Until September 28 at Crisis Galería, Marisabel Arias presents Karaoke Autoortográfico F.S.L. (First Spanish Lesson), an individual exhibition of the Peruvian artist. Under the curatorship of Giselle Girón, the work that Arias presents at Lima’s Gallery is the product of a six months exhaustive work that the artist did in a fictitious Spanish language learning company.


The first instance of production took place in Madrid, the Spanish capital. Arias worked with a typewriter writing in Spanish. "The language was in the hands of a company that would be learning the language for the first time through typing exercises on light-blue A4 sheets," explains Girón in the curatorial text. After that first stage, the artist and the machine travelled to Lima, where in order to represent the bureaucratic work of the first six months in the European country shelves of geometric shapes made of foam were constructed to organize the work.

As Girón explains, all the words that constitute the work are "subjugated to a utilitarian end". In this way, "the systematic and structural forgetting of their visual qualities" are represented in the obligatory and repetitive reading of them. Thus, Arias alludes to the tedium that office workers suffer when reading information that has the purpose of communicating any subject. Karaoke Autoortográfico curator continues: "As tedium increases, we look for ways to avoid it by means of office software such as word processors that allow us to schedule templates for reports or email programs in which we activate automatic responses. This office routine involves a certain amount of loneliness, where the worker - occasionally - talks to him and writes to a screen in a cubicle waiting for an answer in his chair."

However, in another location karaoke’s allow an independent reading of each letter, constituting the language as a "corporal experience mediated by the colored lights and the darkness of the room". The lyrics, determined by a new context or social environment, introduce a new reading pact (in the case of karaoke, listening pact): what once was a unidirectional personal message becomes a multidirectional collective message.

Thus, Arias generates a paradoxical relationship. Karaoke is associated with entertainment, but it is inserted in a work setting. Then, karaoke becomes a possibility to have a good time beyond the nonsense that such work implies. 

In conclusion, Giselle Girón explains: "After looking for different experiences in the city, both on the street and in the internal operations of their buildings, Marisabel gives us a program where the computer tools used allow us to feel as a living experience reading of information generated in this fictitious office. It is about office automation through which we can feel cities from an office cubicle, mess up the reading so that it is a little more real, as well as when we read aloud in a karaoke. It is - perhaps - a new useless software that disorganizes the language to unlearn Spanish without filters, crudely and without self-corrector, which will be used by only one office: the Autookeographic Karaoke F.S.L. "