Viewing page 84 of 117

nology. This same perspective is what organizes Gramática Meseta (Meseta Grammar), 2010, a work that—through slides, 
[[topo-]]ographic prints, plans, and drawings—documents the displacement of antique monuments to make way for infrastructure projects, 
attesting to the vulnerability of place and all the traces that time has on it.

The idea that landscape can no longer be considered nature, but rather is a battlefield on which many social and political actors contend, 
most explicit of the narratives that the exhibition puts forth: It 
es constant reference to what human actions do to natural terrains. Política hidraúlica (Hydraulic Politics_, 2004-10, consists of ninety-
aerial photographs of swamps and reservoirs showing the damage
[[that]] infrastructure does to landscape. Mar del Pirineo (Pyrenean Sea), 
, materializes a flooded landscape as an upside-down topographic model. Both the descending and the ascending perspectives reach the
conclusion: Civilization is also a subtle, twisting form of barba-[[rism]]
with airs of progress; it is always ultimately the violent maker
ns. In terms of the relations between nature and culture, the influ-[[ence]]
of Robert Smithson's work is at least as strong as the influence of
rt Morris's sculptural "anti-form."

e final outcome of this constellation of narratives is the decon-
[[deconstruct-]]ion of landscape, which emerges as a social and cultural construct[[io]]n in the film Exercises on the North Side, 2004-2007, this sense is [[over]]whelming: The attempt to portray a dramatic, snow-covered [[moun]]tain setting through technology seems futile in the face of the 
ne power of nature, yet that very failure ends up obliquely pre-
g it to us.

—Martí Peran
Translated from Spanish by Jane Brodie.

o
nción Molinos Gordo
HOUSE

town Cairo is filled with decaying century-old early modern [[paintin]]gs, a testament to an era when the city aspired to be the Paris of [[the Tro]]pics, a desire shared by other municipalities from my own home-
Rio de Janeiro, to Panama City. Abandoned by the city's more
inhabitants, Cairo's once impressive belle epoque and Art Deco [[buildin]]gs are today in a state of disintegration—modern ruins in the 
periphery. Here, on the third floor of a building on Abdel Khalew
et Street not fat from the now world-famous Tahrir Square, right
one of the city's most important contemporary art spaces, the Contemporary Image Collective, was what seemed to be a satellite of Cairo's Agricultural Museum, itself an institution in shambles. On the metal plaque outside the apartment, one read what was in fact the title of the 2010 installation by Cairo-based Spanish artist Asunción Molinos Gordo: UNTITLED 3 WAM (WORLD AGRICULTURAL MUSEUM). The exhibition was the result of the artist's residency at Townhouse, an independent contemporary arts space nearby.

Inside, in six rooms, one found a fascinating display of objects in vitrines, pictures, maps, graphs, and texts painted on board, all addressing issues related to farming and biotechnology, the global food crisis and ecological disaster, and all in a style reminiscent of mid-century pedagogical signage—and in tune with the dilapidated official Agricultural Museum across town. Blending fact and fiction with humor and incisiveness, offering data to question, reveal, and create old and new myths, the satellite museum was a meticulously constructed as a sort of cabinet of curiosities by a team of local artisans, craftspeople, calligraphers, carpenters, and electricians directed by Molinos Gordo—and everything was presented with explanatory texts in Arabic and English. Here were charts that traced the crossing of a cow with a soybean, a butterfly with an apple, a rat with lettuce. On the floor, a painted board with a map indicated the number of suicides in India due to "indebtedness through use of Genetically Modified BT Cotton." In another room, handcrafted wooden fruit and vegetables from Haiti were on display, as were that country's infamous mud cookies. Many different species of patented seeds deposited in a library of glass jars were on view elsewhere, along with a telephone to "report suspicious behavior of Seeds Exchange." In the central hall, five doors had signs on them indicating some of the museum's departments: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, TRADE, HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT, LEGISLATIONS [sic]; on the floor, apparently without a room to house its office, was a sign for the neglected department of LABOUR. In a room at the back of the apartment was a diorama of Norway's Svalbard Global Seed Vault, popularly known as the Doomsday Seed Vault, housed on a remote Arctic island.

Leaving the flat, one found the very last room, tucked away behind a door just before the exit, filled with different types of plants in pots improvised out of canisters, under fluorescent lights, much like a laboratory for breeding the real things about which we were learning. In light of the revolutionary events that unexpectedly closed the exhibition for part of its run, the site-specificity of Untitled 3 (World Agricultural Museum) went beyond its location in downtown Cairo amid the ruins of a frustrated modern epoch; it also pointed to another anachronistic and decaying ancien régime. Perhaps the great changes the country is undergoing will turn out to be a harbinger for the real Agricultural Museum as well.
                                        —Adriano Pedrosa

[[image]][[/image]]
NEW DELHI
Zarina Hashmi
GALLERY ESPACE

What do you do when home is somewhere you will never be? You bemoan your exile with hilariously depressing fiction à la Salman Rushdie. You could fashion crystal-studded paintings of hybrid beasts (neither fish nor fowl, but always glittering) in the vein of British-Kashmiri Raqib Shaw. Or you could aim for subtlety, as New York-based Zarina Hashmi did in "Recent Works," her recent solo show of paper works and fragile installations. For all their pretty serenity—paper has been sliced and woven to resemble a cream-hued chatai (mat), or coated with black obsidian to imitate a shimmery night sky—Hashmi's works hover around memories of personal and communal loss. She maps the falling-  

Transcription Notes:
Words that were cut off have the omitted sections in brackets.

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.