( ) is based on the daily scrutiny, collection, and transcription of selected material from the online version of the newspaper El Espectador (The Spectator), during the period from 2012 until 2014. The collection of the material always follows the same process: I only gather daily ‘flash news’ (news in brief) of violent events occurring in Colombia. The reason behind this specific selection of information is the manner in which the high number of daily incidents is presented to the reader through a dramatized version of reality that is presenting complex problems in a simplified and alarming form. This is ultimately a faulty means of depicting reality and these reports are soon consigned to oblivion due to the large number and frequency of violent events. When reading the continuing news, the reader sees a disarray of accounts, obsessive repetition of the same, unedited images and texts, and a collapse of distinctions between actual information, rumour, and speculation.
The proposition is that the only way to approach this reality is within the language of subjectivity and emotions. By approaching the news only within its omissions and repetitions, spaces, periods, commas, and question marks, too often impossible to decipher. This work is presented as a text without the text, as a site of working-through these culturally loaded media materials, a production of meaning via signs in which the cultural reception, that is the reader, is vital.
The action undertaken in this work consists of reading the selected newspaper daily and as soon as the news is selected, gathered and filtered, it is transcribed through the erasure of all its words, leaving only the punctuation marks – the layout of the online newspaper is left unaltered. The procedure is repeated every day for almost three years, spanning from November 2012 to June 2014; and it will index the constant tension engendered by the impossibility of understanding. In this way, the continuity of this gesture of erasure as transcription will present the news in the form of broken language: the blanks and gaps left by words. Here the signs occupy the surface and the surfaces record the time of existence of the action, a sign of trace. Accounts are no longer present, but their traces (through punctuation marks) bear the psychological imprint of the deleted text.