reyes 2 (social topology)

i was skipping through the pages of the latest issue of celeste, scrapbook for the mexican pop aristocracy (the “art world” in mexico is very much a friends&family affair, run and fed –with some notable exceptions- by the twenty-to-forty-something litter of big-business), and came across a note on the recent pedro reyes show, “the principles of social typology” at the yvon-lambert gallery in ny.

like the name suggests, reyes wanted to unravel mathematical strictures to make the easy-access. literally. he built a huge warped klein’s bottle with wire and vinyl thread (the material essentials of the acapulco chair) a small group of people could climb into and chill, playing on abstract notions like convergence and connectedness.

his 3-d “ambigrams” read differently depending on the side you stand in front of. “esquire” on one side is “empire” on the other.

reyes came up with the name from the show taking from kurt lewin’s research on topological psychology, specifically from the concept of “field theory,” where the “field” is “the totality of coexisting facts which are conceived of as mutually interdependent.” individual action and emotion is submerged and tied to situation and environment.

but reyes is not just preoccupied with bridging between concept and physicality. his work is actually strongly political. he describes the klein bottle as a “structure that creates no exclusive domain, as it is a modality that, through a structural twist, unifies the inside and outside surfaces into a continuous surface…the topological principle of the klein’s bottle would enable a decisive shift from an “either/or” critique to an array of “and/or” scenarios.”

a short interview with antanas mockus, mathematician, theorist and former mayor of bogotá; reyes reveals an active political (and urban) intention in his work, referring to mockus’s use of mathematical principles as social/urban “parables” of transformation (in a somewhat superficial but actually telling move, mockus’s campaign featured a moebius strip, and a slogan that called for “everyone on the same side,” a call against the bloody antagonisms that have typically marked colombia’s social and political realities).

reyes talks of different approaches to city governance and planning as differences between hairdos and haircuts: “one is homogenous by giving everyone limited movement while the other is homogeneous by allowing every hair to spin and sponge”.

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