Text for website of photographer, anthropologist and artists Domi Mora, www.domimora.com
What does anthropology mean today? At a time when communities disappear, an era of collective spirit, yet not forced to share, the anthropologist has to learn to see. But not to see like he was used to until now, the cristalized, the organic. It is rather the instance, the ephermeral ,what we know that will never happen again, or even, as suggested by Domi Mora, what is there, what passes unnoticed, what hides from consciousness, although not at this level of thinking that always seems alert, ready to see what the eyes wont see at first sight but at “second sight” and to really pay attention to things in the double meaning of observing them carefully as well as staying adhered.
The anthropologist of urban surroundings, of the unstable societies whose first characteristic would be defined as uncertainty, needs to develop a photographic view. Careful, I am not saying he has to apply photography to illustrate his ethnographic observations but his ethnographic observations have to caress the pattern the photographer lends to him, and not only the creative photographer but also the press photographer, the camera of the journalist, always “in search of news”. Domi, in this case, fulfills this double requirement. He is literally an artist since in his work there is speculation of quality, worries to play arround with shapes, to organize them in a way so they appear eloquent but guarded at the time. In fact, it is the artistic work that has to be eloquent even though we might only assume of what since it has the virtue to facilitate a connection to what, up to then, can not be told, is hardly imaginable to the unspoken, the unborn, or even, the unconscious. He could also be described as a journalist as he is always “right there” to capture what is happening in the very moment. In this case we wouldn´t call it an accident nor an event but rather it forms part of a hunt that takes place in a jungle, starting out all innocent. Those “notable facts”, that our ethnographic photographer out of the undescribable has captured, without any microscopic help, minimalistic, as part of a study of the fundamental, define Domi Mora as someone who practices minimalistic social science.
What kind of society is Domi talking about from which he offers us fertile testimony? Not exactly a human society but rather a society consisting of shadows, lines and silhouettes. A society- reflected in each photograph - which main characters don´t really exist, have slipped away, disbanded, hide waiting. Domi’s social photography is all about guessing, insinuating, playing hide and seek with us, peaking out from around the corners and in between multitudes or straight up from the asphalt ground. This photography doesn´t have the slightest interest in social structures or cultural institutions. The anthropology that he refers to is an anthropology with a double meaning, the misunderstood, with a double sense. Half of it is telling a lie and the other half the truth. Everything that the world only knows how to describe in terms of possibilities, a guideline of moments, waves, situations, confluences, collisions, fluctuations in which the scenario consists in space, or better, in its uneven surface.
This space, that Domi Mora approves, invites us to experience its structure of dissolutions, its geographic coldness, its fragile links and precarious emptiness, although connected indefinately and constantly interrupted at the same time by its similarities as well as its differences, by its hypersensitive fields of visibility, its slidings and stagings, its motionless choreopraphies. The photographer, the scene, the viewer as well, interact in an ocean of disquiet and complications. The foam reaches for the grids of the explicit, the understood, the pure. This expression isn´t one of really looking. Rather it erodes slowly. It dislocates the topography that it passes over, the topography that we don´t know anything about. What is portrayed is nothing but a pure camouflage, a zigzag, an accident on the spot, a spilled reality. Each photograph contains writing. Writing that is impossible to read, that has no meaning, no author. It escapes from any intent to read it. Each photograph is a story of numerous outlines, connected within each other, composing a multiple story again. What can hardly be noticed is this fragment gifted with life, a path, an alteration. A contrast in each presentation, each subject lasts from day to day, an indefinate other .
Out of this context it becomes clear that Domi Moras great virtue lies within his undivided attention to the surfaces. It is the surface that can surprise you about yourself, when you find yourself suddenly crawling like a worm, stumbling blindly or running around like crazy. It is the surface that allows us to become nomades, reaching out to suffer ambushly. The surface is the space we guard. Where we fight, we triumph as prisioners, where we conquer and lose our place.The space wherein exists our most stunning statements, yet worst failures, where we penetrate and are penetrated, where love exists....On the surface there are neither utopias, nor organic life. No sediments, no clots, no layers. On the surface there are only bodies and silhouettes. Only powerful energies circle around it and cross over it in all directions. What exactly is the surface in relation to dominion if not an extension, made of vibrations, gradients, break points, connections, correspondances, distributions, steps, conjugations, walks, strollings around? Henri Lefebvre gave it a good definition in his last paragraph of La production de l’espace social: “An orientation. No more, no less than that. What you name: a feeling. To know: an organ that perceives, a direction that is conceived, a movement that leads way to the horizon. Nothing that reminds of a system.” Definately, Domi Mora is a natural born mirauder.
Every photograph of Domi Mora practices microbiotic techniques, single, yet plural, a distraction that escapes any dicipline, clasification or hierarchial structuring. Every subject adjusts to the eye that is seeing it. Everyone of these strange landscapes- that I knew before, that I thought I knew before and now don´t recognize...- denies the presumed evidence of two things being exactly at the same place at the same time or of one thing beeing in two places at the same time. Space is defined by vectors, going in one direction, quantities of speed and the variable of time. But what happens if we take time away from space and leave it suspended in the open. What is left is no more than a structure of passages, movements and encounters. These cases demonstrate what we might have already known: space can only be understood by passing through it, swimming across it. Even if only visually.
Because of its preoccupation for rhythm, hence aprubt changes of rhythm, these photographs, based on space, are essentially musicals. They listen to themselves since they work by denying their estatic nature. They wander, they flow. The bodies seen flow like currents, avoiding obstacles and creating little islands.
Each one of them contains a secret intelligence, a thought without rule, a shape without structure, a little bit of vertigo, a postponement....This universe is made out of rifts, interstices, cracks...where the incalculable and the inconceivable lives. This world is hollow. It is the demon of shape, the evil dimension of space. It`s what denies us. It`s what founds us.
[Photo of work "Barcelona in Realitiy's Limits"]