Lorenzo Sandoval at Centro Párraga / Murcia, Spain

Lorenzo Sandoval / Shadow Writing

12 November 2020 – 3 January 2021

text by Emanuele Guidi

Centro Párraga

C. Madre Elisea Oliver Molina s/n
30002. Murcia.

Yet how to begin?
How to show
The living together of men
That it may be understood
And become a world that can be mastered?
How to reveal not only yourselves and others
Floundering in the net
But also make clear how the net of fate
Is knotted and cast,
Cast and knotted by men?

Bertold Brecht,
An address to Danish worker actors on the art of observation,
translated by John Berger and Anya Rostock

Shadow Writing is the overarching title of the research project by Lorenzo Sandoval that deals with the seductive, retinal and viscous dimensions of the screen-based, image-driven condition permeating every aspect of our extreme present. It ambitiously breaks through this surface to delve into the textures and patterns of the deep-time relationship between human beings, nature, episteme, and techne. 

The title Shadow Writing emerges from the technique of sciagraphy (from the Greek skiagraphia, skia- ‘shadow’, -graphia ‘writing’ ) at the basis of the studies by Henry Fox Talbot that brought him to develop in 1853 the first photographic negatives to fix an image on paper. For the first tests Talbot employed pieces of laceworks making out of them, potentially, a document. 
Hence, if the title reveals the artist’s intention to trace back possible origins of the reproduction processes from which images circulation, as we know it, sparked; likewise, it carries along a critique to the act of writing itself as ‘shadowy’ technology of power within the unbalanced process of constructing History. 

It is by following this twofold plan that Lorenzo Sandoval draws his plot lines as an inventive genealogist who never hides his hands. In these terms, a complex pattern of figures is inserted as load-bearing knots within the infra-structure of ‘progress’ so far arrogated by a western (masculine) narrative. Among them; Ada Lovelace (and her role in history of algorithm and programming), Anna Atkins (who printed the actual first photographic book in 1843), Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizm (who invented Algebra in IX Century and the term Algorithm derives from his name), Pyotr Kropotkin (anarcho-communist, philosopher and biologist whose work was at the intersection of proletarian, slave and women emancipation), Felipe Huaman Poma (author of The First New Chronicle and Good Government, both an historical account of the Andes civilization and a denounce against Spanish colonial power).

Furthermore, the research let emerge how the development of computation and computing engines, as well as the ‘industrialization’ of photographic reproduction are tied together with the advancement of textile and weaving technologies – spanning from the Incas Quipus, Arab architecture to the Jacquard loom machines – so as to propose parallel and divergent genealogies of mathematics, science and technology. 

Started in 2017 and still ongoing, Shadow writing unfolds through about ten chapters that are not understood as concluded but ‘in-motion’ narratives; building upon, responding and complementing each other; inclined to be reconfigured and written further through possible new associations and media assemblages.

The exhibition at the Centro Párraga is, so far, the most complete attempt to bring these various parts together in one of the many possible configurations, selecting and combining parts or whole chapters to offer one – hopefully many more – possible reading and path through Lorenzo Sandoval’s multi-layered research.