I wish to express my gratitude to the Museo de Arte de Ponce, to its board of trustees of the foundation Luis A. Ferré, its executive director Alejandra Peña, its associate curator of European art Pablo Pérez d'Ors, the exhibitions coordinator and curatorial assistant Helena Gómez de Córdoba for inviting me to present my work at the Museo de Arte de Ponce for this fall season of 2016.
I also want to thank Soraya Serra, Grace Cay, Elvin Rivera, Ana Margarita Hernández, Julio Amill, Lidia Aravena, Angel D. Santiago, John E. Vargas; Gloria Irizarry, Viviana Van Vliet, Roberto Ortiz, Pedro Rinaldi, Humberto Wilson, Ángel Rodríguez, Vivian Gautier, Irwin Rosado; Elimelec Mercado; Evelyn Martínez; Emilio Quintana, and all museum staff who have been working hard for the realization of this installation. In addition to the museum’s docent guides.
I dedicate this installation to my dear mother Carmen Rodríguez, my dear wife Mary K. Boncher, my daughter, my three granddaughters, my grandson, my two brothers, family and friends, to the town of Playa de Ponce, to the city of Ponce and the people of our country Puerto Rico. I also dedicate this exhibition to all Ponce artists, the southern region and all of Puerto Rico who daily express their profound feeling of identity, historical ownership and spirituality.
I also thank greatly Jorge A. Gautier, a computer programmer based in New York City, and Ruth M. Vázquez, a specialist in digital image retouching, who collaborated with me in programming the website created especially for this installation.
I am honored as a Playero, Ponceño and Puertorriqueño to share my perspective as an artist who makes reference to arteology. In this installation titled Memory of Nature: the Rhythm of Life I have focused on three aspects of my work as an arteologist. First, I will briefly describe my philosophy as an arteologist and my artistic conception related to this installation. Secondly, I will indicate the mystical aspect of this installation with the mystical vision of the Museo de Arte de Ponce. And, thirdly, to conclude, I want to present my position about the new era as part of this installation.
As I stated in my manifesto, the arteologist is like a newborn phoenix that holds the remains of its ancestors in a sacred place before starting the journey towards a new era. The arteologist meditates on reality watching, and listening to, the truth rooted in the past, present and future. Like an Egregor or as a griot, the arteologist helps to ferment and mature the connections that in contemporary art are linked to cultural identity, to a sense of history, and to spiritual transformation.
As the arteologist delves into those holes where the truth lies buried to meet the fertile ground, root, and essence derived from the pursuit of truth and transformation, so it has been to explore the aesthetic process to develop this installation for the last six years.
Memory of Nature: the Rhythm of Life is precisely the search for the connection with the balance of life, which comes from the primordial energies of nature such as the ether, air, fire, earth and water. It also comes from ancient cultures such as the Taíno, African or Vedic philosophies, which have greatly influenced our civilization by showing us the way towards harmony with nature, a harmony that is expressed through symbols or codes that mark the rhythm of life. In addition, they established a language that originates from their profound feeling as human beings.
In this installation, I respond to the Caribbean sunlight entering the Museo de Arte de Ponce through the sixth skylight designed by architect Edward Durell Stone. The influence of the vibration energy of sunlight affects us every 24 minutes. This is the same energy vibration in every part of the world. Besides, this energy cannot be created or destroyed. This same sunlight is projected onto the multimedia assemblage at the center of the installation. The book in this assembly shows two tablets connected to the internet and the website http://ritmodelavida.github.io , which I designed exclusively for this installation. The book is supported by a metal frame anchored to a circular floor painting. This website allows us to interact with the symbols of the tattwas, which are represented by the frequency clocks programmed for sunrise in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
This energetic projection is directed from the center of the installation to the four directions of the compass, where my interpretation of each tattwa is depicted on the encaustic paintings hanging on the walls. Also, right on these paintings and below the book, are displayed small paintings depicting the geometric symbols of the tattwas to facilitate the interaction between the frequency clocks on the iPads and the paintings.
By scanning the QR code that is located in the first label with a cellphone or tablet, visitors can connect to the web page and use it freely while walking through the museum, appreciating the artworks and continuing our dialogue with the installation. In addition the public can interact from anywhere in the world with the installation at Ponce time while the exhibition is displayed in the museum. When the exhibition ends, the frequency clocks will be open universally.
Memory of Nature: the Rhythm of Life refers to the mystical vision of the Museo de Arte de Ponce. Our museum was built oriented to the sunrise, in the southern region of Puerto Rico and right in front of the Caribbean Sea. We can see the light of dawn entering the museum by the glass wall leading to the Granada Garden on the east. This continuous light comes through the windows and the seven skylights on the roof, which is supported by the diagonal walls for natural lighting and for improved acoustics; we see the sunlight through the west wall at sunset.
This idea of using skylights is common in museums. Take the case of the pyramidal skylight in the Museum of Louvre in Paris, designed by architect I. M. Pei to receive sunlight from the city of Paris, or the skylight and walls of the Metropolitan Museum of New York City, also designed by the same architect to let in the sunlight of this enigmatic city, or as so many museums in the world. The sun is as important for the Museo de Arte de Ponce as it is for most museums in the world that have some form of skylights, windows and glass doors.
To conclude, as a way of reflection I want to say that we are graceful beings because we are seeing and articulating the beginning of this new era and XXI century. For the past 16 years, we have had to confront and transform existing parameters at all levels of life for the benefit of future generations. As we know, the beginning of the new era is characterized by the collapse of some empires and the emergence of others. In particular, this era has been characterized as a period of global crisis. Therefore, we have a collective responsibility to lead our planet in a positive direction for the benefit of humanity and its environment.
Within this historical context I expressed my feelings as an arteologist. I hope my installation Memory of Nature: the Rhythm of Life, which refers to energy as the same in all parts of the world and stresses that this energy cannot be created or destroyed (but influences every moment of our lives), will be experienced as an art of reflection on the creative process, energy balance and energy vibration. And that the actions of individuals and groups will be like watching and listening to the interior light and the feeling of profound cosmic vibrations of our new era.