An abandoned house was given as the site for the exhibition. The house, originally made in the 1950’s, was part of a complex designed to host the officers that worked for CP ( Portugal’s train and Railway System), in Casa Branca, a village that grew around the workshops of the train company, abandoned since the 1990’s.
The floor-plan of the house resembles a panoptic system, where through a central lobby one can have access to the four divisions of the house.
Rooms were full of cobwebs, snails and other inhabitants that trough the years have occupied the place. In one of the rooms, bellow the window, laid a corpse of a dead cat.
Cats and spiders don’t know what a panopticon is. In their natural state they don’t understand control, they roam freely according to their needs.
Their landscape is constructed by fear and the will of having a safe habitat, food and shelter. Their shelter is an abandon house, left behind among many others, by the need of humans to move according to their own demand of food and shelter. Our need of constant progress, development and other concepts that became essential to our growth as a species.
Parallel to these, are also the concepts of power and control. From the macro scale of governance, production and perpetuation of the kin, to the structure of the family and the household - our relationships with ourselves, and with the rest of nature. Control has been our grip, an instrument of safety and sense of power over others and our surroundings.
The panopticon asserts that one is under constant vigilance, even when one is not being watched, the tendency is towards a normalised behaviour, an act played by inmates 24/7. It expands from prisons and psychiatric hospitals, to the realm of daily life, virtually and physically, interactions with others are based on a sense of normality, following a behavioural norm.
God is watching, ethics, moral, success, beauty, goodwill, in some way we all feel we need to belong to our kin, to our group, to our herd.
Cats and spiders don’t know what a panopticon is, they belong by solely being. They don’t know if they are wild or domestic, if they are welcomed or a plague. They choose to live and die in a territory of their own.
Under a shadow on a hot day, in the ground that they call home