The Memory of Nature: The Rhythm of Life, by Diógenes Ballester

Today, there is a widening gap between human beings and their environment. Life in cities, where we find comfort and services, increasingly separates us from the rhythms of the natural world. People eager to reconnect with nature face the difficulty of accessing an unknown and deteriorated environment. Some approach cultures that are ancient or different from that of western globalization in search of keys to regain the lost connection, and one of them is Puerto Rican artist Diogenes Ballester (Ponce, 1956), who perceives himself as an “arteologist” or an archaeologist artist. In the exhibition Memory of Nature: The Rhythm of Life, Ballester uses art and technology to bring to the present moment a millennial knowledge, coming from Hindu Tantric philosophy but also connected with the Taino and Yoruba worldview, which make it especially relevant in the context of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

Ballester’s proposal consisted of four large format paintings and assemblies representing the five tattvas or energies of natural elements: Akash (ether), Vayú (air), Teyas (fire), Apas (water) and Prithvi (earth). The installation also had virtual content, which was accessed from a three-dimensional module in the center of the room with monitors connected to the Internet. The lighting of paintings and sculptures changed throughout the day, following the cosmic cycles of energies in the exact location of the museum in Ponce. In this way, in Memory of Nature, Ballester used art to encourage the visitor to connect with the energies of the natural environment and reflect on the importance of its care.