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  • Tupac Cruz and Lorena Espitia

Although we have been living and working together since 2013, we have so far worked as a duo only on very rare occasions, as when we made a set of four hand-embroidered strips for a group show in Los Angeles and installed them inconspicuously in the four corners of the exhibition space. These strips labeled the corners, for instance, as someone's or no one's, and we invited friends to do something with, or on, one of the corners (one person slept in "no-one's corner" for seven hours). Earlier we had also worked within the context of a music group, performing live music and producing T-shirts and videos. Throughout these years, however, we have become inextricable sources for each other's independent projects as we have worked side by side. Our ways of thinking and making now feel entangled in amorphous configurations, and it is these configurations, which we call "syntheses without a thesis," that we try to work through under the collective name Aurora Rampante.

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Lorena Espitia


Acrylic and polyurethane enamel on wood

90 × 120 x 10 cm

With this joint endeavor, we are not looking to dissolve the productive disharmony between our practices, but rather to collectivize a plurality of nebulous desires. Lorena's projects during the past years have sought to radicalize earlier efforts to examine specific historical constructions (like the commodification of food or the spatialization of deep-historical processes in diagrams) through installations that cast lines of flight from the dimensions of pictorial purity with materials used within commercial, industrial, and pedagogical systems. Recent projects turn towards forms of speculative image-making based on the power of concrete material constructions to project us towards pre- and post-worlds that both resist and harbor phenomenality: glimpses of a kind of abstract-materialist science fiction achieved through operations with concrete and lo-fi means (like drawing fields of pure color dimension out of video shot from the window of a speeding car). This approach to sci-fi, informed by constructive-materialist strategies of art-making, is being developed through research into vernacular and folk materials and abstract idioms, such as those created by the Gee's Bend Quilters Collective in Alabama. [End Page 138]

As Lorena's work is rooted in the practice of painting, Tupac's is rooted in the practice of drawing, experienced as a way of generatively undermining forms of thinking created by years of academic training in philosophy. His installations exploit graphic idioms to explore different dimensions of the functionalized image, homing in on those that determine action. These works were at first produced in conversation with formal academic contributions to the theory of events, including a set of two papers on Walter Benjamin's theories of fortune and misfortune that introduce the concepts of "remnant volition" and the "Urphänomen of the body." More recently, he has tried out a more experimental merging of concerns during two sets of lectures, one devoted to "forms of life" and the other to the "demonic ornament as manifestation of the earth." Many of these ideas crystallized in a publication, Rocio en formación, which develops a theory of "events as passing-through places" out of the speculative analysis of "rampant life," creating a hybrid field where conceptual constructions and ornamental imagery refract in the form of songs, comic books, embroidered graphemes, and video materials.

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Tupac Cruz


Color marker on paper 22 × 26 cm

Aurora Rampante is a collaboration that we hope will allow us to develop some of these ideas as we engage with shared intuitions about the use of exhibition and display strategies deployed in contexts like the Latin American marketplace and the outdated European geological museum, where textiles, statements, dioramas, songs, lectures, printed texts, and other materials may be used to exacerbate the possibilities of perceptual matter.

Tupac Cruz:

Lorena Espitia: [End Page 139]

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Lorena Espitia



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pp. 138-139
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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