Desert X Bienial, California, Feb- April 201

Site-specific modular wood cut-out installation

Curated by Neville Wakefield

Since the times of cave man, humans have associated with animals to explore fantasy and signify stature.The intent of hybridizing humankind in mythological chimeras has existed throughout history. Bengolea’s installation, Mosquito Net, is not a quest for the universal beauty of nature, but rather a display of social street dance to invoke the spirit of animals and nature. This piece is a consideration of how humans and animals (real and imaginary) observe each other. Bengolea includes actual dance poses from her established performances, where she and dancers from her pieces express animals to which they feel connected. Hybridization has been less successful in scientific study than in the wild. This suggests an evolutionary response to pressure imposed by humans. This natural hybridization is likely important for the creation of new species. Combining aspects of her dance with hybridized animals she has created a bestiary of the ancient and modern, the sacred and the profane collaged into a landscape of both hope and despair. Bengolea’s collage engages the audience in an ongoing the interactive dance of the imagination taking her inspiration from the philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who proffers to move beyond the state of servitude we must emancipate the joy of composing ourselves with others and in so doing expand our capacities to actualize our passions. Animism, the world’s oldest religion, “predates any form of organized religion and is said to contain the oldest spiritual and supernatural perspective in the world. It dates back to the Paleolithic Age, to a time when humans roamed the plains hunting and gathering, and communing with the Spirit of Nature.” A contemporary Raft of the Medusa, Bengolea’s collage brings survival and extinction together in an interactive dance. Cécilia Bengolea synthesizes the animistic aspects of dance with her interest in the Salton Sea. Formerly the ‘crown jewel of biodiversity’ the Salton Sea is now widely regarded as one of the most pressing ecological disasters area of North America. Formed in 1905 following an engineering accident with the irrigation system intended to extend the water benefits of the Colorado River, its creation and subsequent existence has always marked a crossroad of nature and culture. Referencing fellow Argentinian Jorge Luis Borges ‘Book of Imaginary Beings’ its intermingling of real and imaginary proposes an exploration of how humans conceive of animals in a time of hyper-environmental change.