The installation discusses issues of intimacy and self-contemplation, combining different sensations in a “blue mood” by combining two different sensibilities.
‘Black Narcissus’ highlights the importance of encompassing all methods of fabrication; digital and analog in terms of technology, management efficiency and time towards the production the project. The piece is constituted of 1,000 pieces including the 644 pieces of CNC routed syntra, 50 large flowers with jewel like crowns and 100 small flowers. The idea was to produce a structure that combines a parametrically designed large form ornamented and gardened with nonparametric flowers. Through this gardening process of aggregation, the flowers produce a sensation of excess in a garden of delight.
The precedent came from looking at contemporary fashion sensibilities and techniques thinking of it as an “haute couture” surface. We also took a look at the 1947 Michael Powell film “Black Narcissus,” where a group of nuns travel to a remote location in the Himalayas to set up a school and hospital and “domesticate” the local people and environment, by conversion and gardening, only to find themselves increasingly seduced by the sensuality of their surroundings. The location, the culture and the mountain air all begin to have a strange affect on the nuns. What was important about the film is understanding the power “sensual”, the way the recognition of your desires to the point of self-contemplation; an aesthetic displacement, you see your sensual self in the work as an act of narcissism. You become as beautiful as what surrounds you. Narcissism as a natural condition of self-admiration and a distorted self from reality, which it is more about the absurdity of the “cultural” concept in a pursuit for an argument of beauty.
“Black Narcissus” is a garden of contemplation where the surface of reflection is the piece itself. The piece is joyous and ominous, it attracts and repels because it sense of superficial ornamentation. It climbs up the wall caressing it. This piece does not operate within the notion of effect (literal reflection) but through affect, a true moment of qualia.
The project was built at “The Ranch,” Texas A&M University. November 2011.
gabriel ESQUIVEL & david HERNÁNDEZ M.
Project Manager: Erin Templeton