Evil Eye. The Parallel History of Optic and Ballistic
Curated by Ana Teixeira Pinto and Oier Etxeberria Bereziartua
TABAKALERA. International Centre of Contemporary Culture, Donostia
27 January – 4 June 2023

The exhibition on display in Tabakalera is the result of an investigation by the curators Ana Teixeira Pinto and Oier Etxeberria. As a prelude to the exhibition, a seminar of the same name was held in Tabakalera in November 2022.

This investigation revolves around the – never neutral – gaze, as well as optics, and more specifically the critical analysis of how techno- logical advances in optics feed into wider military developments. This parallel history of optic and ballistic technologies converges in a device that is a good example of the technical advances in both fields, and also their grey areas: the drone. This machine – a remote-controlled camera – can be used for entertainment, leisure, audio-visual production, surveillance, or unfortunately, as is increas- ingly customary, for war. As the curatorial text phrases it: the drone is a camera that can kill.

Analysing the development of optics from a critical and cultural per- spective means talking about the gaze, a gaze that, in a history marked by white colonialism, is neither neutral nor innocent, but structured by ideological and intentional parameters. Therefore, to talk about the gaze is also to talk about subjectivity and otherness, projection and representation, transparency and opacity, as well as the political impli- cations of these concepts, in their racialised and gendered dimensions.

Through works by contemporary artists of different nationalities, this exhibition seeks to question and parse the relationships of power that have characterised this form of gaze. The artistic positions brought together by this project seek to open fissures in order to invert the logic that governs contemporaneity and provide new angles of vision.

The exhibition contains five specially commissioned works, two of which are from Basque artists: Azucena Vieites and Izaro Ieregi González. In addition, it will be possible to learn about case studies developed with the department of public programmes at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.