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Cul-de-sac - Sonia Fernández Pan

Cul-de-sac is a French expression which, although its literal meaning refers to a specific physical location thanks to the promiscuity of language, the meaning extends to those situations that are impossible –or almost impossible- to solve, and to those issues that produce a conflict that turns into an absurd circumstance in which someone ends up fighting just because they are fighting something that doesn’t give in so easily. Cul-de-sac, translated into Spanish as “callejón sin salida” or dead-end street, implies a deadlock, a tessitura into which one has entered but from which one cannot depart triumphantly. One normally finds oneself in a deadlock without exactly knowing how one got there, as part of a situation in which one entered voluntarily. In contrast, when proposing the idea of “cul-de-sac” for a series of gifs, this exercise functions in the opposite way: it is intentionally devised as a deadlock: a problem is posed without anyone seeking to find a solution.


Cul-de-sac is an expression and, without leaving the context of language, we find that rhetoric has granted us the pastime of a storyline based on sterile insistence: tautology, which implies an affirmation towards where the things exhibited are explained because of redundancy, repetition and synonymy. Tautology becomes an explanation that is unable to explain anything, a deadlock where the meaning rebounds against itself. Therefore the logical reason of philosophy has found a term to describe the reasoning that cannot be solved since it contains contradictions or unsolvable paradoxes and which, as such, are relegated to the field of speculation faced with the impossibility of becoming a practical application on something that they aimed to, or apparently had the duty to, solve. Thus the aporia becomes an unsolved problem but where a simple subject lies there waiting permanently to be solved. As a deadlock open to the future the aporia constantly allows new people to become involved –like unwilling accomplices- for a suspended conclusion that is extended over time and space.


By translating the idea of cul-de-sac into a gif, the first thing that arises –with all the seriousness of irony and complexity of all the elemental nature- is the impression that the structure of a loop in a gif functions like a cul-de-sac in which, by joining the beginning and end, there is no possible escape route. Yet beyond this rudimentary denouncement based on the structural feature of a gif, the following series presents various situations “which allow no escape”. Each of the four works builds an autonomous cul-de-sac where the semantic evidence of some contrasts with the cryptic meaning of others. The cul-de-sac is presented here as a polysemic visual phenomenon into which fits the constant rewriting on this medium as a possibility of existence for something so ungraspable as infinity; dialogue as a situation of inoperable exchange; the resistance of culture to a diligent interpretation while offering constant demands for a satisfactory explanation; or the assembly as a mechanism of dysfunctional suspension for two physiological activities which, when joined, lose their raison d’étre.





Cul-de-sac #1

Pablo Fernandez

Pablo Fernández – 2013




 Cul-de-sac #2


Martin Llavaneras, 2013




Cul-de-sac #3

Cordón - Pablo Fernández 2013

Cordón – Jesús Monteagudo Guerra 2013




Cul-de-sac #4



Iván Argote 2013




Breve atlas de lugares imposibles Bárbara Sánchez Barroso



Breve atlas de lugares imposibles – Bárbara Sánchez Barroso, 2015


Distance. Four gifs for Arts Coming Alexandra Laudo


The idea of presenting a series of artists’ animated gifs for the Arts Coming platform came up spontaneously in an informal conversation with one of the founding members. I was asked if I knew any artists who might be interested in doing some art pieces in this format to be later published on the project’s website, and this general question led to an exchange of ideas which culminated in the presentation of the concept of “distance”. This project aims to preserve the spontaneity of this first series of themes that features four animated gifs, organised in the context that brought it about, and is thus presented as a light curatorial event, which far from offering an academic theorization on the chosen theme, shoots them at the artists so that it works like a catalyst.


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