Shanty: on the mimetic faculty II, 2017
presented by Galleria Umberto di Marino
The anti-aesthetic strategy of the shanty is the perversion of collage, a pragmatic logic in which the immediacy of function drastically subjugates form. The houses that are not made out of bricks are made out of cardboard boxes, advertisements, road signs, leftover industrial crates, car tires, tree branches, and plastic linings. The organic happening of the dwellings takes place in fragments, and although they are made out of previously disposed materials, nothing is really disposable since everything is transitory.
If distinctions in society were of true essence, the different social classes would be inclined to behave like different species. Lost in the wild predatory landscapes of contemporary society, the lower classes would need to explore survival strategies that could grant their endurance and self-preservation.
Masquerading presence, the act of cross-dressing as something else serves the purpose of constructing a sign of normalcy, some sort of faux integration with the surroundings. Most species camouflage themselves in order to avoid being identified as predators or as prey.
The homemade precariousness of a shanty dwelling could become the site for a vast array of innovations. It will not be long before we see shantytowns borrowing architectural forms and aesthetic criteria from the upper classes. Scavenging through the bone yards of modernist ideas, a global culture of shanties would emerge with the impetus of a postcolonial Avant-garde. Its leverage would be granted by the ever-growing abundance of garbage produced by those who live in material excess, something available anywhere in the globe.
Vega foresees that the materialist and environmental grace of this avant-garde of the slums would be predicated on the benign act of giving a second chance to abandoned readymades. Challenging their ontological status as debris by recycling them into housing, this creative act would sublimate their existence by granting them a new life into the all-inclusive realm of collage.
Shanty: on the mimetic faculty II is presented by Galleria Umberto di Marino (Naples, Italy).