Jason Mena: Blind Fields

Jason Mena Tribunal Supremo de Puerto Rico 2008 Jason Mena: Blind Fields

What happens if we look directly at the sun? The reflections of our bright star allow us to see things, colors and forms. The illumination produced on the objects makes them visible to our eyes and allows us to establish a multiplicity of relations with them. It seems paradoxical to think that the excess of illumination, emitted by the sun, bewilders our sight creating blind fields in our perception. Light is, at the same time, a source of clarity and the reason for concealment of a vision field. Jason Mena explores the sun’s intervention and of its bright light in the life of the contemporary urban subject-persona. This exploration is the result of his experience as a flaneur in the streets of San Juan during a sunny day.  This event is documented in a series of photographs called “Blind Fields”. “Photography encompasses a time interruption at the same time as it creates on paper a double of reality”.[1] This double of reality produces numerous formal, philosophical, anthropological, socio-economic and even mystical questions.

Jason Mena Banco Popular 2008 Jason Mena: Blind Fields

The light spectrum reflects geometrical abstract forms that create luminous constellations of an imperceptible field between pure light and clarity that lighten up the rest of the elements of the photographic composition. This image produces a durable strength in the viewer, who reflects upon its components: the light, the sun, the sky, the space, the architecture, the urban landscape, the political and economic system, and all the myths related to the sun. An everlasting reflection is one that opposes the forces of cosmology and cosmogony. For science, the sun is a gas giant that emits light and heat, located at the center of one planetary system in a universe. For religion’s phenomenology “it is a fact that daytime regime of spirit is dominated by the solar symbol”[2].  Since ancient times, divinities have been related with the sun as life giver, and the one allowing growth and movement on Earth. Anyways, no matter how we look at it, the sun is always there.

Jason Mena Departamento de Justicia 2008 Jason Mena: Blind Fields

Spaces of pure light take up most of Jason Mena’s photographic compositions. The blinding light contrasts with perceptible elements, such as government buildings, banks, and commemorative monuments. These refer to archetypical structures of capitalist societies, representing institutions of political and economic power, the commemoration of a national identity and the historical fact of the Nation-State. In some of the photographs of this series, it is possible to see different architectural styles side by side creating consecutive spaces of contrasting aesthetics. In words of Friedrich Nietzsche “a civilization is first and foremost the unity of an artistic style in every manifestation of a group of people”.[3] In Latin America all artistic styles coexist. Can we talk about a Latin American civilization when, clearly, there is no stylistic unity in our architecture and other artistic forms? Are we positively sure that scientific knowledge is indisputable? How do we know if reality is in fact another myth? Can we trust in the political and economic institutions when in broad daylight they appear hidden in brightness? I feel inspired by Jason Mena’s message on what remains hidden in the bright light: the uncertain part that we cannot see in the buildings sustaining power; questioning their truthfulness or falseness. To that part of our civilization that is imperceptible. What can we really see in the light?

-Alejandro Sordo Guzmán

[1] Roland Barthes. The splendid camera, 22

[2] Mircea Eliade. Treaty of history of relegions, 124

[3] Friedrich Nietzsche. Consideraciones intempestivas. I. Davis Strauss el confesor y el escritor. , 1

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