Ruben Verdu: contemporary artist. Barcelona, Spain


Sometimes one seems to prepare the unconscious just to cope with certain environmental actions. I mean actions in the most theatrical sense, with a clear intent of being acts that back-ground a semiotic passion, interactive in very perverse ways, and in a play that signals the complicity of every element with that which flows, ultimately, from the very presence of the living thing. Sometimes one has to just take action.
One has sometimes also to belong succinctly to a fictional genre, subject to a constant state of excess, doubled, and repeated by the reflection of an imaginary real that succeeds in showing things go into further enhancement.
From the folds of this imaginary, we witness the outcome of an autistic field purely dedicated to deploy its copies and to undertake again, disciplined, every one of its traditions, every one of its laws, every one of its rules.

Taking Sides - General view of presentation

Taking Sides - Poster with Pseudo-Antropological text on Taraumara's Futbol


After the last outlines of town disappeared behind the turns of the dirt road outside Creel, I found at last a place that dealt in unison with things, and the heat of summer. On that day, Benito was drunk. I didn't know his name then, but compelled by the unanimous impositions of the scene, he felt eager to tell me something about him that went, of course, beyond himself. I asked him about the drink. He mumbled that I could join him in trying to finish whatever booze had been left over from the game.
—The game...what game?
To think of soccer, there, was not easy. Every step was either a climb or a descend. After taking a look at his feet, barely protected by the shadow of sandals, I added with an air of intrigue...
—you guys kick ball here?
He went drunk on me again, said nothing, and started stumbling towards the thick of the woods. I followed him. He did not get very far, however, and reached for the ground where he found something he knew he could find there. He showed me what he was already holding in one of his hands; six inches of solid wood, carved kind of round, that accompanied the length of his reply.
—We kick ball.
It was clear from his comfortable explanations that for me there will be no recourse to imagination in trying to keep up with his account, and that, from now on, I was going to be at the mercy of his story. He began to explain how to ferment corn sprouts for the beer because intoxication was so much part of the game, because endurance had to be challenged, had to be raised to another level.
—Everyone has to drink.
Competition prevails if all participants submit to this tabula rasa, and they do. Everyone, whole families, are committed to further extend the contagious effects of this rule.
—...and then, he said, we kick ball.
From what he told me, this is futból. Two teams of men from different communities take turns at kicking the ball. The drinking continues wherever they go, and with it the simplicity of futból. The need for simplicity underscores the, otherwise, gigantic dimensions of the game. Potentially, the field of the game can encompass the entire world. They move about with no clear demarcations, following the ball everywhere it lands, further and further from where they originally started. This drifting has no competitive value of its own, but in combination with drinking, one can begin to understand the obvious challenge, and the necessity for an uncomplicated set of rules.
At the end of the game, there is no more will to kick the ball. Everyone has fallen victim of exhaustion. By then, two or three days have already been spent playing. A few, bored and older, are busy talking and finishing whatever has been left to drink.

Taking Sides - Model for a Park

«Con Taking Sides el artista propone una inversión de las prácticas tradicionales de la antropología. Un encuentro con los Taraumara de la Sierra Madre, en el norte de México, se convierte en un momento típico de confusión y de perdida de referentes culturales. Hay pocas similitudes entre el fútbol jugado por los Taraumara y el fútbol que se juega en España, excepto la hábil adaptación del anglicismo derivado de la palabra football. Siguiendo las impresiones extraídas de dicho encuentro, el artista insiste en la continuación del modelo de mestizaje que ya se intuye al principio de la narración del episodio y acaba proponiendo, para un area urbana, el diseño de una zona de actividades lúdicas.
La intención es presentar al visitante de la muestra un ejemplo típico de estudio antropológico, invitarlo a una lectura corta donde se narra el encuentro con los Taraumara y cual es su manera de jugar al fútbol. Ficción y realismo documental han perdido aquí todas sus sutiles diferencias evidenciando así que nada es definitivo en la práctica de las disciplinas sociales.
Para el artista, el contagio del fútbol Taraumara nos emplaza a reconocer como funcionan algunos mecanismos de racionalización cuando son aplicados sobre un territorio. El interés final se centra en provocar una serie de preguntas relacionadas. ¿Qué síntoma social actúa en una racionalización tan exhaustiva del territorio? O viceversa, ¿qué comportamiento humano resiste este régimen de control?»