Remembering the future Albarrán Cabrera

“Time moves in one direction, memory another. We are that strange species that constructs artifacts intended to counter the natural flow of forgetting.” - William Gibson.

On one of the pages of this book there is a spider suspended from a gossamer silk thread. Silhouetted against the sky, it dangles precariously against an expanse of water that stretches away from us, towards a mountainous coastline.

The spider is large within the picture frame, almost as if magnified. However the melancholy clouds and hilly landscape looming behind only emphasize the vulnerability of its size and life span.

We are all at the mercy of nature – small creatures that exist on a planet that is overwhelming in its complexity. Albarrán Cabrera hone in on these details of existence.

With a lightness of touch they seek out what might be overlooked or perceived as insignificant and imbue it with essence.

A snow-capped mountain topped by a hazy moon
a school of fish darting through a deep underwater chasm;
cherry blossom absorbing the final rays of the setting sun
and a Lilliputian swathe of geese flying south over an infinite mountain range, in search of warmer climes.

All these visions become interwoven tales of presence, absence, fragility and permanence. Within each apparently irrelevant detail lies a microcosm of activity and significance.

When the spider set out to build its web, from what I imagine was a precarious outcrop, buffeted by a somewhat unsteady breeze, did it visualize the outcome and plan accordingly? When it completed the task, did it look back and ponder on the path it had taken?

It is said that one of the things that differentiates us from the other creatures on this planet is our ability to imagine multiple outcomes for a single future event. When we embark on a project, we can visualise the different avenues along which we might steer a path.

And when our journey is complete, we do look back.

However, when we turn to contemplate the course we have taken, the trodden path mutates as our memory falters.

Despite the intensity of our experiences, the memories of them fade.

Pictures can assist us with this limitation and a photograph not only has the power to embellish our reminiscences, but can even create a ‘memory’ from scratch. Pictures from, and of, the past can become our reality. Is this because we subconsciously consider the physical photograph to be more reliable than the intangible recollection?

The pictures in this book provide us only with traces of human existence: manmade walls and fences that denote the division of space;
a pair of hands that present us with a globular sphere,
or the rear view of a woman in a kimono who becomes fused with her context.

However, they all seek to inspire our imagination and conjure up distant emotions or echoes of our own past experiences. They portray fragile, intangible and fleeting moments of impermanence, warmth, shadow, water and light,

and pose as if they might be long-forgotten thoughts or vaguely remembered sensations, somehow re-kindled. They awaken our senses and become stories. Once caught up in an internal web, they now unravel, rise to the surface and are released into a meditative effervescence that takes us back to a place, a moment, a sensation that is all but erased. They tell of worlds within worlds.

Albarrán Cabrera create their work using vintage techniques, processes and materials. Like a spider’s web they are exquisitely made, as if by craftsmen of yesteryear. On first approach their clarity is poignant. After time, they feel dreamed up, rather than factual, misty as if faded with time.

Perhaps they are not memories at all, but rather dreams of the future.

Text by Amanda Renshaw.

Remembering the Future by Albarrán Cabrera | Photographs: Angel Albarrán, Anna Cabrera | Text: Amanda Renshaw | Publisher: RM Editorial | 64 pages Year: 2018 | ISBN: 978·84·17047·51·1
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Albarrán Cabrera


Albarrán Cabrera

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