Rosetta Stone

Piedra de Rosetta

Casa del Lago virtual

La lengua secreta

Secret Language


In a relationship between two seemingly disparate elements there are many latent worlds. A first unusual association detonates more and more combinations less and less demure, a network of secret or never before perceived links, new worlds. For example: what lies at the intersection of the Rosetta Stone and the star maps? Drawings, graphemes, geometries, schematics of unreachable existences? Keys to the interpretation of worlds already lost or those on the other side of our finitude? Other communicative possibilities, other intelligences, multi-sensibilities? The possibility of re-interpreting ourselves in the light of some other, radically different one? And in this discourse of the text, I will not be able to know, to affirm, to discern; for the same reason, I will not stop asking, because the artist has given us some encrypted messages; suggestive and hypnotic, but with multidirectional meanings, not at all obvious, veiled. Some asemic writings at the crossroads between archeology and astronomy, that flicker, turn on the wheels and their concentric circles. “Infinite worlds”, we could say in reference to Giordano Bruno, whose texts and life experiences have accompanied the artist in her creative processes.”Everything is in everything”, perhaps these words of the wise ancestor circulate in the weavings of sidereal graphemes of the Rosetta Project. Or perhaps these others from Irene’s famous countryman (although she is not only from Argentina, she is from my land and also from some other country that has already disappeared): “If all the places on earth are in the Aleph, all the luminaries, all the lamps, all the fountains of light will be there”.

Discs, wheels, concentric circles. Almost all of Irene Dubrovsky’s works insist on circular forms. In this case, because the writing of her Rosetta is not linear, nor only circular, but combinatory. Here the gaze does not know where to start weaving, where to go, where to rest. In a conversation, the artist explained to me: “We are very conditioned to read from left to right. The circle breaks linearity. I am thinking about non-linear communication, about language as something infinite and inside the human being. Chomsky talks about recursive structures within recursive structures and not only as an expression to the “outside”. I’m thinking of language “in potency,” in its possibility of making infinite combinations.”

In front of your eyes:

A starry sky. It is far away, twinkling in silence. You don’t know its depths, distances, whispers or movements. As if they were luminous writings on black paper. You sense that it speaks, that it speaks to you and you are paralyzed, waiting for some meaning to suddenly appear. The meaning.

What is it that makes us look up at the stars? An unstable land with imposed or fleeing borders, transhumant condition, exiles, uprooted roots, lost livelihood or erased worldly identities, could be some reasons why we turn to the sky. There are surely those last points of reference of an immutable horizon: simply, the human being under the stars. When the sky is no longer visible, we know, it is a disaster (without stars). It is the end.

But while, “as above so below” (again the voices of the wise ancestors intervene), we continue to assemble some memorial constellations, some cosmoses in our heads, the deviated itineraries and in them, new and old towers of babel, which are a renewed opportunity for, as Irene says, a language in potentiality. Then, the Rosetta Project, with its sidereal writings that slip away from linearity and semantic field, on the threshold between the visual and the textual, con-sider and mobilize all these associations, memories of concrete lives and connection with the voices of diverse temporal dimensions. “The decoding, encryption and clandestinity of language touch my personal themes and the particular history of all of us who live through certain political processes and changes of mother tongues.” I agree with Irene.

What is on the stone:

Three distinct scripts whose comparison and combination made possible not only the decoding of an unknown script (in this case of the Rosetta Stone, the Egyptian hieroglyphs), but more importantly, brought about the reinterpretation of a fundamental origin and by consequence, the change in the nuances of all our subsequent history. The key is: to understand ourselves from the language of the other. I have been able to decipher myself (and continue to do so) only when I exiled myself from my mother tongue, speaking, writing and dreaming with these words that are here, all foreign to me. In the case of the artist, her apparently forgotten mother tongue continues to operate clandestinely inwardly and perhaps it is externalized in this work, as the configuration of writings without words or obvious meanings. Belén Gache, referring to other artistic works to a certain extent close to Irene Dubrovsky’s work, says: “Many times asemic languages and secret writings have served as a way of resisting assigned meanings, a language that defines, names, differentiates, orders, establishes parameters at a social level. These have been used as a form of resistance to hegemonic cultural powers, and also as an effective strategy to circumvent censorship.”

How does Irene generate the channels, the means, the formats to put into circulation this resistance to the dictatorship of the prevailing language? Through a constant challenge to the boundaries between different disciplines and knowledge -from art to science, from archeology to astronomy, from traditional creative procedures to digital technology- she has created different works, such as “Sahara Discs” where star maps are imagined as scores: the relationships between luminous points articulate a musical writing. While in the case of the work “North Pole, South Pole”, his gaze is directed from the sky to the earth, when he selects from the bank of satellite images some views of the frozen geographies and captures their pixelated representations in minimal white reliefs. In the case of the Rosetta Irene Project she used different astronomy software, which visualize, record and measure the location and transits of celestial bodies and phenomena, stellar catalogs in spreadsheets, graphics and sound processors, generative code and algorithms to turn on and off alphabetic symbols, animation software, etc.

Thus his ars combinatoria combines the movement of the stars with web navigation with existential itineraries and personal memories; planetary cartography with musical annotations with the system of encrypted writings; the remote stone and its carved inscriptions with the starry sky; satellite images of the earth’s surface with the tactile experience of what is closest and everyday; ancient astronomical architectures with a ceramic workshop and with the resistance to some forced oblivion…And here, again, Borges: “Does that Aleph exist in the intimate of a stone? Have I seen it when I saw all things and forgotten it? Our mind is porous to forgetfulness; I myself am falsifying and losing, under the tragic erosion of the years.” Forgetting is nothing but a clandestine, encrypted memory that seeks other and different streams of language. In the face of the “falsity” of the word, graphemes, flashes of circulating meanings (as if they were astronomical phenomena), combinations ad infinitum…All this and surely much more that I do not know how to say, I have seen in Irene Dubrovsky’s Rosetta Project.

Helena Braunštajn

En un vértice del lenguaje las estrellas guardan mensajes

Irving Domínguez

There’s strange news from another star

Blur, 1997

Las propuestas artísticas que Irene Dubrovsky ha desarrollado en los últimos años nos comparten su fascinación con la astronomía, en particular su empeño sostenido por traducir los mapas celestes a representaciones artísticas, aproximaciones sensoriales que proponen otras lecturas de la abstracción científica. La artista ha trabajado en el desarrollo de obras que se leen como partituras para su ejecución musical y como esculturas, dos ejemplos son los ciclos de obras Discos del Sahara (2014) y Discos de las estrellas (2018). A partir de la traslación de la Tierra las constelaciones y galaxias recorren el espacio exterior observable de modo regular en el cual pueden identificarse fases y un ritmo asignado para cada una. Estas características le permitieron trasponer esos datos a un pentagrama, por lo tanto, permite su interpretación musical y facilitan la comprensión dinámica de los conjuntos de estrellas en relación con una experiencia antropocéntrica. Vale la pena señalar que el principio cinético que anima a estas esculturas está aludido pero nunca es ejecutado en presencia de sus espectadores. Esas obras ocurren por lo tanto en tiempos distintos a la vez que producen imágenes de dos tipos partir de la misma representación: una musical y otra de orden plástico.

Esa cualidad de una misma obra que despliega posibilidades de interpretación en más de una dirección se halla también en otras facetas de su producción bidimensional. Irene lleva años estableciendo sincronías formales entre la codificación de los cuerpos celestes y los antiguos lenguajes de civilizaciones cuyos registros astronómicos se han preservado hasta nuestros días. Esas obras se presentan como circunferencias tomadas de la esfera celeste, en las cuales constelaciones, galaxias y nebulosas parecen ajustarse apretadamente a una retícula poblada por familias de letras y otros signos del lenguaje aplicados a su clasificación. En el año 2020 Dubrovsky desarrolló el Proyecto Roseta a través del cual pudo compartir visualizaciones digitales de estas obras y desplegar las complejas relaciones espacio- temporales entre los cuerpos celestes y sus propias representaciones: distancias, intensidad de la luz emitida, proximidad, puntos de saturación y zonas “oscuras” y de “silencio” astronómico pues los aparatos dedicados actualmente al estudio del Universo no pueden obtener información clara de ciertos sectores por saturación de polvo estelar u otros fenómenos que limitan sus alcances.

El Proyecto Roseta le permitió a la artista concretar una de las potencialidades de su propuesta artística: al sincronizar mapas estelares con alfabetos históricos ella advirtió las posibilidades semánticas para actualizarlos y producir nubes de textos, verbalizaciones libres, análogas a su lúdica distribución de elementos para la escritura, que pueden generar sentido después de varias combinaciones con resultados inicialmente ininteligibles. Así, Dubrovsky ha incubado de un modo paciente y discreto una serie de potenciales máquinas de lenguaje, familias de signos condensados en un lienzo o en un dibujo que pueden ser recodificados y traducidos en un sistema dinámico que los haga “hablar”, o al menos verbalizar palabras. Estos vocablos pueden agregarse al imaginario celeste, del cual participa la astronomía, los relatos culturales que significan las mitologías, así como los hábitos contemporáneos de usar a los cuerpos celestes como referentes predictivos sobre los destinos individuales, esto último es una suerte de continuidad de un pensamiento protocientífico, el cual es una resistencia hacia una concepción de la racionalidad que se considera instrumental y agnóstica.