On ABSENCE Doings: The Cuts of Disappearance



This essay thinks through the ways in which a theatre director, a performer, and a video maker engage time by means of their specific practices with the camera during the process of creation and performing of What is to Disappear?—What We Not Know about an Empty Chair. The piece explores the notion of absence through practices moved by the process that dissolve the boundaries of bodies and open up the threshold time felt in the middle of and among things, not yet actualized, not quite something. The threshold time constitutes a composite of the affective atmosphere created by this particular performance of the not-known, and this absence/absencing is the topic of this essay. We focus on the virtual potential enabled by the action of the camera during the performance of What We Not Know about an Empty Chair, as a way to transit across the time/space of the not-known. We reflect on how our practices—directing, video making, and performing—co-create and co-compose a different sense and sensing of the camera. Thus the way we “do” our practices generates a different experience of “co-presence” with the camera in the process of making the not-known come into “presencing.” The essay engages with how the camera, and the computer-generated video and holograms with which it interacted, enabled forms of thinking and doing “time,” how they gave access to and yielded excesses of different temporalities as modes of engagement in a process of worldmaking. The engagement with the camera and other technologies in this performance is a way of co-creating through a multiplicity of actions a “surface” of projection, which becomes a pass-through, a way-path, a “wayfinding” where modalities of at-tending and attentions, and modes of attunement to the presencing of the not-known are found across the interval between people and materials.

Author Biographies

Álvaro Hernández, Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas

Álvaro Hernández is a performance artist, theater director, actor, playwright and professor at Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Columbia. He has received a number of international awards, and participated in and created pieces of street theater, physical theater, collaborative theater and other types of performances with artists and communities in Asia, Europe and Latin America. He has collaborated with indigenous communities of Amazon and the region of Putumayo in Colombia and has developed performances with Colombian communities involved in the armed conflict. He has been the artistic director, playwright and dramaturg of Entropico Teatro since 2003, and his project What do we not know about an empty chair—a theatre /video production—premiered in Bogota in September 2016.]

Regina Gutiérrez, UC Davis

Regina Gutiérrez is a multi-disciplinary performing artist and theater educator specialist in the areas of movement, physical theater, and acting—including corporal mime, acrobatics and scenic combat. She has participated in numerous productions as an actress, assistant director, and producer. As a theater educator and researcher of the performing arts she has worked with low income children and adolescents, and on social projects, investigating the theatre body as a vehicle towards knowledge. She has led performances with women from different regions of Colombia on topics such as gender violence and sexual abuse, and has been part of the activist movement involved in the recovery of territory for Afro-Colombian communities as well as in the formation of green movements along the Atlantic Coast of Colombia.

Diego Aguilar, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Diego Aguilar has been, since 2016, professor of Media Art and Art and Technology at the National University of Colombia, professor in the Master of Visual Arts, and Director of the Technopoetics Research Group, which focuses on the dialogue between knowledge between art, science and technology, configuring questions about the photographic, documentary, moving image, optics, screen, narrative and the body. Producer of experimental video and artistic practices in digital and low tech media, he has participated in international exhibitions and festivals in countries such as Spain, Argentina, United States, Indonesia, Germany, Chile, and Colombia—for which he has won several recent awards in holography, video art and experimental video.






Cross-Disciplinary Methodologies