Black Blocs

Black Blocs is a project about iconoclasm.

Wars against images are cyclically waged in art, politics, and religion. They are always predicated on a paradox: that of the return to a tabula rasa intended as a fresh departure. In celebrating a supposed original blankness, iconoclasm is a form of nostalgia, perhaps the only honest form of nostalgia we can imagine. In fact, if nostalgia is the ache to return, it should be evident that you can never go home again, since man is by nature a rootless creature with no specific habitat. As return is impossible, nostalgia pushes us further afield instead of drawing us back.

Iconoclasm has arisen as the response to different conflicts, but our reason to be interested in iconoclasm today has to do with the intention to rethink form. Form and image are not the same thing, for form is not only a visual thing. Indeed images consume form, they slowly erode its depth and feel and movement.

Black Blocs are a series of black models. Any three-dimensional object always resists a full translation into image as there will always be something that remains hidden; a black object is even harder to capture as photos rely on a balance of light and shadow. The black models embody architectural spaces that (almost) cannot be reproduced: making a book about these models will mean to test the limit between image and form.

In times of iconoclasm, words have to absorb all the social duties of images. Indeed, perhaps man discovered in the rhythm of chanting and poetry, before than in painting and sculpture. As Vladimir Propp has evidenced, folk tales are always based on formal archetypes that repeat over and over, always the same, yet always different. Each black bloc is conceived as the response to a tale without place and time. When the image of the past is removed, nostalgia becomes nothing but the recognition that what lies ahead is still unchartered.

CAMPO invited us to make a project on FORM and NOSTALGIA and Black Blocs is our response.


* The spelling is an intended reference to anarchist black blocs.