claudia pages
Structures to talk (one and six) 2017. Engraved hand blown pirex glass.
Broma interna, romance & contagion. 2017. Single channel HD video, color and audio, 26’36”
In the last year, Claudia Pagès has developed a body of work focused on the analysis of language and the linguistic processes that define and condition its social use. Thus, writing and the spoken word have become the main tools of her work, two independent and complementary processes that also affect the performative roots characteristic of her artistic practice.

Publishing through different linguistic structures, Talk Trouble is intended to be a full-fledged exhibition, a scenic display by which she shows all the layers and detours of her research into speech. At first, her interest in linguistics points to both epistemology and biography: epistemology because she explores the roots of language, delving into its origins and its translations into other tongues; and biography because she incorporates direct experience, plays with everyday situations and challenges us with an intimate relationship with words.
Despite the temporal intensities called for by each of her approaches to language, here Pagès stresses the importance of an exhibition that can distribute contents falling into two basic categories throughout the Sala Gran of La Capella: those referring to the text (a book, a video and an audio piece) and those that become an object (drinking glasses, paving stones and a plastic false ceiling).

When we enter Talk Trouble, the first thing that strikes us is the false ceiling. It hangs too low, giving it a temporary, ephemeral and transitory character, transforming La Capella into a kind of fair stand, where the coldness of the light and the paving stones raised by modular methacrylate structures grant us an unexpected grammar. The ceiling falls and the ground rises. Rather than objects, the stones, the methacrylate and the plastic plates are linguistic utterances turned into things. And whilst we try to put names to them and recognise them, the texts seem to flee to the far side of the room.

In the back part of the entrance, we find a small published book entitled Rage, Home & Insults. In it, Pagès explores the linguistic tensions that arise from the imprecise use of non-maternal languages. In this case she focuses on English, with dialectical situations in which we do not fully control the meaning of what we say or hear. The book includes one long and slow story and another quick and immediate one that reads like a flipbook.

Next, the first chapel shows the video Bromas internas, Romance & Contagious, a live radio recording in which Pagès tells a story while continuously changing between first, second and third person. Through contagion, her narrative voice speaks as a group, a table, saliva and a person to affect certain alienating uses of language. Inside jokes, catch phrases, the Romance languages and the use of English as a vehicular language works here as contexts of exclusion.

In the second chapel, we find the audio piece Emissions, Fools & Bonding. Here, Pagès speaks as she analyses moments of alienation and uprooting caused by non-verbal communication systems. Some passages that appear in her narrative come from the book Mental Radio (1930) by Upton Sinclair, in which he tells his experiences of telepathy with his wife; the book The Praise of Folly (1511) by Erasmus of Rotterdam, where foolness is the driving force; and Neurolink, Elon Musk’s new company, devoted to designing brain implants that can merge biological and artificial intelligence. Three case studies that place language as a third transobject.

In brief, both the texts and the objects that make up Talk Trouble stress the improbability or difficulty of connecting with them immediately, smoothly and comfortably. We see a good example of this interference in the drinking glasses that accompany the book, video and audio piece as a narrative and objectual accessory. These are simply glasses with small engraving drawings. Everything is recognisable, but at the same time, we cannot help but suspect her presence in the room. And here, in this semantic instability, is where Claudia Pagès’ interest in language lies.

David Armengol, 2017


Rage, Home & Insults. 2017, publication 84 pages, 700 copies.
Structures to talk (from glass to bowl) 2017. Engraved hand blown pirex glass.
Emissions, fools & Bonding. 2017. Audio with video subtitles. 27’56’’
Structures as floor. Structures as ceiling. 2017. Montjuic stones, methacrylate, nails, PVC plastic, wood.
https://soundcloud.com/claudiapages/sets/emissions-fools-bonding
https://vimeo.com/256204172
Credits

Glasses made at Barcelona Glass Blowing with Ferran Collado.
Ceiling made with the architects Goig (Miquel Marine and Pol Esteve)
Audio music produced by Aleix Clavera.

Photo documentation: Ikram Bouloum and Pep Herrero.

Video documentation: Carles Pons and Gerard Ortin.

Performing: Aleix Clavera, Noela Covelo, Ameen Metawa and Claudia Pagès.


A production of Barcelona Producció 2017
Supported by Mondriaan Fonds.
"The waitress announced the last round, so we ordered, but they didn’t give us enough time to finish our drinks. They offered us a dessert that we wanted to eat but they wouldn’t give us the time to do so—to eat it. As they rudely cleaned the tables we rushed to empty our gin and tonics. I finished mine in one gulp, noisily banging the glass on the crystal table, and then I finished someone else's before they closed the door on our heels.

Twenty minutes later we were at home eating avocado on crackers. I don't remember how we made it home but I do remember that we opened all the cheeses and sliced them with one of those funny cheese knives that make the slices really thin. We had opened two kinds of crackers, one with sesame seeds and another that was a darker brown, and we were eating them with two avocados, cherry tomatoes, sliced cheese and olive oil. We were devouring them, our tipsy gazes slowly disappearing as our stomachs filled. I think she was complaining that nobody is critical in general, and specifically that nobody is critical about collaboration. She had just finished a one-week workshop about making and collaborating, and she was upset that nobody had brought up any problems during the workshop—she was disappointed that nobody had been meta-critical about what a collaborative workshop about collaboration could mean. I think those sorts of questions just get in the way: they either take up all the room, or they’re boring.
But it's true that meta-comments are a good way to start bloody conversations about what is right or wrong in endless tautology. The packages of crackers were almost empty and the criticality devolved into opinion: "Everybody is stupid."

I thought everything was going too fast, so I gave my opinion very slowly: "Not everybody thinks the same; things aren’t wrong or right." And then I started to repeat the phrase that I always repeat to myself when I'm in situations like this: “Life is so fucking long.” Life is too long to react quickly, to burn out situations and then disappear, because there’s always the chance you might stumble on someone again someday, and then be even more annoying.


I couldn’t articulate my opinion properly; I was too slow. I thought five crackers with avocado would have cured my drunkenness, but my brain, working so slowly, had me doubting their effect. I said as much—something about not being fast enough and letting judgments about being right or wrong disappear. But I was drunk and my hippy answer didn't have the result I expected. Her answer was faster than I expected: “I don’t care about your opinion.”

Brutal.

The house became a battlefield for individual words. She stood up from the wooden table and moved behind her chair. She rested her body on the chair and from that position started to yell, claiming that I was ignorant of her career, ignorant of the field and ignorant about her statements. She claimed a few other little things of some sort of engagement. It was an awful collaboration—not a questioning meta-cooperation but a bad combination of disconnected onomatopoeias. Nobody would have been able to arrange the sounds to make a good sentence. Everyone was stupid, and with no way back, I was finishing the night in the category of everyone. In the middle of her yelling I pointed out that I was just trying to be critical about the lack of criticality and the excess of opinion, but this resulted in more insults. The yelling increased and she changed her position, moving from behind the chair to the middle of the kitchen. I had to move my own chair to keep sight of the scene and have good vision.
She told me I was the one who was giving fast opinions by saying too quickly that she was giving fast opinions. I was holding a mug of "Good Night" tea, which was not working properly, and my face was crooked. She continued to stand in the kitchen with aggression in her eyes. I said the situation was getting too crazy, but this caused yet another problem. She asked who the hell I was to call her "crazy." I never called her "crazy," but now I was trapped in the pleasure of the conflict. There are some people who get addicted to the excitement of conflicts. I called the situation "crazy" one more time and the door slammed behind me. There had been so many insults crawling under my tongue and they stayed with me now that I was alone in the room. It was 6 a.m. and I couldn't understand what the hell had just happened, or why my tea was not working properly now when I needed to sleep.

The insults under my tongue were pronounced internally in English. I have to admit, it's a relief that, when we argue, we always do it in English. Speaking other languages, and English not being our mother tongue, led us to make combinations depending on topic and temperament.. In the morning, with coffee, we will communicate the day’s program in Spanish. English for work. English for love. Spanish for family."

(...)
"Estamos en las terrazas como de costumbre y juntamos unas cuantas mesas y así cabemos todos. Y como más y más gente va viniendo, pues vamos juntando más y más mesas de esas cuadradas. Y al final empezamos como casi ya a empujar a la gente que está en las mesas para que se vayan y poder tomar sus mesas y juntarlas con las nuestras y tener más y más gente, hasta que tomamos toda la terraza y es solo para nosotras. Y a nosotras nos encanta hacer esto, ¿no? Juntarlas y expandirnos, y aunque vemos que a los camareros no les hace gracia, ¿no? Pero a la vez también piensas que para eso diseñaron esas mesas que parecen que sean tan pesadas, de metal, pero luego son súper ligeras y súper fáciles de mover y desplazar por toda la terraza.

Ehem.

Pido la cerveza más barata y todo el mundo pide lo mismo, menos alguna gente que quiere empezar más fuerte. Y con la cerveza nos ponen estos platitos con mix de frutos secos que tienen kikos y garbanzos secos y cacahuetes. Y están muy bien esos platitos y estos frutos secos, porque entonces si estás en una conversación y alguna frase es más aburrida, pues puedes dedicarte a coger los kikos y los cacahuetes y separar los garbanzos secos–porque a nadie le gustan esos garbanzos secos. Pero claro, si te das cuentas que estas tocándolo todo en el platito, casi mejor coger un puñado y ponértelo en la palma de la mano y separarlo en la palma de tu mano y así no se toca todo–no se tocan todos los frutos secos.

Somos como once esta noche...

Y de repente alguien abre una grieta en una lata.
Yo abro una pequeña grieta en una lata que hay en la mesa.
Gotea despacio. Se vacía.
Mancho la mesa y la ropa y me evaporo.

Después de mis movimientos grito, “Ámonos!”
Todos gritamos, “Ámonos!”
Creo como un triángulo con mis dedos, y todos creamos un triángulo con nuestros pulgares y nuestros índices y nos los llevamos delante de la frente y gritamos otra vez.

Pero ella,
ella, ella, ella,
ella nunca lo hace,
o nunca quiere hacerlo.
Y yo pienso, todos pensamos,
si no quiere hacerlo, es que es una extraña,
a nosotros se nos vuelve una extraña
y es ella quien se daña.
Se quema con rabia, furia, ira, como escupir
y pienso, si quieres quemarte, quema sola.
Pienso eso
y sola, sola se quema.
Porque los que no queman pero tampoco se apagan,
son peores que los que queman porque entonces, son brote
y en cualquier momento pueden empezar a quemar.

De repente, alguien escupe en un vaso.
Yo escupo en un vaso que hay en la mesa.
Entra dentro del vaso. Mi escupitajo está en el vaso.
Me diluyo entre el líquido y ya no se me ve.

Después de mis movimientos digo, “Ella! Ea!”
Todos decimos, “Ella! Ea!”
Y hago así como un triángulo con mis dedos, y todos creamos un triángulo con nuestros pulgares y nuestros índices y nos los llevamos delante de la frente y gritamos otra vez.

Pero ella,
ella, ella, ella,
ella nunca lo hace,
o nunca quiere hacerlo.
Y yo pienso, todos pensamos,
si no quiere hacerlo, es que es una extraña,
a nosotros se nos vuelve una extraña
y es ella quien se daña.
Se quema con rabia, furia, ira, como escupir
y pienso, si quieres quemarte, quema sola.
Pienso eso
y sola, sola se quema.
Porque los que no queman pero tampoco se apagan,
son peores que los que queman porque entonces, son brote
y en cualquier momento pueden empezar a quemar.

De repente, alguien echa el aliento en la cara de otro.
Yo echo el aliento en la cara de mi amigo sentado a mi lado.
Abre la boca y entra. Mi aliento está en la boca.
Me inspiran y me expiran fuera hacia el aire."
(...)




"When someone leaves the house,
slamming the door,
from the blow
the door gets jammed
and when another tries to open it
from within,
she has to make such an effort
that the body is pushed backwards,
by its own energy.

By the blow.

And by the time the door is opened,
the other has gone
long ago.

Not knowing in which direction,
it’s better to close
the door again.
Stay in the room.
Lie down on the couch.
Close the eyes.
Concentrate.
Relax the body.

And through the white noise of the street,
one can create a way
to travel out

remaining lying down."
(...)