You Welded the Ornament of the Times

Federico Díaz, You Welded the Ornament of the Times Federico Díaz, You Welded the Ornament of the Times Federico Díaz, You Welded the Ornament of the Times

You Welded the Ornament of the Times


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movable printing plotter, black ink, canvas, rickshaw, camera on tripod, monitor


Cafa Museum, Beijing, China


Adam Kliment, Jen Kratochvil, Dmitrij Nikitin, Wang Chunchen


This long-term project of Federico Díaz is based on observing the mass ornament, a reference to research by German philosopher Sigfried Kracauer, a member of the Frankfurt School – a sort of mapping of the specific characteristics of an individual’s movement within their own social unit in various parts of the world. Díaz believes each space is co-created by the distinctive nature of the individual’s movement, tiny distinctions in everyday activities.  We all move through our urban environments, consume food, interact with the people in our surroundings, make phone calls, go shopping, point out things that interest us – but each of us does this in a completely unique character that arises from the characteristics of our space. Through his projects, Díaz creates a gradually expanding database of these tiny distinctions, which in the long run may prove crucial to understanding individual identity in an otherwise increasingly globalized world.

The central point of the composition comprises a space removed from time. A space where a mechanic is repairing a rickshaw. A mode of transportation that was prohibited from the streets of Beijing this year, as was the way in which rickshaws were made: welding conducted in small workshops.

A camera records the mechanic – specifically, six individual segments of his movement, his contact with material, the rickshaw he takes apart and puts back together again as if in an infinite loop.

Walls in the museum acts as a canvases for recording the action; an automated plotter system layers traditional ink on the surface, creating a permanent record of this ephemeral activity. Everything is working at the same time. Man and machine. Layers of the real, the immediate and the recorded blend and merge. Everything extols the only reality of the times.