Roger Bernat (1968, Barcelona, Spain) often works with large teams of collaborators from diverse areas, including internet art, sound design, and documentary theater. Though his projects have predominantly been shown in theater contexts, his devices have also been exhibited in art spaces, particularly in the last decade.
Roger Bernat's work demonstrates the paradox between the crisis of representative democracy and how it unfolds in direct action and in new forms of producing and sharing knowledge, fostered by computer-based technologies, where the roles of sender and receiver are undone. In 2008, Bernat made Domini Públic, a piece in which the public, guided via headphones, "acted" among passers-by in a square, constructing an ephemeral social architecture. In Numax-Fagor-Plus (2014), he devised a re-enactment of the workers' assemblies from two factories – Numax and Fagor – using statements from the workers' struggle as theatrical protocols to create a collective historical subject that no longer exists. In Desplazamiento del Palacio de la Moneda [Displacement of the Palacio de La Moneda] (2014), perhaps the most ambitious of Bernat's projects, various social and neighborhood organizations in Santiago (Chile) moved a model of the Palacio de la Moneda – an icon of democracy in Chile, but also of the coup that destroyed it – to the neighborhood with the lowest income per capita in the city. In all his work, expanded theater becomes a device for an audience that is summoned to be an actor in history.
PIM PAM – Playground [PA PUM – Playground] is an onomatopoeia; a rhythmic game encapsulating an instant that goes back and forth, like a ball hitting the wall in a game of squash. For this installation, artist and dramaturg Roger Bernat and his group FFF created a simple game, with few rules, for whoever wants to play it. Headphones are distributed on trolleys throughout the pavilion. By following the instructions whispered into the headphones, visitors can initiate a strange visit to the Bienal and, at the same time, parasitize it.
PIM PAM – Playground [PA PUM – Playground] evokes a world of direct and indirect protocols in which people are subjected to external forces, successive attacks that emancipate or destroy. During COVID, these directives have increased, conditioning movements and questioning freedoms to an almost irreversible degree. The piece makes us aware of a game that we can only understand as long as we continue to play.
Caroline A. Jones, Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).