Because life isn’t soda

A dish containing the tiniest chocolate cake covered in a zigzagging raspberry fondant. The dish rests on a pink-tinted white tablecloth and is flanked by silver cutlery. On the right corner, there’s a transparent tumbler, made of crystal, filled with a translucent violet liquid. Next to it, to the left, a cup holding a yellow liquid, just as translucent, and a dish with the tiniest chicken garnished with little spots of sauce around.

Frame from PROTECCION WORLD by Proteccion

At the center of the table, some pink roses. I almost forget, each container has another glass next to it, empty or filled with water. There are curtains in the room, bows, satin dresses, sequins and an ashtray posing on the pink-tinted white tablecloth. On some of the dishes left, there seem to be only edible flowers, although that is not the case that brings them together. The guests. The exit is not known (it seems to be a matter of scandal), nor is there a door to enter.

Now a hand holding bills or a bill holding a hand opens up like a flower’s petals. A hand wearing a very heavy ring, or a very heavy ring carrying a hand, picks up the bills and our protagonists step through the graffitied tin door, followed by an awful white light, a blinding flash. Three girls in miniskirts and tight shirts with guns shooting a light that oscillates between blue and green stand like the Holy Trinity or Charly’s Angels on a podium, moving their souls, looking for someone to target. Their stiff gel-covered hair smells damp. Counter-Strike.

Frame from [CCC08]Ciber- Cafe Compannion+ by proteccion

Sometimes there are plotters left from fantastic/museal/dirty moments of internet café culture downtown. It smells of shit. That’s what it is, and it was many years ago, when those places were populated by crazy people that had moved upstairs just to stay really close. “From work back home and from home back to work”, said Perón. Well, these people said from home to the cyber-café and from the cyber-café back home. Traumatized by physical education in high-school, I can’t stand gymnastics or sport. It’s all about getting lost in the impulse — fleeting excitement wearing boots–. Mortal Kombat. “I do it out of interest, not vice” (Evanescence) can be heard, although it is well known they are a bunch of filthy-ass addicts. The images are sterilized memories. The Internet came out of the basement. I am God in my basement! They shout. Even though the stuff grows and has become the infinite light reflecting on our faces from our cell phones, windows, even watches or the TV screen, and, always, the computer. A Windows XP reproducing bag. Tamagotchi. Linkin Park. Dragon Ball Goku SSJ 1000. Saiyajin 100. Trimming your eyelashes.

Here, we are far from the pink tablecloth and the abovementioned girls in skirts. On the streets there are hierarchies, lowest of all are those who sleep outside, then come the pedestrians, then the cyclists, then car drivers. Riding cars is fun, particularly if it is your own, not an Uber or a cab. If it’s yours, a friend’s or a friend of a friend’s. The passenger’s seat is the most dangerous one, because if anything comes up, the driver will always swerve, in countries that drive on the left, to the right. Let it be clear, it’s not a question of malice, it’s a simple reflex. We all dare to go on that adventure, though, because it has the best view, watching life go by from the passenger’s seat is fun. It won’t take long for everything to go hyper, a watch showing a holo-map, hyper, a map-gopro, a mini Sauron, the absolute eye. (1) La Prensa (2) Rivadavia and Perú and (3) The Palacio Barolo. The Río de la Plata gothic! I see a gargoyle, a cross there. I see it all at once. It’s the absolute eye, the x-ray eye.

Frame from SSS Esquina PUnK_ by proteccion

Banchero is on Talcahuano and Corrientes, not far from Carrefour Market. The logos of Buenos Aires. There’s a screen displaying the fluctuation of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin. There’s something repetitive about NFTs that is constantly acknowledged. There are advertisements on the streets/on the crypto-route. The mutations I am interested in are microscopic, molecular, in a certain sense existential, while remaining collective or, better yet, “neotribal”. Dragons, turbines, Gundam. Shapes that are beyond madness, reaching a disturbed glamor. A spiked ball. An hypothesis: a portraitist moves around, from one country to the next, only if the experience of the places as such draws his interest. The place, that configuration of aspects, some of which are constant from one point to another in the world, while others are never the same. Which in turn implies randomness, though hidden, that very randomness expresses our condition, a fact without any need for justification, an absolute, an irreality. Ultimately, an enigma. In every country, of course, there are beings for whom everything comes together, out of experience or habit, everything has a meaning, everything helps to lose sight beneath the colors or shapes of signs in that randomness, the filigree of that angst.

Frame from AE 450 GX by proteccion

A taxi driver once told me that Puerto Madero will soon sink, and that all those undoubtedly heavy towers were built during Menem’s presidency, when there were no regulations, that everything was about to go to shit. Capital. A flying race. The theory of relativity destroyed the idea of consistent objects: things are identical to themselves and constantly present until the very end. Suddenly, there was much more at stake (1) brands / companies that didn’t use to exist, (2) the Panama Papers. The city as an atomic bomb. Burying the world in nothingness… just to prove it.

Lucía Nielsen

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