Emmanuel Sarmiento

Savage Garden 2019
Pippi 4 Ever 2019

You’re high, holding hands, in an unfamiliar living room. A flash of light, your arms are bruised and there’s glitter on your eyelids because you’re a cliché... but you’re also the first and the last person that has stood here, on some sort of precipice. A sense of pride and fear considering the amalgamation of moments and influences that brought you here, and they’re playing back all of a sudden, at 60 frames per second, with a soundtrack to boot.

To anticipate a loss before it has occurred is a destabilising feeling; there is the impulse to mourn a time, place, feeling and friendship you haven’t fully realised, and at the same time, an impulse to refuse that loss by capturing these moments at the instant of their constant disappearance.

Emmanuel’s collage works and pencil drawings feel like that anticipation: adorning a suit of armour to face the ephemeral, pulsing ambience. Looking into the whirlpool and attempting to pause it, creating an artefact of a disparate and communal history.

The nods to a stream of pop culture, and understood aesthetic sensibility leave us to consider how we construct our identities online and in late capitalism: by collaging bits and pieces of our cultural landscape to cohere a self.

The increasingly rapid rate at which culture and images are distributed and consumed requires a correlating acceleration in the rate that we assume and discard identities. Being hooked up to the pop culture matrix often feels like the agitated buffering of a putlocker stream, in which we are subject to a hyper-emotional sensitivity, and an inability to synthesise time into any unified and logical narrative.

Slices of a common experience, uncannily preserved, yet spinning and liquid. Staring back at this vast collective memory of intersecting fragments, supplying meaning where you’d initially only seen circumstance; it’s beautiful and it’s disappearing.

Text by Millie Dow

Rival Battle Rapper 2019