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'Shadow Writing (Algorithm / Quipu)' by Lorenzo Sandoval at Schwartzsche Villa, Berlin

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The solo exhibition by Lorenzo Sandoval combines two ancient cultural techniques: the origin of the algorithms and the complex knotting technique of the Quipus from the Incan period. He shows three-dimensional prints of Islamic ornaments, the recording systems of the Quipus as well as video installations in the studio of the Schwartzsche Villa and thus raises questions about the anthropological origin of our computer technology. Following the approach of the Argentinian-British linguist Walter Mignolo's decolonialism, Sandoval uses artistic means to investigate alternative forms to the Western world and knowledge order born in the Renaissance.

The first research takes its starting point in the figure of Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizm. His Latin surname (al-Khwārizm) gave the algorithm its name. This Muslim scholar of the IX. was the inventor of many mathematical discoveries, such as algebra. Starting from his figure, it is examined how mathematics was a transnational language that spanned the entire Mediterranean and linked different traditions of thought. They also had a great influence on the aesthetic conception of Islam in terms of architecture and systems of spiritual representation in the world.

The second starting point examines various theories that propose the Inca quipus as a system of calculation and writing. Quipus was a recording system of the Incas, also called “talking nodes”. 

The project takes these two elements as two lines that intertwine in the narrative to question the origins of the computer. The formal development of the exhibition combines the aesthetic tools of both systems of thought and is interested in basal anthropological questions about the origin of our computing systems today. 

Lorenzo Sandoval is an artist, curator and writer. His works question the distribution of space and power through platforms and encounters that promote 'spatial storytelling'. In 2019 he will represent Finland at the Venice Biennale together with the interdisciplinary team of the Miracle Workers Collective.

8.9.18 — 4.11.18

Curated by Dr. Christine Nippe

Schwartzsche Villa

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