bibi calderaro
Situation #1
Super-8 film, color.
3:22 minutes
1998

THE FISHING MACHINE

Bibi Calderaro invented the fishing machine. She designed a series of reins that support a Super 8 film camera, put it as a hook in a fishing rod and threw it to the Hudson River in the middle of Manhattan.
I did not actually see it, I was told by her. Maybe it is better this way so that I can imagine her in my mind, her small body sitting next to the fishermen, quiet, concentrated and in silence waiting for an image to bite her bait.
What is most curious is not the proceedings but the circumstances. Such a strange idea: to try finding an image in the center of a city that is an arsenal of images; to practice a displacement of thousands of miles - Buenos Aires/New York - just to end up looking for a maternal uterus in which to find shelter; to use an instrument of such extreme precision such as a camera and subject it to the chances of destiny.
But that is what it is all about. There, within those paradoxes, is where the key of her work is rooted. It doesn’t matter if she fishes with a fishing rod or with the shutter open for an endless time. What is left, the very little that is left, is what most interests her. The light that floods her images, the dazzle, are the traces of some truth that she knows and follows, beyond surfaces.
Bibi has a plot that questions appearances, that doesn’t trust images, that finds “violence in non-violence”, in the repression of not showing. Anybody could argue that within this controversial program with the image, to work with photography is merely being stubborn. That is exactly her challenge: the tension between image and “no-image” is the material used for her construction and what makes it so attractive.
It could be said that hers is a baroque exercise in that it contrasts the pleats and the porosities of a façade, of a complex outside, to an inaccessible and hypothetically truthful inside. However, Bibi opens the game further from the binomial inside-outside. Her white and her goal does not impose but, as the fishing camera does, awaits for the gaze - now the spectator’s - to gain meaning.
As I think of Bibi, other experiments, other searches outside the limits of conscious perception, come to my mind. Either uttering inaudible sounds, creating invisible images or trying to secure the inaccessible, there is always the yearn, the need to capture something that lives among us denying our accessibility to it. While many of these searches try to identify this “something” and turn it precise and visible to the eye, Bibi pushes us to keep on struggling with what is beyond the visible, with what might only be seen with the soul.


Ana Tiscornia
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