Industrial Designer and Photographer José Antonio Martínez / Patricia Conde Galeria is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the project ‘XXI century archeology’. To see José’s body of work, click on any image.
OUR RUINS OF MODERNITY
“Twenty-first Century Archaeology” by José Antonio Martínez
Written by Marina Azahua
Nostalgia for artefacts from the past is proof of the emotional relationship that we establish with technology. However, between the moment in which a technological object is valued in the present, and its nostalgic rescue in the future, there lies a wasteland of indifference locked onto obsolescence. Capitalism, hand in hand with modernity, has been marked by the production of objects that offer themselves to us as indispensable. Meanwhile, in parallel to this process, the system makes the planning of obsolescence necessary.
We live surrounded by objects that are made to dazzle us yet die quickly. The perceived speed of death has changed under the structures of late capitalism: the faster the objects around us die, the slower we ourselves die. Or lives are marked by short-term luxury through high-end technology designed to be quickly transformed into garbage.
Twenty-first Century Archaeology explores precisely these paradigms. Digging up a past that is not that far from us, José Antonio Martínez rescues and resignifies objects that only a few decades ago meant a lot within our daily and emotional lives. A favorite song heard on an iPod, a conversation registered on a tape recorder, a loving interaction saved on a CPU after having existed in the instant messaging platform ICQ, an un repeatable Polaroid photograph. The current uselessness of the objects portrayed confronts us with the potential uselessness of the objects that now seem so valuable to us. This leads to a crisis of the idea of value itself.
Each one of the photographs in this series works as an element within a potential time capsule sent off to space or buried beneath the ruins of modernity. As a collection, the series seems to holler: this is what we were, what we have chosen not to be any more. We are faced by a ritual burial that might in the future be discovered by an archaeologist of days to come. In this way, the series functions as witness and critique at once. It declares a certain admiration for the forms of progress while questioning it was well. How many experiences can be lodged within the entrails of the objects we interact with every day? In times when much of our emotional lives take place through technological apparatuses, it bears asking whether these transform our way of being in the world. And when the seductive objects of our desire actually perish—as they will, inevitably, will our ways of experiencing the world die alongside them?
All images © José Antonio Martínez
By José Antonio Martínez
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