ÆTHĒR Alfonso Borragán Æthēr is the new project that the London-based artist from Santander Alfonso Borragán will present this Friday 8 June at the Slade School of Fine Art, University of London (ULC), on the occasion of his graduation from the Masters course he has been studying over the last two years. The opening will consist of a collective action in which the public will become recipients, bearers and transmitters of the work. The exhibition, which will run until Friday 15 June, is articulated around the traces and recordings of the action and conceived as a ceremony or banquet for the ingesting of the invisible — a journey through the void, with the aid of aromas and weightless gaseous ‘food’. For the menu that will be served at the opening, the artist has worked with the chefs José Manuel de Dios, Miguel Sierra and Jesús Sánchez, while the aromas have been created by the olorVISUAL Collection. The concept of ‘ether’ that gives the exhibition its title refers symbolically to the exploration of the invisible and the researching of the sensory experience of the body in the space that contains it. Those attending the opening will become participants in the ceremony as bearers of the memory of the work. The project is articulated around three elements: a table at which the sensorial journey is initiated with the inhalation of various aromas; two large aerostatic balloons whose particular function is to change the pitch of the voice, making the participants performers in a unique improvised concert, and edible ‘bombs’ filled with different gases. Finally, the documentation of this event will consist in the capturing and compressing of the communal air of the room in a meteorite that will contain the memory of the day. With this project, the artist intends to gauge our other senses and enhance the artistic experience and sensory knowledge beyond the strictly visual. Essentially, the aim is to subvert the monopoly of vision as the privileged sense of modernity, with its consequent saturation and iconic manipulation, and reflect on the immaterial, the indefinable and the all but immeasurable by means of a concept such as ether, loaded with symbolic implications. As in most of his recent interventions, Alfonso Borragán has conceived a project in which the processual and the ephemeral impose themselves on any kind of objectual evidence, exploring the boundaries between interactive action and happening, and emphasizing the dimension of art as a participatory experience immersed in a given context. The closest precedents to this new work are the ritual actions Spherical Dinner and Fosfofagia, in which people ingested spherical and fluorescent foods; Ovomeal, a Sunday lunch with ostrich eggs converted into pinhole cameras, or Lemon Prints, a series of invisible serigraphs printed with lemon juice. He has also carried out everyday and ritual actions in natural settings — walking upstream, surviving on a beach, jumping off cliffs, playing with water, making a pilgrimage to the north, building houses on the beach or in the treetops — and projects close to the strategies of Land Art, such as the construction of cameras obscuras with materials found in nature and converted into tree observatories, as well as sand, ceramic, ice and solar cameras. Alfonso Borragán (Santander, 1983) has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona. He completed his studies with an Masters at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and has taken part in workshops with artists such as Xavier Idoate, Theo Jansen, Antoni Miralda and Antoni Muntadas. He has shown his work at solo and group exhibitions and public events in contexts such as the Fundación Marcelino Botín’s Villa Iris (2008), the Bienal de Arte Efímero in Granada (2009), Bòlit Centre d’Art Contemporani in Girona (2010), the Demolden Video Project (2011), the International Festival of Video Art in Espacio Menos Uno in Madrid (2011) or the tunnels of LABoral in Gijón, Asturias (2011). He has also created and collaborated on projects in Portugal, UK, Austria and Germany. Finally, it is important to note his works as a teacher, giving seminars and running workshops at institutions such as the Aula de Imagen y Sonido at the Universidad de Cantabria or the Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya. Marta Mantecón EXHIBITION DATA: Title: Æthēr Artist: Alfonso Borragán Dates: From 8 to 15 June 2012 Venue: Slade School of Fine Art (UCL), London Times: Friday 8 June: from 6.00 a 9.00 p.m. Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June: from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. From Monday 11 to Thursday 14 June: from 10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.