Untitled (Meteorite) 

2012

 

 

Projection and clippings of newspaper sheet edges
Variable dimensions

 

 

The project is based on investigations of two similar events that occurred in Sinaloa, one in 1863 and another in 2012: the discovery and impact of a meteorite. The first is the fifth largest metallic object in the world; the second hasn’t been found.

 

The goal is to create a set of elements that trigger a conversation about an improbable phenomenon, allow us to daydream about the origin of these objects, and can be illustrated through imaginary reconstruction as ultimately occurs at the end of its journey in the Sinaloa mountains, currently an impossible region to explore, an area on the verge of existing only in the popular imaginary.

 

The piece consists of newspaper clippings and a projection that seeks to recreate the Bacubirito meteorite (discovered in 1863), building a space in which mass media, scientific research, and art converge. Their convergence, in turn, produces a complexity comprising the excesses, manipulation, accumulation, and dramatization of our immediate reality. 

 

 

 

 

 

I. History, Science, and Spectacle

In 1863, the geologist Gilbert Ellis Bailey discovered a meteorite called the Bacubirito in the town of El Ranchito, near Sinaloa de Leyva, in Sinaloa, Mexico. Considered the second largest meteorite in the Americas and the fifth largest in the world, it has been on exhibit since 1992 in the Centro de Ciencias de Sinaloa (Sinaloa Science Center). Its appear- ance in Mexico was recalled with the fall of another meteorite, in the same area, in 2012. “The occurrence was observed by dozens of people from the municipalities of Culiacán, Novolato, Mocorito, and Sinaloa [...],” Juan Carlos Cruz and Ararak Salomón reported at 9:11 p.m. on January 4, 2012, for noroeste.com, El Portal de Sinaloa. On January 6, Excélsior published an article stating that “residents of the municipalities of Salvador Alvarado and Mocorito reported having witnessed a ball of fire falling from the sky, which broke into three parts and disappeared on impact with the earth.” At 5:47:22, the La Crónica website announced: “liaisons with nasa confirmed that at 18:50 hours on Wednesday, they observed a celestial body entering our atmosphere; they subsequently lost contact with it at 25 degrees north and 1207.9 degrees longitude, between the Salvador Alvarado area and the municipality of Sinaloa.” On January 5, El Economista disclosed that “Ismael Checa Landeros, Civil Protection official in Sinaloa, reported that the Sistema Nacional de Protección Civil (National Civil Protection System) and nasa liaisons have confirmed that the trail of light witnessed by hundreds of Sinaloans as it fell was indeed a meteorite.” Cruz and Ararak quote Ismael Checa Landeros, director of Sinaloa’s Civil Protection force, for noroeste. com: “The fall of the meteorite was not expected, it was unforeseen, but after we received reports from various municipalities about having sighted the fall of a blazing object, the National Civil Protection System and nasa confirmed that the object was a meteorite that had fallen in Sinaloa.” A resident of the Gusave community recounted for Excélsior: “I saw a bright light; it was like a ball and moved like a trail of light; it was coming very low, very strong.” La Crónica announced: “BALL OF FIRE. This Wednesday, around 18:10 hours, the 066 emergency service received a call reporting ‘a plane crash in the El Tamarindo syndicate.’ The person who called stated that the aircraft had made impact and burst into flames.” At 13:38 pm, on the front page of El Economista, Marcial Álvarez, director of municipal Civil Protection in Sinaloa, declared, “The experts’ concern in this sense, he said, is that when a meteorite falls, it does so completely, and in this case it broke into pieces, which could have caused pollution problems due to the gases released.” El Portal de Sinaloa (noroeste.com) informed: “Civil Protection in the municipality of Sinaloa confirmed that inhabitants of the San José de Gracia syndicate had reported the fall of a burning object in the vicinity of the Cerro Prieto community, near the Chihuahua border.” On January 6, Excélsior also released the following news: “The researcher [Kokina Yorova Tatiana Nikolaevna, Astronomy coordinator at the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa (uas, or the Autonomous University of Sinaloa)] commented that the object could be a meteorite or space debris [...].” Another point in the article published by La Crónica remarked: “The official indicated that it is not large in size. The authorities, along with the space agency, are currently searching for the remnants.” Marcial Álvarez, director of Sinaloa’s municipal Civil Protection force, said that they were notified by the Centro Nacional de Investigación (National Research Center), which is responsible for such occurrences, and which stated that satellite information reveals that the meteorite fell in the El Palmar de los Leal community,” reported the front page of El Economista, along with an informational hotline.

 

 

II. Inversions of Time and Space

Untitled (Meteorite) is an installation that consists of newspaper cuttings collected by Fritzia Irizar, all reporting the fall of a meteorite in Sinaloa in January 2012 - 149 years after the Bacubirito meteorite was discovered in the same area. She used the edges of the newspapers to create geometric patterns on the walls; and projected an image of the nineteenthcentury meteorite into the middle. Two historic, scientific, and media events full of interpretations, specula- tions, and political manipulations; the reoccurrence of an already legendary phenomenon within the framework of postmodernism, in which the deconstruction of tradition (narrative and descriptive) makes for inevitable criticism of the informational sources relating immediate events; the repetition of chance occurrences and the media’s related persistence as a representation of the illegible, of language as rhetoric, replete with substitutions and metaphors. The more something is talked about, the more opaque its possible meanings become; information becomes unstable. The op arttype installation functions as a timeless territory in which disappointment and fantasy are problematized in order to examine the vulnerability of agents like science, ethics, technology, language, and epistemologies in general; that is, the collection, publication, distribution, and exchange of knowledge and its truthfulness. This territory of negotiations proposed by the artist (of non-reality, of non-fiction, of non-journalistic work, of non-photography, of non-archives) displays a discursive model: erased texts accompanied by an image, some shadows of others, the accumulation of which indicates the sentimentalities produced around extraordinary events, around what is extracted from everyday life. The interpretation of and communication on the fall of two meteorites in the same geographical area requires a kind of synchronicity only possible in literature, where the desire for meaning substitutes the ethical/political and the scientific with the aesthetic. But the artist does not place objects in the world as if they were a display; they are games of edition and assembly, a wink at the ways in which we interact or not in and with the world: in the search for a possible identity, in power games, with time and death, in the face of the logic of constructing a nearly inaccessible territory (in this case, Mexico), in the face of our capacity for wonder, etc. Access to this open magic box, Fritzia Irizar’s optical installation, serves to question the place from which we, as potential actors/spectators, participate and observe; the place from which we question our own existence, admitting the vulnerability of our presence when confronted by momentous events. To bear witness, to conduct forensic work with the evidence manifested and the knowledge potentially there, raw and susceptible to nullification by powers beyond those of the individual (read: the State); to have the capacity to present circumstances and point out the traces left by every event together with its interpretations and manipulations; to invert time and space in which the repetition of confusions is made evident. Untitled (Meteorite), imbued with the deep desire to find living participants, presents all of this. 

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