The Matrix and the Interval


Carla Cabanas explores themes related with the archive, memory, absence and effacement, using as source material photos from her own family albuns, others rescued from flea markets or found in archives.

During the Walk & Talk Festival artistic residency, in 2016, Carla Cabanas had the opportunity to access part of the photography archive from the Instituto Cultural de Ponta Delgada. This archive contains a peculiar collection from the first half of the 20th century, consisting of photographs of photographs, depicting portraits and landscapes, scenes from the daily life, domestic interiors and aspects of labour. These images result from the act of photographing a photography, a common practice in those days that served several purposes, namely to do photo montages, duplications and enlargements, or simply to preserve the matrix.

This urge to preserve the image prompted the project The Matrix and the Interval, a look towards the history of the photographic practice and the medium specificities.
We see in these images what we suspect to be photographs and postcards, mounted with pushpins and nails on improvised structures, all set to be photographed again.
We see in these images the act of taking a picture, freed from the constraints of the referent but obsessed with itself and with the possibility of its repetition.
Cabanas reclaims and continues the act of reproducing the photography, using as a starting point the digitized glass plates from the archive. Remaining in the new images, the improvised backgrounds in real size – pieces of wood, furniture, newspaper sheets or cloth – that the original photographer would, perhaps, discard from his compositions.

In the images created by Carla Cabanas we are presented with several overlapping matrices: the first photography (the one that becomes the matrix), the glass plate resulting from the act of photographing the photograph (the second matrix), the scanning of the glass plate (the third matrix). The images presented in this exhibition are the materialization of the third matrix and they contain evidences of the previous photographic manoeuvres, performed at separate moments. And the intervals that separate the production of each matrix are compressed in one unique surface, the final image, at least so far.

Like in previous works, Carla Cabanas creates multi layered, discontinuous images. In these images, the marks of degradation of the glass plates and the photographic materials, the human made marks, like dates, stamps or other obscure inscriptions, imprint fractures in the surface. Like compressed geological strata, these layers let us glimpse the passing of time, the intervals in between each of these photographic objects lives collapsed as if no distance separates them. The image drags the traces of each photographic operation; each matrix combines in itself the previous ones whereas the first matrix encapsulates the referent.