Curator, text: Livia Dubon
Guo Jie Cai’s conceptual and performative work questions the idea of “belonging” related to the concept of ownership. The artist is thus linked to all the literature, starting with Deleuze and Guattari (1972), which sees in capitalist societies the imposition of the market abstract values against more concrete needs. Moving away from this capitalist logic, by “de-territorializing”, the meaning of ‘land’ can change: it is no longer an abstraction, an agreement on a map, but a series of actions that we perform, in response to what surrounds us, stimulated by material necessities. Perhaps it is not the land that belongs to us, but us to her. Like the concept of “de-colonization”, “deterritorialization” aims to remind us of the relativity of these values and the origin of these concepts: they are a product of the Global North. For Cai, the West has a history characterized by continuous mutilation, violence, and reunification in the name of abstract and political borders. With his work, he wants to remind us of the ‘natural’ state and the need to ‘de-territorialize’ so as to see the land as seamless space, free from the desire of ownership. For this reason, Cai explores the cadastral maps, looking for hiatuses of free ownership which, however small, symbolize a different value. The virtual sale of these spaces, reiterating the process of “re-territorialization” of capitalism, aims to mimic and, at the same time, to challenge the action of institutions which represent this process: states and real estate companies.