You’re not a hierarchy, are you? Plus radicalizing pick up soccer. Daniel Lara To the Lighthouse

“I appreciate now that you let the drawing by Andy Robert in the show. I mean I noticed it at the time as an act that speaks, but I’m thinking more and more of this show as a process, as fluid rather than fixed. I like it.”

Daniel Lara came in to JB Jurve early today to talk about his Non Talk event. When we’re lucky, conversations stray.

“Oh. This is not what we expect from Daniel. Where are his paintings?” This from a mutual friend who arrived before the opening to beat the crowd, and “How did you know what he would do?” There was a bit of chiding in the tone of these words, and my friend’s face betrayed her consternation as she looked at the unfamiliar, mechanical chess set.

“Well, we talked about ideas. Daniel does videos that show people in exaggerated dependence on mobile gadgets and apps, I am interested in them and so we began there, with systems of support and with the invisible language of code that underlays every one of our encounters.”

“Soon Daniel was telling me about a soccer ball project that grew from his love of pick up games. He and his wife travel a lot, and when they do, Daniel inevitably seeks out a soccer game on the street and in parks.”

Daniel collects these balls, he exchanges them for newer balls with the promise to re-exchange in the case of failure. A loose network, a community even, is created.

The balls used in these games are well-worn, lovely really, and show the history of playing and give evidence of the intuitive collaboration of experience for individuals who, as members of a larger group emerge from that group as teams, momentary mates who, after one match rejoin the mass – be it based on neighborhood or employment or chance – to rise once more, altered by the circumstance of adjacency, to play again. The competition that is present is, at its best, as much about keeping the games going as it is about winning. Winning is necessary, and so is playing. (Speaking briefly of competition, there is a loose way of organizing people that allows the more skilled to exhibit their flair while offering to the clumsy but dogged players a rousing and heartfelt cheer on the occasion of a good hit or pass. Although excellence might be judged absolutely, respect is measured on a curve of integrity.)

As it happens, Daniel Lara made an anti-heirarchical chess set for “To the Lighthouse,” a set that makes a drawing as one plays the game. A nervous and repetitive pen skates across buff paper and where it rests it makes dots. A final piece in this puzzle is Jorge Luis Borges’ story “The Writing of the God” which is coded into the processor that connects one’s movement of the chess pieces to the act of drawing. A process indeed.

“For me the making is paramount, and putting something out as an experiment, to see how it works, how people react and work with its idea. Then I can learn. These artworks are part of a language of inquiry – I make a proposal, an artwork, and the intellectual critique, as well as what I’ll call the physical critique (how it functions as an object, how bodies move around and play in its space) informs the ongoing process of making, creating. (dependence, support)”

To the Lighthouse and the Artist Non Talks behave similarly – as open proposals, investigations to which there is an implied invitation to the dance.

“You didn’t know what I would bring to the exhibition, yet you trusted my ideas, and me. My Non Talk may be a surprise too, it will certainly involve a pick up soccer game and will be activated by a piñata, at least metaphorically. Somehow on Thursday, June 7 the people who come will… collaborate in play, they will give up a little individual control and gain the insight that comes of interaction.”


  1. Duality y el tiempo: Regina José Galindo at MOLAA; Daniel Lara, Camilo Cruz, Ahree Lee, Dino Dinco, Donnie Molls, Linda Vallejo and others in “Random Acts of Time”; Ethan Turpin’s stereoscopes; Monster Drawing Rally this Sunday/este Dom - [...] a pawn, are you? at JB Jurve on view until June 19th.  (Read Geoff Tuck’s post about Lara here.)…
  2. Piñata Picante | AguiLara - [...] …and there will be many more.  (Check out this nice write up about Daniel by Geoff Tuck on Notes…

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