PLURABELLE, “FORIVEREVER HER ALLINALL”1James Joyce (2012). Finnegans Wake. Wordsworth Editions, page 242.
It has been said of Finnegans Wake that it is the greatest endeavour in the history of world literature to understand the nature of language. Through Finnegans Wake, Joyce introduced a radically different form of writing and, consequently, a different formula by which to think. In the play, Anna Livia Plurabelle, the main female character, is linked in various ways with water; the dew, the clouds, the rain… the river Liffey itself: image of life, inspiration, continuity… and so, Joyce writes: “Anna was, Livia is, Plurabelle to be”2Ibíd., p. 215..
The novel is exceptionally suggestive in terms of sound, but also has remarkable potential from the perspective of an environmental-awareness narrative; with its abstract metaphors and aphorisms, the story interrogates the time, scale and environmental dimension, driving a wedge between the human and the non-human. The connection with ecology and the locative character of Joycean literature is what brought me to Dublin last spring, attracted by what I consider to be a locative sound narrative avant la lettre.
Drawing an analogy with the spatialisation of Joyce’s literature, I went out to draw on the flow of the river, being and following the lines of “Livia”, re-running time, rivering my drawings… I understood that there was an ecofeminist dimension in the mutant character of Anna Livia and my aim was to approach it from an embodied artistic perspective. I then started, simultaneously, various forms of drawing with which to cover different scales. Some of them were large-scale, such as the GPS drawings, others were medium-scale: those based on automatic drawing or “agrammatic” drawings, and finally, those which I called micro-drawings and which were presented in the exhibition space on a tiny scale, requiring the use of viewing devices for them to be seen. The latter are representations of a universal figure, present throughout cultures and times, an icon of some of the many links between women and water: the washerwomen. The women who wash clothes in the river reveal not only the feminisation of certain fundamental tasks of care in society, but also the unequal exposure of women to the pollutants present in the environment.
Throughout my artistic career I have repeatedly stressed the need to shift the point from which we construct our own “image” of reality, to empathise and try to place ourselves in the position of the other, “[t]o learn to be the other, in order to understand what we are”. My ink-based monochromatic images represent the environment and the beings that inhabit it, which are reflected in the river. I look across the river, or with the river, as crystal clear. This leads me to reflect on the clumsiness of our species in recognising and interpreting many of the signs and traces that surround us. All the sounds in frequencies we don’t perceive, everything too small or too big, too fast or too slow (to be perceived by us), all the lines we don’t see… and I try to learn to decipher and expand my knowledge of the cosmos a bit more.
Verónica Perales Blanco – Biography
Verónica Perales Blanco is an ecofeminist hypermedia artist, researcher and lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Murcia. Linked to the tripartite formula art/technology/ecology, she asserted her artistic career as co-founder of the international art collective Transnational Temps (2001), in the framework within which she has developed works denouncing the loss of biodiversity, the links between the technology market and the disappearance of species and the effects of climate change, among other issues. In 2009, she began to work alone on a creative line with a markedly ecofeminist character, hybridising traditional techniques with transmedia narratives and the use of locative media.
- 1James Joyce (2012). Finnegans Wake. Wordsworth Editions, page 242.
- 2Ibíd., p. 215.