What Science Missed

25 September – 13 October 2016

Pinto Art Museum

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There is a weight and lightness in memory. The transience of fleeting moments capsulized in objects and documents otherwise forever lost in time. In “What Science Missed,” Mark Justiniani creates the first of a series of partial remembrances and collaborations with his grandfather, Jesus Justiniani, through his father’s recent discovery of family archives. Initially known to the artist as a typically firm progenitor, there is a re-acquaintance to his grandfather’s particular kind of artistic playfulness and childlike innocence. Aside from being an experienced mechanic and an advocate of science, anecdotes on his love for music and writing emerge—a creativity that germinated in spite of his experiences during the Japanese occupation. 

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The works partly embedded in cement speak of an unearthing of the past and at the same a burying by time.  The gravity of the material intentionally emulates unfinished pillars of an edifice, a structure of history and nostalgia. Yet also in this process, Justiniani adapts the same play and experimentation of his grandfather, as both share a curiosity and awe for creating despite the gap in generations. The artist’s renewed love for machines and sense of wonder underlies the solidity of the pieces, putting emphasis on the layers of weightlessness and heaviness in the act of remembering.

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This duality is further explored in the artist’s reintroduction of things from people of a certain past. Recollections are never straightforward, as it is mired with subjectivity; but when rooted in objects, it becomes shared. These personal finds then turn into a general reminiscence for the age before the digital. Taking his grandfather’s records as starting points, items that remind us of earlier times are tinkered and reconstructed, as it is in one’s recollection, into the visibly recognizable yet compounded with various elements. Typewriters, accordions, scales and open-line telephones, among other things, forge links to a forgotten era. The works become artifacts and its audiences like explorers of a lost land.

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There is no linearity as one navigates the works in the space. Instead, there are only moments and snippets lined next to each other. True to the character of memory, the exhibition depicts visually how it is we remember. There, time seems frozen. In the idleness of the exhibition, there seems to be an orchestra of sounds: one of music, another of the clicks of the typewriter and yet another of the tick of the metronome; one his grandfather’s and another of his family’s; one of the artist’s and another of our own pasts. The cacophony of voices leads the path towards understanding the meanings behind the compositions of the pieces. Through its lightness, one enters; while through its weight, one remains.

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 Iris Ferrer