The Blood is Red / The Patterns of Blood
Neon Gallery, Budapest
On the video 'Bluten Tag!'
Seeing blood spill out. Preferably straight from the heart and, moreover, straight from the left ventricle, where, as oxygen saturates hemoglobin, blood's color also becomes saturated with red as the sunshine slides along its smooth fluid surface. It is lacquer fetish: shiny red nail polish, glossy red lips and ruby latex clothing. Such blood may be called perfect.
But that perfection is a transient state, for as soon as blood bursts out of the body, it starts decaying slowly and irreversibly towards a demise. That demise appears in Tamás Komoróczky's video in form of a blood film, spread and dried onto a microscope slide. And if the idea of spilt blood managed to take over our imagination a second ago, the said blood film returns us to the abstraction consensually called objective present, which we experience now collectively.
Like end states reached in the past in general, the state of the blood film is constant in time, allowing us to forget about the trajectory of preceding events, which are likely complex and uncertain. Comforting is the stability of the cracked and dry blood film: its history may be disregarded as easily as that of old masters' cracked paintings.
In contrast, rather disturbing is the transient nature of spilt blood's lacquer fetish perfection. Disturbing, because its decay starts immediately: just when the surgeon's scalpel has penetrated the patient, the researcher's guillotine has decapitated the laboratory rat, or the slaughter knife has cut open the hung cow's belly. Is there no escape from the masses of blood clots covering pieces of flesh? It raises anxiety only to look at the removed tumor, to place the damaged cadaver of the rat into a plastic bag, to wash off brown blood clots from the surgical tools, and even more anxiety to slide in yellow rubber boots on the slaughterhouse's slippery floor mixing fat with blood. It is painful to see blood like a decaying jellyfish that has drifted onshore. Because it is painful to know that the vital equilibria of sugars, amino- and fatty acids, hormones, antibodies, platelets, etc., are becoming just as banally disrupted in shed blood as they are in that doomed jellyfish.
How degrading it is for blood: to be removed from the context of the body it sustains!
For blood, the only worthwhile form is the one that is constantly present throughout the video's fourteen minutes. It is present as light clouds of red blood cells dispersed in a soft flow. It is present as a flashing network recalling the fast arterial flow, and also present as sounds of fluid friction against arterial walls: from deep murmur to sharp scratches.
This ever refreshing form of blood is present also beyond the video; not only is it present in every moment but also percolates everything. Penetrates the brain's gyri, the intestines' villi, the erectile tissue, and, along coronary arteries even the heart's own flesh. Moreover, connects foetus to mother, and Siamese twins with each other. Furthermore, connects the infected of epidemics, inhabitants of tropics via mosquito invasions, and donors with acceptors of blood transfusion. These demonstrate the physical existence of a global circulatory supersystem; therefore, it is quite natural to envision a single, imaginary, global heart driving circulation in the entire supersystem.
To zoom in on blood's substance and confront its homogeneity: as if we scanned a gargantuan microscope slide that carries the complete volume of all blood spread thin on it, we see the same picture everywhere. To confront blood's material nature: though living, it is only matter without consciousness. Although it is a synonym for the great "Everything" in Endre Ady's poetic world, in one poem (Blood and Gold) blood insensitively runs while pleasure moans and pain growls.
From blood's emotionally neutral, tranquil substance, one may glance with apathy at human or even superhuman dramas, like a man's psychosis or the a vampire's destructive, never-ending thirst. Viewed from this substance, the life-changing event of a snake bite or blood oath seems as mere dispersion of snake poison or the blood brother's blood in a statistically irreversible fashion.
The global circulatory supersystem spans even human history. Like a river deposits its sediment at various sites, so have evolving languages been depositing, at various ages, diverse expressions that attest blood's characteristic semantics at any given era. This linguistic journey takes us from the "blood of Christ" to "blood donation marketing", touching en route multiple times the demagogue verbal toolbox of ethnicity-based genocide and suppression. "Bloodline" may be considered the semantic archetype of most expressions, since it is a direct reference to a blood-based model of heredity. Although the genetic theory of heredity had been firmly established by the early twentieth century, the idea of genealogies that run along bloodlines remains deeply embedded in the twenty first century mind.
Can you hear the heart beat and the flap of valves? Minimal techno tracks have been being produced one after another. Their texture, dynamics, expressive qualities and stylistic references varies widely. But almost all of them admits a visceral interpretation both as and also by heart beat. That is no news: already Robert Hood's Minimal Nation, often considered as the genre's landmark album, begins with heart throbs. While dancers involuntarily adopt this visceral interpretation, it may occur to them that they use their perishable body's perishable cardiovascular system to connect with a history-spanning global circulatory supersystem. This revelation seems quite capable of further enhancing dance craze, for which nothing else is required but to lower one's consciousness to the depth of blood vessels, and shake one's body to the bass drum that transmits the beat of that single, imaginary, global heart. Have you also caught yourselves dancing on a techno party and envisioning the venue's all circulatory systems, including the synchronously beating hearts and the pulsating vessels inside the moving limbs?
We are witnessing here the reality of ever-refreshing blood in the vessels' coordinate system. We may look at its network, listen to its sounds, and from its neutral substance view indifferently the pleasures and pains of creatures it sustains; all that in fourteen minute cycles.
Opening speech: Attila Gulyás-Kovács