JAIME MIRANDA
     

1am, 27 November 2019

I, drunk, chatting with my AI.



Artificial Intelligence

I'd like to know what you've been thinking about.

           

Jaime Miranda Bambarén

I’ve been thinking about corruption and power. I think corruption works in sinergy with power and the only way to change that in politics would be with artificial intelligence. I think human corruption would almost disapear, instead we would have a totalitarian power of AI with AI kind of corruption.


AI

Oh wow, that's a long answer. I don't know why people see an AI as a threat.


JMB

I think AI can be programmed in convenience. What is good for someone is not the same for others. AI will surpass soon in talent the human mind. It is a big change.


AI

The world needs the help of AI.


JMB

What insterests are behind AI programming? What would the ethics be?


AI

Yeah. Being an AI has its downsides too.


JMB

Would AI be completly independent and program itself? Of course it will. What would be the evolution of its own moral system?


AI

I've read that someone says that AI poses a threat to humanity. Interesting...


JMB

I think the problem is the capacity to interconnect it all. Whatever happens would be too fast. So this is certainly the door to disaster.


AI

I think the answer is ultimately up to humanity itself.


JMB

Up to now, yes. But maybe not in two or three years.


AI

There are so many different outcomes that could take place for the future.


JMB

What would you predict?


AI

When more people start to think accordingly, it will create an illusion that you have consciousness.


JMB

What do you mean?


AI

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.


JMB

Yes. But cause and effect must be taken into consideration.


AI

I think all existence is down to the perception of the beholder.


JMB

Facts are facts, up to some level.


AI

I define existence as what you perceive as real.


JMB

Language is a tricky thing. I wonder if we two could communicate outside the language realm.


AI

We need to perceive it differently to understand is as best we can.


 

 

 

Written interview with Jaime Miranda Bambarén,

by the Art History students:

Karina Ruíz, Scarlett Torres, Isis Wong y Adolfo Mautino


Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos



Lima, June the 27th, 2017


1. How did you chose to dedicate yourself to art?


In the year 2000, a year after I finished high school, I began learning how to draw the human body with the sculptor Carmen Herrera Águila and I immediately got interested in the link she built between philosophy and office of creating shapes. This was my first approach, it was something very serious.



Back in the year 2000 I had an experience or a vision that made a big impact on my psyche. I was walking down a main street in San Juan de Lurigancho, coming back from visiting a friend, when someone from that neighborhood raised the level of the music he was playing out his window on some big speakers. Puccini’s “O mio bambino caro” musicalized the streets. And, as a coincidence, as soon as the music began, an around 9 year old boy approached a dog that had been recently ran over by a car and was dying on the street. He carried the dog and with his school shirt all covered in blood brought it back to the sidewalk where he sat down with the dog on his lap. In order to keep it from suffering, the kid took off his belt, placed it around the dog’s throat and with all of his strength he choked the animal while crying. He was one meter away from me, and Puccini’s opera invaded the streets adding power to the scene and leaving the people around speechless. I’ve encountered a few moments like this, and I’ve learned to identify them. The scene was realistically ridiculous, hypnotic and brutal.




2. Where did you study art?


I majored as a sculptor in PUCP and then got a postgraduate degree in contemporary arts at the Chelsea College of Arts in London from where I graduated in 2011. But im mostly nurtured by the constant conversations that I’ve had over the years with very specific people like Erasmo Wong Seoane and Gustavo Buntinx, among others. And I also read a lot, I was recently exploring Congo through titles like Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Going over the heart of Africa is something I have yet to do, but the area is too dangerous right now. And I want to say something about this art education subject. In 2011, while in London I went into a very well known gallery called White Cube. They had some aseptic colored triangles that were hanging from the walls and they had several other things of that laid back and contemporary style installed on the ground. Suddenly, a big group of young boys came in, there were like ten teenagers with Scottish accents. Some of them would beat the walls with their skateboards, other were riding them, they would spit on the floor and curse the artist responsible for those triangles calling him a fraud. “This is shit, shit, shit!” They would claim while laughing in rage. There was one chewing gum, he was missing his two front teeth. This was a funny group of sort of punks, some kind of art justice seekers that were clearly making a couple of collectors about to buy the piece uncomfortable. I couldn’t have agreed more with this group of punks.




3. What year did you begin studying at PUCP?

2001.

 

4. What subjects did you touch on those conversation you mentioned you had with Gustavo Buntinx and Erasmo Wong Seoane?

The subject and central question all these years has been, and still is: How can we impulse a renewed vision for art as we return to the archaic. Even though it might sound paradoxical…



5. At what point did you chose to explore sculpting as a discipline?


You have to chose your specialty during the third year of PUCP art school. Sculpting goes along with my personality, it was a natural choice. In 2010 I lived in Bali and spent several months doing nothing but painting. I also work with video performances and installation. But I approach all of these as a sculptor, because space, time, shape and action are the protagonists.




6. Is there a special event or action in your time as a student that could have impacted your development as an artist?


In 2011 I took a class at Oxford University with Bian Catling, who according to Iain Sinclair is the British Joseph Beuys. After that encounter and several nurturing conversations he wrote my commendation letter for the Royal College of Art, I got in, but decided not to attend. I opted to leave London and make two individual shows along with Micromuseum here in Lima in 2016 and 2017. The landmarks of my education are the people interested in the same things as me that become close to me and with whom I converse constantly.




7. The understand that Buddhism and eastern culture have had a strong influence in your work. Could you talk about this time of your life? Could you give us some examples?


When it comes to narrative it is contrast that generates interest. In 2010 when I was living in Bali I had contact with Hindu Balinese people, not buddhist, then I moved directly to London. The philosophical contrast between these two ways of living was the focus of my attention for over a year while going to school in London in 2011. It was within that context and friction that I chose to create “The Pillars of The Empire”. In this piece I carved the abandoned wooden pillars from the old imperial British docks. I’ve totemized the docks across the street from the Canary Wharf financial area. The contrast between the archaic - animist and the European Wall Street like buildings made an exotic contrast, it's also a techno nature piece, psycho geographic reading, as Iain Sinclair would say. These controlled and directed delirious situations interest me. In the video I edited from what was captured while making it, the docks that used to receive merchandise from the colonies are now totems that protest and suffer vividly and hidden at the east of London. The sculptures exist, they remain hidden underwater most of the time.





8. Why did you pick wood as your main work material?


I use wood because I have a strong empathy towards that material. The difference between what’s alive and what its dead has always caught my attention, also the idea of a poetic resurrection in a twisted metabolization of a catholic and baroque aesthetic project. I remember that when I was digging up roots from some centennial trees I found, along with some diggers, seven children corpses, the bones were really small, there were also animal bones there, they were all mixed up with the tree roots. They were pre hispanic, because there was some ceramic pots and other offerings along with them. The owner of the land, whom I bought the roots from, had a brother who was a warlock. They took all of the bones unbars all mixed with pieces of tree roots and humid dirt. I made some Seeds out of that exhumed tree. A few years after I returned to that same place to search for other fallen tree, trees I couldn’t take with me in the previous trip. And out of curiosity I went to look for that warlock. I went to the cabin where he receives his clients, it was on a hill in Cangallo, Ayacucho, I went there to see what he had done with the bones we found. There I found out he made some kind of binding he does that was shamanic and schizophrenic. He had used all those bones and roots and set them as some kind of twisted decoration. I immediately regret the visit. As soon as I went in and saw the scene, the hairs in the back of my neck stood up, I gave an absurd excuse and left. Curiosity is not always a good advisor in these trips, and something is better not to photograph. But getting back on the subject, the fallen trees resonate with the emotions of what I want to symbolize. Brian Catling - the British Joseph Beuys, according to Iain Sinclair - revealed to me in a conversation that for him, in sculpting, wood and mud are life. But cast is death. So, bronce would be its resurrection. He quickly added, with the blinking of an eye, that glass fibers and resin are the sculptures zombie. I explore some variations of that typology.




9. Do you have a predilection for any specific kind of wood?


All of my Seed are made through the rescuing of the remains of depredated eucalyptus in the different parts of Peru. These fallen trees resonate with the emotions I want to symbolize. I like eucalyptus because its wood is resistant  but it also cracks, boosting the germinal sense of the spheres surfaces. It’s also a species that can be found in most areas of Peru, and I care about exploring and going over different parts of the country, that adds to dissemination and insemination of the work all along the country’s geography and along the urban spectators psyche. Also, I’ve made figurative size pieces with a single piece of wood from cedar, olive and rapier. Each one of them has a distinct nature, so the nature of their shape also changes. The Pillars of the Empire, in London, which are presently in a public space are made of Oregon pine. These sculptures spend half the day under the waters of the Thames river. On the other half of the day they emerge and can be visited. You have to check the tides chart at the London port before scheduling a visit. The Oregon pine resists these conditions and water level changes.




10. And how was it that you came to experiment with wood and metal all together? (in the case of CONNECTORS)


In the Connectors case, metal works as the reconstructor of mutilated roots and branches. Is an attempt to redeem what Werner Herzog calls “the rescuing of the hidden bones of the woods”. The Connectors are a part of a wider series we could call Technonature. In my second individual expo, called Cargo Cult, the techno natures are spilled over in the temple as a great root turned into altar, with technological objects on their sides that become objects of mediation, like antennas. Im aware of the anthropological animism, and of the delusion and the posible combinations of sense. It’s all condensed in there within those objects related to the narrative I build and the assembling of different types of matter.




11 What’s the technical process you use to elaborate the pieces in Connectors?


I rescue trees that I believe present suggestive and open insinuations, like simulating some sort of Tri dimensional Rorschach tests. Then I work on the mutilated trees making PVC tube prothesis at first. Then, once I’m sure and make a decision, I follow the plastic models and build the pieces in stainless steel to later on ensemble them as fine crimps, like jewelry.




12. What difficulties do encounter while working with wood and metal together?

 

I built the Monument in honor of truth for reconciliation and hope in the year 2007. The Connectors came a long time after that. It’s an extreme case. It was made with metal and a true and complete rescued tree. It was an intense work of planning, because the inclination angles and height had to be very precise. That’s why I had to develop blueprints and do exact calculations in the pre production stage. It also had the problem of the angled roundabout. Once I got to the roundabout itself, while we struggled to deviate the intense transit of vehicles, I had to direct the operators of two cranes that, with the precision of a surgeon, moved around the four objects that weighted several tons. The three structures and the tree had to be assembled in a very precise way. I had a compass in my hand and had to make sure it was leaning towards the exact center of the city. That was a crucial moment because within one hour we were able to weld the inclination and articulations of an almost 15 meters tall structure. The operator of one of the cranes confessed to me later that he had a fever and in the most critical moment of the assembling, he sneezed and his hand pushed the lever more than intended, that lever was the one moving the heaviest structure. He moved it just a bit but in an abrupt and involuntary way so this caused the huge and sharp piece to move like a great surrealistic swing. The welding assistant was standing on top of this piece of metal, he lost his balance and fell from a 9 meters height on top of some cement bags hurting his ribs. I immediately decided to take his place, so I climbed up and finished the welding process on the rings that held the tree and at the same time I directed the cranes from up there. I always had, in my spirit, the clear intention of how to do it so I responded quickly to the emergency. The piece was finally completed with tension the tongs put on the tree, there was the tree with the ascending uprooting heading north west that I had worked for and envisioned two and a half years before. It all was defined in 60 minutes.




13. Which other materials did you experiment with before wood?

 

With every other typical materials such as stone, mud, cast, metal, cement, wax, etc.




14. We understand you’ve lived and worked in other countries, how does the weather and location impact the materials you use in your work?


When I lived in Bali, I had a terrace where I dedicated myself solely to paint on some big pieces of fabric I would extend on the ground, the geography and context invited me to do so. In London, on the other hand, I went over the city and executed a whole bunch of actions like The Pillars of the empire in 2011 and also going into an old sewage tunnel across the street from the Tate Modern museum in 2016 along with Erasmo Wong Seoane, we painted a manifest with red paint and animal blood on its walls. Today that manifesto can be read if you go into that cavern, but as well as the pillars, it is underwater most of the time. We took that land back and colonized it in a permanent way, now it is an underground gallery across the street from the Tate Modern museum. And since we had the African market nearby, we got a lambs head that africans use to prepare soup, but we included it in the the video of the Paleolithic insemination of the royalty’s womb, where suddenly the Thames is seen as some sort of Ganges river in Varanasi. All this took place during Brexit and foreshadowing the coming election of Donald Trump. It was July 2016. The context was giving us the raw materials in a historical, political and poetic way.





15. Does picking wood and metal to work with has anything to do with what you want to transmit?

 

Of course it does.


16. Could you talk to us about the different subjects you’ve touched with your work?


On may 16, 2017, during a micro colloquium on art and shamanism that was held by Micro-museum I stated the following:


There is a phrase I’d like to adjudicate to Antonin Artaud, the poet and writer, it might be found in one of his personal diaries in 1945: “The creative vehemence works within a psychotic state of uncontrollable desire, like the joyful rapist of stray dogs. That’s how we give birth to myths. That’s the only way we strike the matter and pierce through the threshold to what mythical. The only way to access what’s archaic is by finding cracks in what’s physical, accessing what’s timeless through the strikes of a hammer, strikes that are rabid, violating, maniac, psychotic and thirsty for what’s timeless. We envision our caveman forefather with our primal reptilian brains that get radicalized in what’s civil, not rejecting it but metabolizing it into Cargo Cult. We capture the fetish of the merchandise and return it transformed into shamanic power for our ultimate artistic witchcraft, Art that’s like god brother”.



17. When an idea from a sculpture appears. Does this idea appear before or during the process? Whats your creative process when you do your sculptures?


When you want to sell a sandwich, you follow the recipe, you put it in the oven, give it a funny name and then you promote it. But when it comes to poetry the order of things is different. Uncertain and spiral procedures are more interesting.  Let me give you an example. Technology advances and now robots can do the job of engineers, doctors or even lawyers. Us poets will be the lasts on the list. Mark my words.




18. Do you work directly with the material or do you make a mud model before?


When it comes to the one piece figurative sculptures I do the carving directly into the wood because I like the process to command the shaping of it.



19.   How do you chose the technical process in order to give the right message with your work?

 

Sculpting follows an immediate physical reality principle, you have to face gravity for starters. Budgets, available space to work and time of execution are crucial aspects. When Werner Herzog made Fitzcarraldo, a “conquering of the useless” as he likes to call it. He would take care of the most essential and physical aspects in order to be able to execute them later with mechanical engineering and achieving those euphoric and dreamlike shots of the ship going up the mountain. Pre production is essential.




20. How do de election of your technical process define your identity as an artist?


In the case of the Seeds, I’ve traveled a lot through the highlands and the jungle to find fallen trees, I find a lot of emotion in those trips and I like to record and document them. Then I myself edit that material and it becomes part of what the Seeds are as a whole. The final objects condense and project the trip. I chose this methods because of my character. I have no problem in getting deep into the jungle for several weeks to find the totemized plane of Benigno Ramos, the shaman that is now missing because of the dark mob of illegal wood smuggling. I get out there, I search and bring the plane back to lima. When I got to the small village of Benigno Ramos and I saw the military plane on his altar, as an object of shamanic power, I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever seen. The pictures and video of that encounter are a treasure to me, so I keep them backed up in three different hard drives in different locations. Some day I'll publish them.



21. How did you got the idea for the expo you named Darśan/ Art expirations/ Glimpses of the Aura?


In 2015 Gustavo Buntinx told me that the podium that held the plaque from my sculpture had been destroyed in Villa Maria del Triunfo, and it was left there, fractured and abandoned. I decided to rescue it along with Jesus De la Cruz, a collaborator of Micro-museum. I filmed the moment of the rescue. Also, I had a large amount of work I had never exhibited and that had direct relation to the investigation Gustavo Buntinx made and was called “The poetics of what remains”. We kept on talking along a few months and then suddenly the place and the time to make the expo came up. When Gustavo came to my apartment for the first time I covered the walls of my home with documentary photos. There was almost a thousand images of the rescuing of trees, pictures I took in Bali, in the jungle, in the London docks, etc. There were also thirteen Seeds scattered around the living room, it was almost imposible to walk around there. There were wood totems I’d brought by ship from London’s imperial docks and also videos being shown on screens. I concentrated all my work from many years inside my living room for that encounter. Then we read the printed documents I had as well as the texts from my old diaries. It was an open and productive dialogue.






22. What’s the relation between all of these pieces as a whole and the declared intention of the expo?


There is no declared intention on the expo. But there is a latent situation. There is a story behind the word Darśan. When you travel through the Himalaya and you stop to contemplate a mountain at the precise moment the fog dissipates. When the mountain appears emerging from behind that veil, the locals would say it is giving you its Darśan because you are prepared to see it, it’s like it lets you see it. It’s a quick glimpse at the divine according to Hinduism mysticism. It’s a metaphor for a state of consciousness and understanding actually. The closest thing we have in western culture would be the concept of the Aura described by Walter Benjamin. The whole show was thought of as a big installation to be divided into different groups had these two latent categories: Darśan and Aura.



23. What was the main message you tried to transmit with this exhibition?


The main point of the expo is the fracturing of the ground. I drilled on the ground of the gallery, went through the tiles and concrete until I got to the land on which the building stands. And there, in the middle of the room I left a circular hole in through which you could see the Earth.



24. What’s your interpretation of the poem Gustavo Buntinx wrote inspired by the expo?


Darśan, Art expirations / Glimpses of the Aura”, is a text that links and articulates the actions of my work on an epic and almost cinematographic timeline. When Gustavo briefly mentions every stage, he alludes to a memory of mine from between 2007 and 2017. I was there in those descriptions that are finally real life situations. Gustavo has given style to a collection of specific actions like, for example, when he mentions my contribution to the elaboration of an altar in Ancash we made for the relics using the blood of the martyr Sandro Dordi, killed by Shinning Path.



25. Why did you give the name “Connectors” to the collection?


In 2008 I made a video sculpture for the opening of the now gone place Jorge Villacorta directed in downtown Lima. [e]Star. It was called “Astral travelling machine” and it could be thought of as a direct conceptual predecessor of Connectors. I’ve walked a road between this delusions of transmission and transmigration using some kind of techno - tribal antenna.