Nayda Collazo-Llorens – Mindscapes
by Gamaliel R. Herrera
Director’s introduction essay to the exhibition Mindscapes
at Space Other, Boston, 2006
On Exactitude in Science
...In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the Map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map,inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.
J. A. Suárez Miranda, Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV, Cap. XLV, Lérida, 1658
[Jorge Luis Borges. A Universal History of Infamy (1935), in Collected Fictions (New York: Viking Penguin, 1998), p. 325). Translated by Andrew Hurley.]
The works of Nayda Collazo-Llorens invite us to reflect on our notions of the model of the sign, make us think about relational systems, about arbitrariness, about indexes, about iconic and symbolic modes of representation. The combination of apparently easy marks, texts, gestures, objects, images and sounds in her works goes from the most simple syntax to establishing axes, conceptual relations, sequential relations, spatial relations. The web created by her developed iconography offers a profound insight towards a practice of analyzing structures and systems.
For Mindscapes, Collazo-Llorens worked with a series of elements from her repository creating a complex information system, configured within the physical space of the Space Other gallery. As a viewer, the works of Nayda Collazo-Llorens shown in Mindscapes bring to mind or establish a connection to several concepts that are found in contemporary thought, and to two dear short stories for postmodernity written by master escapist Jorge Luis Borges: On Exactitude in Science (transcribed above), and The Circular Ruins found on The Aleph and Other Stories.
The exhibition begins with the video Infinite / Infinito (2005, 1:25’), which confronts the viewer at the entrance. The viewer either makes a pause before descending into the space of the gallery or is in the position of having to come back to check out or ignore what he or she has missed. This short video sets the tone of what is to come, it is an introduction to the motif of the circle which repeats itself in drawings and in the installation Ceremony #2 / Ceremonia #2 (1999-06), revealing the artist’s concern with sequences and temporality. In Nayda’s work, sequence may not be an order, but establishing a sequence is a requisite and endless process of decoding an object, a mark, a gesture, a sound, an image or a text, a sheer capacity for thought and expression prior to any insertion into a structure.
The video piece titled Roaming (2005, 5:18’) attests to the practice (praxis) of decoding a structure. Decoding this structure within the space of the monitor appears to be an ‘infolding’ of what is going on in the room, the site specific tape-vinyl wall intervention Mindscapes (2006). A multitude of lines arrive and converge, without subordination to chronology, history or linear causation. They proceed by ‘infolding’, and describe not so much a relationship between objects than a transformation, something that happens to a system, reminding us perhaps of the figure of the ‘implex’ of Deleuze and Guattari. 
The wall intervention may be seen as a representation of a ‘map’ that proliferates and leads into a ‘territory’, suggesting oppositions or a sort of journey that takes place within the space of the gallery: from light to darkness, from process to experience, from self-consciousness to more obscure and personal psychoanalytical inflections. At the beginning of his Precession of Simulacra, Jean Baudrillard writes about the map of Borges’ On Exactitude in Science, referring to it as an allegory to simulacrum. While Nayda’s appropriation and utilization of concepts and methodologies related to structuralist semiotics may raise the question or refer to the act of tracing and to the ubiquitous phenomenon of simulacrum, I believe her work is most deeply appreciated thinking of the map as a rhizome, or of the rhizome as “a map and not a tracing”. 
“To be rhizomorphous is to produce stems and filaments that seem to be roots, or better yet connect with them by penetrating the trunk, but put them to strange new uses.”  The tape intervention goes around and beyond the second video, and leads us into the room with the drawing suite titled Numbered Series (2003-2005). As a viewer approaching these drawings, it is helpful to attempt to strip-out all the materialist redundancy from the side of the investigation itself - the assumptions of notions of abstraction, intentionality, subjectivity, interpretability. What remains are assemblies of functionally interconnected coincidental information deposits. The drawings show a progressive complexity as one moves within the space of the room towards darkness.
Deleuze and Guattari write in A Thousand Plateaus that “what distinguishes the map from the tracing is that it is entirely oriented towards the experimentation in contact with the real”. And it is the reality of looking at a city from above, of looking at places and spaces whose visions blur due to a changing speed and vortex, with which the artist puts us in contact on the two channel video installation Channel V4 (2004, 4:32’). This is a reality of nomadic existence, of displacement, of living in constant movement and turbulence, of changing landscapes and languages. However, it is a textual space that has been transformed through the development of hyperlinks that activate or promote the occupation of a “smooth space”.
While showing a concern with the role of the subject, deep psychoanalytical inflections are revealed on Nayda’s hanging installation Ceremony #2/Ceremonia #2 (1999-06), to me a literal reminder of The Circular Ruins. This is the story about a man who dreams of dreaming the dream of a man, only to be awaken by the thought that he himself is dreamt by another; he is itself another dream. I find that Ceremony #2/Ceremonia #2 (1999-06) is perhaps best understood if one stays away from rational paradigms and dwells into the territory of (?) meaningful dreams, abysmal experiences, and the process of becoming. According to Kinzie, The Circular Ruins is an affirmation of faith in the metaphysical or magical nature of art, but without the salvation such faith customarily guarantees. 
Ceremony #2/Ceremonia #2 (1999-06) and the suite of drawings that ensues in the darkness at the end of the gallery best conduct the viewer to a world that “embodies a super-order of superposition rather than arraying an order of substitution”. Attention is in tension, “a hesitant self-definition in suspension. Not an extending out of matter into thought-substitution, nor a doubling of perception by thought: a folding of thought into matter, at a point of indistinguishability with perception. Matter self-perceiving, doubling itself with its variations.” 
The territory of Mindscapes may attempt to echo, translate, deconstruct, or decreate a modernist formulation of the notion of the text. I find this vision is somehow connected to those found in the short stories of Jorge Luis Borges. These are escapes of infinite artifice, circular and recursive undefined reality.
Gamaliel R. Herrera
 Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. University of Minnesota Press, 1987.
 Kinzie, Newman. Prose for Borges. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1972.
 Brian Massumi, Event Horizon. From DEAF98 Symposium The Art of the Accident.