Porphyrian Net

by Mickael dos Santos

The characteristic of urban space that I consider important is the ephemerality. Urban space is the place of change and evolution, meaning not only the passage of people, but also the passage of time which puts it in a constant state of transit and impermanence.
Virgílio Ferreira plays with these concepts in his work. He creates superposition of ephemeral moments to explore spaces suspended between different instances. Using the contrast of static and dynamic states he creates new possibilities and makes us experience the alternated reality, the hidden dimension. I got particularly inspired in his methodology (Diptych) because it allowed me to investigate the botanical garden differently, embracing its diverse and transcendental nature.

Through this work I want to show the links between artificial and natural. Botanical Garden is currently the theater of big renovations that affects his practice and his appearance. This transition period develops a dialogue between artificial and natural and allows us to investigate new aesthetic narratives.
On our site of intervention, the major link of this dialogue is materialized by a green net that protects the renovation area. This net creates a space in the space in the way that it separates various things and also links various scales. To serve my approach, I use this net as a powerfull link between reality and my subjectivity to develop a photographic expressionism.
As an ephemeral matrix, the green net creates a border between permanent and impermanent, between real vision and filtered vision, between accessible and non-accessible. The net as a result of changing and ephemeral process is a filter that I consider interesting to explore, as it limits and covers the site making and finally reveals a new picture.

My work recalls the projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who were covering and packing human constructions and landscapes. This way they questioned form and function of surroundings and by covering they were actually revealing the essence of the hidden. Their work also criticized the act of construction, in the sense that the energy spent to create these ephemeral results was substantial and could have been considered as unnecessary. It is a reflection of man’s impact on the environment. How we cover, we hide, we reveal, we build, we destroy. The process of packing a space allows to create a new identity, a new forme, a new aesthetic.

It’s in this new aesthetic form that I developed this work which can find an explanation through the concept of Porphyry Tree. The tree trunk is here replaced by the net that allows a dialogue between reality and fantasy, transient and persistent, animate and inanimate, vegetation and artificial, all bringing out a new visual language. The net as only possible body for this new creature that can’t be qualified by words. This narrative reminds us that the botanical garden is an artificialized nature created by human hand.
I built this narrative through pictures that are all similar. To avoid any confusion between these pictures, I slipped between each double page a printed translucent layer of natural pattern that ensures always a fresh reading of all images that make the narrative.