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Area Sneaks: Scoli Acosta

Scoli Acosta

In Conversation

March 30, 2007
with Joseph Mosconi and Rita Gonzalez

Scoli Acosta, Nadja, 2001
Photograph, 60 × 90 cm
Image courtesy of the artist

Joseph Mosconi: Scoli, you spent the years 2000-2003 creating art in France. In your book documenting that period you wrote that your work was “constructed as a day to day novel”. Can you explain what you mean by that? How did such a novelization of daily life manifest in your work?

Scoli Acosta: Because of the framework of four years in France, the work became somewhat of a narrative construction. I think that being subjected to my work is like being put inside the middle of a narrative. It has a lot to do with dream structures.

Joseph Mosconi: Dream structures?

Scoli Acosta: An internal logic, vaguely familiar, cyclical as well as linear time. I’ve read interviews with David Lynch in which he speaks of the structure and logic of dreams.

Joseph Mosconi: Much of the art you made in France drew on the life and work of the 19th century poet Gerard de Nerval, who was also interested in the structures of dreams, in a pre-Freudian sense. How did you become interested in his writing?

Scoli Acosta: I first read a book by Rene Daumal called Mount Analogue in Chicago in 1995. In the preface to that book there was some mention of Daumal’s influences, and one of them was Nerval. So I went and bought his book Aurelia, or The Dream and Life, and that’s what I knew about France when I went to Paris. I used Nerval’s work as a springboard to create a series of relationships to other literary and artistic movements. And also to my own existence.

Joseph Mosconi: I remember when we first spoke about our mutual admiration for Mount Analogue – all of a sudden you recited the poem that ends the book. You knew it off the top
of your head.

Scoli Acosta: Yes, I know this poem by heart. It’s one of the few that I know.

I am dead because I lack desire,
I lack desire because I think I possess,
I think I possess because I do not try to give;
Trying to give, you see you have nothing,
Seeing you have nothing, you try to give of yourself,
Trying to give of yourself, you see that you are nothing,
Seeing that you are nothing, you try to become,
Trying to become, you begin to live.

Joseph Mosconi: Does this poem have any other particular significance with the work you made about Nerval? There seems to be a nodal chain of influence moving from Nerval to Daumal to you, and looping back to Nerval. Did you find that one way to “begin to live” was to re-enact the lived experience of Nerval?

Scoli Acosta: There were certain correlations but I wouldn’t say that I was trying to become Nerval. I think that poem resonates in the quotidian.

to read more of this interview please buy issue #1 of Area Sneaks