.13 If I believed in Aztec gods, I would have turned around and given up, but I had to find the other half of my Quetzalcoatl.

As the last of the in-betweeners, located on kilometre 187, Almodôvar’s service station was, for that reason, the least appealing stop for the drivers—by this time, most of the creatures were so melted with the junk- space that they didn’t even consider stopping. After all, they only had a couple of spins left in their tyres to reach their wonders. We started our examination of the empty service station around 7 pm.

A small house a couple of metres before the gas station, whose function remains unknown, was the first added to the catalogue; the only apparent difference was a crack on the wall of the west facade, something that we agreed was irrelevant—the weight of time in a timeless location will not affect reflections. Gas pumps, kiosk, gigantic green brushes in the car- wash garage, the garage itself, cafeteria, picnic area, flags, poles, benches, sculptures (if they can be con- sidered such), parking lines, car parks, metallic coverings, playgrounds, fire hydrants, trashcans, grass, blue, red, yellow, traffic signs, showers, and neon signs. All was submitted to a meticulous dissection, and the same qualities were evidenced everywhere.

From Lisbon, take Av. Da Liberdade, at the round- about take the second exit onto R. Joaquim António de Aguiar heading to A2/A5-Cascais, continue onto Av. Eng Duarte Pacheco, take the exit toward Setúbal/ Almada, merge onto IP7, continue on to A2/IP7, stay on the left at the fork to continue on A2/E1, follow signs for Algarve/Alcácer, take the exit, and the desti- nation will be on your left.

These are the directions to find Almodôvar’s mirror site, a place where even a rusty pipe without a func- tion has a twin, a random piece of wire mesh covers the exact same windows, and the storks are cautious enough to make nests on the same electricity poles.

When pointing out such phenomena, one becomes aware of a tradition, the same Dan Graham fell into when he made the photo essay Homes for America (1966–67) or as when the French invented their ordered and geometrical gardens, later distorted by the English with their anti-formal ones. The artist Cyprien Gaillard made a similar intervention with other impetuses in his early works, where we could see the French gardens being invaded and partially ruined by big clouds made by expired fire extinguishers.14 Alongside this series of interventions, Gaillard presented a small book in which documents of early earthworks were placed side by side with images of burned garbage cans and other acts of vandalism. He believes that “the closest we could get to a Spiral Jetty or a Double Negative is by acts of vandalism in the landscape.”15

I am interested by Gaillard’s idea of creating a manual for a contemporary way of making land art; still, I disagree with charging vandalism wit such a role. Oneh doesn’t need to burn a garbage can or break a park bench to change the landscape. Some- times underlining the repetitive aspects of what seems a boring landscape is as distortive and interventionist as creating a line by walking or pouring tonnes of as- phalt into a Roman quarry.

“It was a dark night and there were no lights or shoul- der markers, lines, railings or anything at all except the dark pavement moving through the landscape of the flats, rimmed by hills in the distance, but punctuated by stacks, towers, fumes and colored lights.” 16

The return was tough and the night was dark. Although a meaning had been given to a pair of charmless service stations, nothing was reached and we didn’t get out of the junkspace. It was like travelling on an unfinished highway: there was no destination, just a departure that became the destination itself.

As we approached the reversed end, the rain hit the car’s metallic plates, drumming above our heads and washing the windows clean. The land- scape is not repetitive anymore; you can get out of the car.

I have never experienced the Spiral Jetty (1970), but somehow I felt close to it. I returned to Lisbon in the same way I would return to the spiral’s tail.

“We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one af- ter another, to account for its origin. At last, we have succeeded in constructing the creature that made the footprint.” 17

Boats in Bottles

“At other times, at other angles, it also has the look of a tank or the carcass of an animal or an exoskeleton left by an errant creature now extinct. Whichever way, it is at odds to its function, forgotten by its generation and abandoned by its time.”

Tacita Dean18

It hides there, waiting for its death. Its threshold defines a gap between two old and humid platforms, reflecting each other in a tranquil choreography—an effortless dance conducted by the erratic water’s course, or the breath of a somnambulant state.

The only part above sea is its injured nose, and it moves slowly, like a shark hunting for its night meal. Its restless spine vanishes into darkness, feed- ing small white barnacles surrounded by seaweed, scratches, and other signs of its unknown world.

I stood next to it, in a waltz with the wood- en platforms, dissecting the corpse with my camera in an archaeological search for a history repelled by obsidian waters.

It could have once been the stage of a fraudulent voyage, or the house of a lost sailor, like Donald Crowhurst,19 who vanished into the grey mass of the ocean, leaving adrift his misbegotten boat. Is he dead or alive? Well, the artist Tacita Dean provides us with an incessant search for the man and his un- solved story in a series of films and texts. She spec- ulates the sailor “jumped overboard just a few hun- dred miles away from the coast of Britain.”20 In the film Disappearance at Sea (1996), one can see only a gap of light in darkness, a point between land and sea, and a tireless spinning over the same blue line that is never crossed by anyone in a lucid state of mind. The sailor was never found. On the other hand, his boat, the Teignmouth Electron, rests silently on the sands of Cayman Brac, protected and forgotten like a boat in a bottle.

Driven by this mystery, Dean examined the remnant with the eyes of a detective and the tools of an archaeologist. Hidden in one of the deteriorat- ed compartments she found a sealed package of boat- man’s flares. They were later stored in a film can and brought back to England, completing their cycle. Dean thought they would be safe in the National Maritime Museum; instead, they were regarded as a threat and destroyed by a bomb squad.

Her personal involvement in such un- solved archival situations delivers the illusion of a solution, even though they always remain incom- plete.

The Teignmouth Electron, as many other remnants in her work, “functioned as a possible portal between an unfinished past and a reopened future.”21 It is a relic that, although very promising at the time of its execution, lies neglected, and its story remains unspoken because the past always stays silent, and never wants to be disturbed.

Like Tacita Dean, my encounter with the remnant woke up a lost story, one that echoes eter- nally in my mind, like the sound of a key ring falling down a never-ending shaft.

“It was a small apartment that was turned into a lone- some boat, a box protected and blended by demolition wood.

A circle of light hit the staircase, piercing a window located too high for one to see more than a path of different skies projected on each step.

I used to sleep in a very small room cramped to the top with wooden shelves full of books, piles of drawings, and other memories of our journey. Not much space surrounded the objects. I imagine it was hard for them to breathe.

The centre of the boat was the living room due to the light, framed by a massive window making a very pure connection with an outside world. These six glass plates, delineated by green metallic contours, worked as a big clock, which showed me, year after year, that the land was coming. Every time I looked at it, there was a small part of the ocean being material- ised, like icebergs trying to hit my ship.

After fourteen years this day arrived. An army of frozen rocks lit the dark ocean and kicked through the glass of my big window with its reflections. On that day I had to leave. The exit door was crossed in a different way. By that time I felt I was leaving something behind, something I would never experience again.

My ship was gone, drowned in an ocean lit by the ice of the future.
Three years after the boat capsized, I went back there to revive an unfinished past.

My big window had no light coming through, except the one reflected by the icebergs that made us leave. Those which remained frozen right be- fore the hit, leaving a five metre gap, occupied by com- pressed, depressed air and a few drunken birds.

There was no contact with an outside world; the boathouse was surrounded by huge ice forms reflecting our own image, the image of a dear past, isolating us from any kind of aspirations. But what is the past if one cannot have a future? Then it becomes the present, and will remain like that forever.

With the absence of objects the space be- came heavier, and it seemed like the materials had found the right environment for deterioration.

Rottenness started to pop out from the now paled wood plates of the wall; the breath of emptiness swallowed their veins, like a stroke in an old junkie’s heart.

I couldn’t sleep that night; my wakeful dreams were illustrated by sadness and disappoint- ment. The next morning, I crossed the exit door, but this time leaving nothing behind, just bringing in my backpack, despair, and regret.

Burying things always makes us cherish them more. To dig them out could be a really danger- ous move.”

The silence inside the plywood walls of my studio gave me permission to write without obstacles. Now the words started to fill up the gap, becoming objects crossing my path. I think it is time to break a hole and let them flow inside the room. I see my studio as a monument to what’s gone, almost like a mausoleum.

If I look around, I have nothing but traces or remnants of works whose existences have vanished. Photographs, maquettes, drawings, and writings fill the walls, as if honouring their living period.

My installation Transform the Space Using the Space (2013) was conceived to live in the attic of an old building in the centre of Lisbon, in an area that was entirely rebuilt in 1755 after an unmerciful earthquake. Every cardboard layer corresponded to a fraction of time and space of that specific room. I spent more than a year collecting the material and it took a summer to build. The piece lived in there for three weeks. The moment of deinstallation was a moment of destruction; every single layer of space and time was given back to the place it was found. A shower of cardboard landed on the warm stones of the street, through the window of the place where the work was born and took its last breath.

I used to use site-specificity as camouflage, making references to works such as Robert Barry’s or the troubled episode faced by Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc (1981), 23 but, frankly, many theories have been elaborated around this idea, and I’ve lost track of its meaning. I could only say that I used site-specificity as an excuse for destruction.

Simon Starling’s Autoxylopyrocycloboros (2006) is yet another work that involved a remnant and a recovering. Starling brought up a small boat that had been sunk in Scotland’s Loch Long. The wooden ca- daver was restored and upgraded with a steam-power stack. Its resurrection was completed by a self-destruc- tive trip, with Starling returning its burned fragments with “dignity”24 to the bottom of the lake. It was a cyclical journey, where progression implied destruction. One could now start a discussion about how every mov- ing process leads to destruction. Robert Smithson once said, during a discussion with Dennis Oppenheim and Michael Heizer, that his work is “already destroyed. It’s a slow process of destruction. The world is slowly destroying itself. The catastrophe comes suddenly, but slowly.”25 The slow movement of a pebble over two mil- lion years was enough action for him. I am moreover attracted by the idea of accelerating these processes. In this sense, Autoxylopyrocycloboros is an allusion to my artistic process, and I suspect Walter Benjamin would have seen me as a destructive character.

“The destructive character sees nothing permanent. But for this very reason he sees ways everywhere. Where others encounter walls or mountains, there, too, he sees a way. But because he sees a way everywhere, he always stands at a crossroads. No moment can know what the next will bring. What exists he reduces to rubble—not for the sake of the rubble, but for that of the way leading through it.” 26

I am interested in creating things that are meant to be destroyed, so I can appreciate every moment of conceiving, be proud to see them standing, and miss them after they fall. It is this nostalgia that makes the work awake—we always care more for what we cannot access; lost moments and objects are unques- tionably more powerful. Their absence draws a path leading to an emptiness that needs to be filled. It is a mode of travel where clean footprints are left behind by the irreversibility of one’s steps, driven by the need of recovering.

The collapsing of a work means the rising of the next one, forcing me to move in between them. They are not transportable; the mobility of the artist exists on behalf of the one of the works.

As I walk through the ruins of my past, I see a future being built out of the same mental cinders. It strikes me how much we can destroy and build just by travelling. This liminal act is where creation takes place. It is alongside this travel that interment comes into play; it is also when seeds are thrown through the window of a car and left alone on a fertile ground for something to grow. On the other hand, one should be wary when applying mobility to artworks—it can be a dangerous act. Excessive nomadism can turn artworks into common objects. I doubt if one moves around a sculpture, without ever losing its presence, that successive failed recreations wouldn’t end in dis- appointment.

Documents are, according to this train of thought, a safer and fairer way of transportation. To document is to put boats in bottles. The work stays in- side, inaccessible as a frozen glance of what once lived. It is its absence that counts.

Photography, as a documentary approach, is simultaneously a kick and a hug to nostalgia. It is not a way of recovering presence, but a reminder of an absence. My relation with the camera when shooting a work is not different from the one I have when photo- graphing a site. For this reason there is a tendency to document objects or sites with the same irreversible, non-functional, and ephemeral qualities. To find these qualities one sometimes has to tear down walls, break through ceilings, or even blow out windows. Such ob- jects are normally concealed from our conventional patterns of existence, where they rest unprotected and exposed to emptiness. There, there is always a fraction being consumed by the absence of men’s hands, be- cause the hands of man delay space’s intentions upon objects, postponing their natural deterioration.

On the outskirts of Malmö I found a for- gotten structure drowned in a massive inverted cupola. A building whose functionality allowed for the construction of its adjacent architecture. The luxurycondominiums are perpetually doomed to face onto a quarry with one hundred and eighty-eight hackers, whose negativity functions as a reminder of their very foundations.

The forgotten building had been, over the course of its decay, stripped of its functionalities, ex- isting only as a way to link the top of the quarry to the bottom. The mode of access to this space was at first not visible. Its materials had rotted in a specific way so as to continue on their sleepy path without be- ing disturbed. The only entrance was through a thick door that is slightly bent on its bottom, leaving enough of a gap to crawl through and reach a deep corridor. An oversized kaleidoscope where everything was out of place. Objects faced and repelled each other on an immensity of angles, creating a sort of permanent ver- tigo that was emphasised by a gridded view of a dusty dungeon under my feet.

The way light pierced the ripped walls twisted the notion of inside and outside. It was like be- ing in one of those Gordon Matta-Clark interventions, where perception implied a careful choreography. On the same walls, crooked ladders pointed out a plenitude of directions, distorting my knowledge of real time.

As I cross a rusty bridge, I hear the noise of a constant dripping, like a countdown to complete the last level of a very hard video game. Rocks bluster through the steep canyon. Every step I take unshack- les incandescent voices demanding that I go away, while thin strips of sun try to stop my progression like machine gun shots. I cannot find out where I am, only where I have been; the only certainty is that I am vul- nerable and ruled by a place that was not designed for men’s existence.

The dripping noise is louder, the moaning sculpture produces chaotic and painful sound waves, objects start to fall, leaving sparkling scars on the steel walls. The weight of space becomes unbearable and the whole structure starts to collapse. A rain of rust covers my senses, I lose my footing, the metallic grid becomes wider and wider. A steel quake releases a dusty dark-brown cloud that engulfs the corridor, embedding me in darkness. The dripping noise is si- lent, and for 3.77 seconds, my body is falling between cracks.

Para a Madalena, uma ausência que nunca será preenchida.

Henrique Pavão, 2016

1. Robert Smithson, “Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan,” in The Writings of Robert Smithson, ed. Nancy Holt (New York: New York University Press, 1979), 96. Originally published in Artforum, September 1969.
2. “Double Negative (artwork),” Wikipedia, last modified October 31, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_ Negative_(artwork).
3. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West (London: Picador, 1989), 121.
4. Rem Koolhaas, “Junkspace,” October, no. 100 (2002): 182.
5. Ibid., 177.
6. J.G. Ballard, Concrete Island (London: Fourth State, 2011), 13.
7. Hilla Becher, quoted in James Lingwood, “The Weight of Time,” in Bernd Becher, Hilla Becher, and Robert Smithson, Field Trips (Porto: Museu Serralves, 2002), 73.
8. Among the Aztecs, the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl carried the meaning of the “most precious twin,” since Quetzal was loosely used as a term for precious and beautiful things, and coatl means twin.
9. See Smithson, “Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan.”
10. C.A. Burland, “The Mystery of Quetzalcoatl,” in The Gods of Mexico (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1967), 158.
11.Smithson, “Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan,” 103.
12. Ibid., 102.
13. Teometl is the white wine made from maguey sap that was given to Quetzalcoatl in order to trouble his journey.
The same black medicine, offered by Tezcatlipoca, was also what distorted his perception and made him leave Tollan.

14. Cyprien Gaillard, Real Remnants of Fictive Wars, 2010.
15. Cyprien Gaillard, interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Vimeo video, 55:00, posted by Based in Berlin, July 18, 2011, https://vimeo.com/26595859/.
16. Tony Smith, “Conversations with Samuel Wagstraff Jr,” in Theories And Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings, ed. Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012), 149.
17. Robert Smithson, “The Spiral Jetty,” in The Writings of Robert Smithson, 113.
18. Tacita Dean, “Teignmouth Electron,” in Tacita Dean: Selected Writings, 1992–2011 (Vienna: Museum Moderner Kunst Stifung Ludwig; Göttingen: Steidl, 2011), 38.
19. Donald Crowhurst disappeared at sea in 1964 while competing in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. It was
later found out that he never left the Atlantic. Crowhurst broke off radio contact and manipulated his log entries, humbugging the race officials that positioned him in the lead. Misplaced in time, overwhelmed in space, and ashamed of his falsity, Crowhurst abandoned his boat.

20. Tacita Dean, “Once Upon a Different Sort of Time: The Story of Donald Crowhurst,” in Tacita Dean, 18.
21. Hal Foster, “Archival,” in Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency (London: Verso, 2015), 46.
22. Transcript from my work Unfinished Past, 2016, HD video, 9:23 min.
23. Robert Barry said in a 1969 interview that each of his wire installations was “made to suit the place in which it was installed. They cannot be moved without being destroyed.” The same idea was intensified by Richard Serra fifteen years later, in a letter to the director of the Art-in-Architecture Program about his 120-foot COR-TEN steel sculpture Tilted Arc (1981), designed for the Federal Plaza in New York City: “It is a site-specific work and as such not to be relocated. To remove the work is to destroy the work.”
24. The word “dignity” was used because it was the name of the boat, the only trace of its past, and a way to compliment such artistic greatness.
25. Robert Smithson, “Discussions with Heizer, Oppenheim, Smithson,” in The Writings of Robert Smithson, 177.
26. Walter Benjamin, “The Destructive Character,” in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, vol. 2, part 2, 1931–1934, ed. Michael W. Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University
Press, 1999), 541–43.

Further References

Augé, Marc. Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso, 1995.
Attlee, James and Lisa le Feuvre. Gordon Matta-Clark: The Space Between. Glasgow: Narzraeli, 2003.
Ballard, J.G. “Time and Tacita Dean.” In Tacita Dean: Recent Films and Other Works. London: Tate, 2001.
Casting a Glance. Documentary. Directed by James Benning. USA: Edition Filmmuseum, 2007.
Cave, Nick and the Bad Seeds. Push The Sky Away. Bad Seed Ltd., 2013, LP.
Dean, Tacita. Teignmouth Electron. London: Book Works in association with the National Maritime Museum, 1999.
Deep Water. Documentary. Directed by Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell. UK: Patché Pictures International, UK Film Council, FilmFour, 2006.
Dillon, Brian, ed. Ruins. Documents of Contemporary Art. London: Whitechapel Gallery; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011. Foster, Hal. Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency. London: Verso, 2015.
Gaillard, Cyprien. “Cyprien Gaillard, January 25, 2012.” Vimeo video, 53:14. Posted by Emily Carr University, February 15, 2012.https://vimeo.com/36870183.
Krauss, Rosalind E. Passages in Modern Sculpture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981.
Kwon, Miwon. One Place after Another. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.
Leviathan. Feature film. Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Russia: Non-Stop Productions, 2014.
Nancy, Jean-Luc. “The Taciturn Eternal Return.” In Tacita Dean Essays, edited by Stéphanie Méséguer, 8–12. Göttingen: Steidl,2003.
Starling, Simon. “Autoxylopyrocycloboros.” Interview by Ross Birrell. Art & Research 1, no. 1 (Winter 2006/07). http://www.artandresearch.org.uk/v1n1/starling.html.
Starling, Simon. “Autoxylopyrocyclobros: Friday Event Lecture, 27th October 2006.” Vimeo video, 77:43. Posted by The Glasgow School of Art, March 22, 2013. https://vimeo.com/62421335

© 2019 Henrique Pavão