The man on the image, Ricardo Barrientos alias Pulgarcito of Argentinean nationality wrote these poems around the year 1996, time I met him, when living in the streets of Buenos Aires.

In the year 1998 he exile to Europe with an idea of reaching Paris and living under one of the bridges of the Seine river. The reason of his sudden departure was because of the loss of all his writings through negligence of a mental institution. Those writings, which he had been working on since the 80', were his only belongings.

His life by then was one of wandering and of reflecting his experiences, thoughts and philosophy through his poems.

In his attempt to realize his ideal in Paris he ended up in another mental institution for 2 and a half years. The reason was that he took off his cloths in front of a cafe after being denied the prolongation of his stay after only one coffee consumption.

When the institution releases him he would go back to the same cafe to ask for the coffee he was being denied. Since they wouldn’t allow him in, he would undress once more. This situation was repeated around 7 times in that laps of coming and goings over the 2 and a half years at the hospital.

After that period the French government decided to deport him back to his homeland, something he refused. By force the border police dragged him in the Air France AF416 flight on the 30th of December 2002. Bound by his hands and ankles and with the chest being pressed on his knees, he suffers a heart attack before the departure of the plane. He was 52 years old.

The French border police claimed his death was due to a cardiac arrest and considered it a 'natural death'.

With Nowhere, Sebastian Diaz Morales continues to reflect upon essential questions of human existence, over and through time, considering the courses and routes that living and being in the world takes today: now/here. Exhibited for the first time at Le Plateau in Paris 2005, Nowhere is a work in progress. The footage used for the installation was shot in the late 1990s, Diaz Morales' engagement with the writings of Ricardo Barrientos aka Pulgarcito ('little thumb') could well date back even further. Diaz Morales' installation for Le Plateau consists of three video projections on engraved wall, along with a small campfire projected on wood and situated in a corner of the space. The video sequences of Barrientos' wanderings on the walls will fade to white, revealing the poems engraved and also - along with the proposition of 'a life', of taking the ideas of the poet and thinker as example for a potential way of assimilating human existence - a new formal tendency in Diaz Morales' latest works: using the scriptural against cinematic conventions as another means of scratching the surface of the image, adding layers and exposing the strata of the visual to another perception, another way of uttering existence. In film, says Diaz Morales, the idea unfolds between the space and the time of the narrative, in the action and movement of its elements and characters. Breaking with the given frame of a single channel projection, installation works such as Nowhere successfully attempt to extend the idea even further, reflecting and doubling it, thus creating a duality of world and image, a virtually ontological split between the seen and the perceived - nowhere and now here - asking us not to rest on the surface too long.

Video Installation / 3 video projections and intervention in walls / 1997/2005


Installation view at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2006-07

Video images by Carlos Barrientos and Sebastian DM


Link to Poems from Ricardo Barrientos Alias Pulgarcito  Spanish / English