ifthereisnoafterlife ifthereisnoafterlife


— No, I am sorry you can not get in with these people.
— The manager gave me permission.
— I am sorry he did not tell me anything. I can not let you in.
— But this is a public place. You have no right to stop us.
— I am sorry but I can not let you in.
— One question: if instead of coming with this Andean family, If I were to come in with three Swedish blondes in miniskirts, would you let me in?
I think here in Peru is more natural and less strange an Andean family than three Swedish blondes in miniskirts, don’t you think so?
In any school of Peru, children learn soon the heartrending and cruel tale of Paco Yunque by Cesar Vallejo in which the protagonist is subject, from his childhood and at school, of the most incredible torture and injustice just because he is poor and though Vallejo does not mention it, “cholo”. Since childhood, children are taught with this tale making difference. Racism and its consequent exclusion is a bad habit spread out all over the world. The cholo in Peru is subject of the most absurd racism because as the popular expression says all Peruvians are cholos: “you got something from inga and mandinga”. But not only in Peru but all over the world we are cholos, fortunately we all are a mixing of many races, colors and cultures which enrich us, but still today there is a lot of people who do not know or do not want to know.
The binomial racism and poverty are very close, the exclusion also appears apart but they are usually bound together. As a consequence of racism, it is taken from granted as poor who maybe is but not so, but for the materialist society the physical aspect is determining in order to be accepted or not. The relief of the sufferings of the people who had bad luck in life and who is in a different situation of marginality, poverty, racism, etc is the notion of another world where they will receive their reward because of all the suffering and fear they have gone through in this world. But, if there is no other world? What is the reason for some people to have a short life of luxury and other people to live at the most absolute poverty? Who compensates this injustice?

In order to build a more fictitious and artistic world more here, we try to understand what was the possible desire of a not privileged family who were longing for a compensation, we decided to make a series entitled SUEÑO CHOLO showing images we think Andean families would dream of, and this dream, we suppose, is that they are like us, own huge design houses with high technology and wander around the comfortable spaces we are used to.
Any assumption about the life of the rest is a chimera, in this we were also supposedly arrogant thinking the poor want to live a life so disgraceful and insipid we and the rest are living. Incongruous until exaggeration we think they just pretend to imitate us in everything. It is probably not so, the paradise or dreams of the rest do not have to coincide with ours, fortunately, the materialist matter so important for some people, it is not so for anybody, and in any case, the concept of the materialist could be different.
Our characters could have never enjoyed the materialist society, they just do it falsely by means of our photographs for their welfare is a work you charge for, a work which is posing in an environment to which they would have any access at all and which lasts for them the time the posing lasts though for their images and history they would enjoy eternally.
They do not show boredom in their faces, the disillusion of having possessed everything from the beginning, of everything granted, the contradiction of their own existence. For our models, though we tell them and rehearse for hours in which they put a face with a confused, annoyed, distressed, sick of anything is impossible, in their eyes there is no void, there is always a shadow of life, of curiosity...Our models could suffer any disease but the Hikikomori.
We do not pretend the superficiality of the reality show programs like those which change permanently the physical aspect of people with the sickness of the pre and post operation. This is not a mass media game, we are not going to interfere anything. We, just like an ornithologist, with most respect, measure, weigh and make rings the bird in order to set it free, we do not modify its destiny, they only one who can modify it is himself and the circumstances. We will never be a circumstance, we are as anybody false historians, creators and inventors of false sources. Our photographs pretend to make an accusation but it is very probably that this accusation could become, due to the own same avatar of history, a proof to justify a society endemically injustice at the present and falsely presentable in a future in which not even the past could be happy, unfair. Any history is false in any aspect or at all...
What would happen if these models, this “Andean” family was really such and live much better than us and, for their physical aspect, they would make a joke on us and have disguised themselves as Andeans, costumes considered by the inhabitants of a great city as of a low economical level though they were a family of exporting impresarios and the proprietors of the yacht, the house, the car, the collection of Bedia paintings, the private jet...Racism is not only economical.


Social art is the one compromising here and now with the problem testing it in a society eager to ignore it.
It is a contrasting fact that in New York almost any Contemporary art gallery visitors are white, the same happens in is very difficult to see cholos. Why does this racial pureness exist in Contemporary art context? It is not described in the tradition and behavior manual of other races to see and participate in Contemporary art? To see and participate in Contemporary art is forbidden for these who are not white and rich? The cholo and the poor have to resign with handcraft?
It is very strange that in countries like Peru, social art has a little number of adepts, it is probably because it is not profitable and because partisan connotations have not been founded in a very evident way, it is difficult to be at the frontier of the social and the dogmatic militant, between the reward less partisan accusation and the interests of a concrete group.
Is it possible the social art without the political art?
Disparities and racism are endemically in Peru, as in many other countries, this series of photographs tries to put in circulation images that subtly denounce it in order to be purchased by the elite that supposedly is racist and encourage disparities. Is it not incongruous? Is there a non racist elite? We do think so.
But it could happen that the racist purchases photographs as a game. A game in which a racist really does not make any difference with what is denounced and consider the images just as shocking and amusing and exclaim: “Cholos at my bathroom”. How is it possible¡ when he looks at the Andean family photographs filling his more intimate and daily places.
Other people, at the other hand, can feel threatened with regard to a possible future. It will be tolerable that in a close future in my exclusive condominium we have as neighbors a family of cholos? Doubts that express a fear towards the end of the supremacy of beautiful and rich white people... In all the process of the execution of the photographs, a lot of anecdotes happen to us confirming that we were in the right way by doing this series, that this was not an invented racism by us in order to reaffirms as socialist and modern. The faces of so many neighbors when they saw us accompanied by the well costumed Andean family were quite evident and express fear, surprise, anger: we had trouble with the permissions, locations, a lot of them felt as an invasion of their exclusive space...for those who think that an Andean family could adapt to luxury pleasures and their modus vivendi, we want to say, in order to increase the fear of those who consider integration as impossible, tat the Andean family once the initial surprise went away, fast adapted to the new situation and in thirty minutes they were by now making themselves comfortable normally in the house, as if they had lived there for life. The concept of exclusiveness and difference is relative, everyone is adapting fast to comfort.

It was not easy to choose the family, it had to be Andean, rural, poor but, as my grandmother says “honorable”. I do not know why we have to add the word “honorable” to the poor as if they were unworthy, it is another classist pigtail contained by our language. The family had to know from the beginning that their image was going to be used, what was the purpose of it, and what could be the repercussion. They understood immediately what was it all about and made everything easy , in this case, we counted on the support of Rosa Maria Alvarez Gil to whom we have supported with the documentary LIMA WAS about eh “wayno” contests in the Andean regions and cones of Lima, she knew an artisan family we used in the sessions. We had to establish mutual trust relationships because the working days were going to be rough with multiple displacements and possible troubles because someone could show their anger openly for the invasion of his privileged space by people, that according to his opinion, are not related to these places.
During the photography production, anecdotes were abundant but we also faced racist attitudes in our way as well as the possible way, there were people who understood immediately what was the interest of the project and supported firmly even with the risk of having troubles at their own work. There was racism but there was also a lot of solidarity.

We wanted to represent and impersonate the racism in a family although each member of the family in his individual space received during the day any direct and negative effect of his condition, the family is a protective nucleus as an island in an unfair society is a shelter and altogether having access to the most forbidden spaces tough isolated, they gain the dignity we want to distinguish. The basis of the social organization is the family, it is presumed since pre-history, that is the one which gives you a place in the world, a culture, habits, and whatever the fast social changes may be, always remains as initial link and reference constant. The introduction of modes and new habits inside family is diverse beginning with the names, it is curious to see the names of the grandparents , they are called Ricardina and Juan Dionisio, traditional names. The children are called Lidi and Henry and the next generation Gisella and Vanesa... these names change we suppose as evident “modernization”, changes produced by the access to information and tv bringing an implicit desire of economical development: “my daughter will have the name of a gringo who has done well”. The name gives the family a “modernity” and development towards other families then it spreads out and the families around adopt the same names for their children . Immigration has also a lot to do with these names and habits changes. But these changes are just nominal, tradition is very rough and from the start modernity is a superficial element.
At the end of the XIXth century, families were photographed in a studio, these photographs are just a collective national identity document with all the members dolled up in their best costumes in order to remain in this scenery almost always superior to the place they live in, but fictitious, created with a painted background and some object. At the studio, the scenery will always be the same, what will change is the family that just for a moment inhabit the place. This series of MR could be a Contemporary remake of ancient photographers, among the Peruvians as Chambi. MR moves from the Andean region a peasant family and introduce them in a house of “high standing rich people”. The decoration where MR place the family is so unreal for themselves as were those in which families were portrayed at the photographer studio.
MR. They are linked to the great tradition of family photographers, from the American Depression in Dustbowl brilliantly photographed by Walker Evans, the dysfunctional ones from Diane Arbus, the contrasting ones from the series of Rich and Poor of Jim Goldberg, the high class ones of Tina Barney to the own and freakies of Richard Billingham and Enrique Marty.

Besides these photographs as well as the rest, we are creating a historical document, a false historical document. Rosa Olivares curated an exhibition called Documentos: la memoria del futuro*. In the introduction text analyzes photographs and documents and the importance of the intervention clic time of the artist, we arrive to believe there eternal images we took as casual snapshots which the only invention of the photographer was present and have the certainty of previous manipulation to reinforce the propagandist effect on the aesthetics one, it is undoubtedly disappointing that Walker Evans in this well-known series of the American Depression of the thirties made pose extremely poor peasants which causes a certain reticence in the spectator, but Evans does not lie by documenting this extreme poverty, it existed such as reflected though the image arrived to be stylized having in mind that the photographer is an artist.
The film The Conquest of Horror by Clint Eastwood is a clear example of how an image turned into emblematic in the history of the United States had been a remake carried out after the original moment. Does this rest value to photography? Does it lose its condition of document? The photographer was there, the photograph was made in a historical place and the fact happened apart from aesthetics ornaments.
In this series MR proposes that we see as real as an action that by now it is not true, unbelievable in its context. But what happens if these photographs remain in time without the generating documentation of the 2007 year? Looking at them, future generations could think that Peruvian cholos lived surrounded by great comfort and that had an exquisite taste above from the average.
The grandfather of the family posing on a Mackintosh seat, the Andean grandmother enjoying the most advanced kitchen opposite to what we think she was managing in a dark firewood kitchen, children using the hydro massage bathroom and the parents watching a film in the huge plasma tv at the bedroom, the family posing quietly in front of their private jet or yacht for Sunday rides...these could be images altering Peruvian history. History is more about what hasn't been told than what has been told. With time, societies lose more information than what they keep, that is why any vision of the past is partial and wrong.
On the other hand, if we do not achieve and equality society that unfortunately we can not achieve right now but as if we long for it happens in the future, this photographs will serve as historical documents to examine our Contemporary society from that terrible injustice and when at last anybody can enjoy comfort, luxury, security levels by means of the documentation of MR this injustice will extend falsely to the past.
When we decided to portray them individually, we took the decision of making the models posing with the eyes shut, we do not know if they would ignore us, we do not know if they would dream or with eyes shut because they are dead to us.

* Rosa Olivares. Documentos: la memoria del futuro. cat.exp. Museo de arte contemporáneo de Vigo, Koldo Mitxelena de San Sebastián... 2007.