Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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Before The Story Ends, 2016
RAMOS: Hi Bert
RODRIGUEZ: hi. is this you?
RAMOS: this is me
RODRIGUEZ: ha ok
RAMOS: thank you for joining me
RODRIGUEZ: of course. sorry we had some hicups
RAMOS: happens all the time
it's easy to postpone in the virtual world
RODRIGUEZ: yes. well, good news is everything is virtual anyways so this is just one layer deeper in
RAMOS: everything is virtual?
RODRIGUEZ: well, nothing is real.
RAMOS: what is your definition of real?
RODRIGUEZ: I might be in the middle of defining that.
I think nothing might be real.
which i guess means everything is or something
who the fuck knows.
actually nothing is the realist thing I can think of.
because there is no nothing.
RAMOS: what are you?
RODRIGUEZ: we're really getting right into it huh?
RAMOS: right into it is right
RODRIGUEZ: I'm just an idea. learning itself.
RAMOS: how was the idea of you manifested?
or rather what was the origin?
RODRIGUEZ: you mean before I learned I was an idea?
RAMOS: or before you became an idea
RODRIGUEZ: oh ok.
RAMOS: you had to already be to learn that you were an idea
what came before that?
RODRIGUEZ: besides the obvious which is my parents having the idea and then boning and making me a "thing"...
well that's the rub right?
in order to be, you have to know
or you never knew you were or are
I mean don't spend much time thinking about themselves, they just are
RAMOS: that would be it if there was something - but there is nothing
RODRIGUEZ: well, yeah, everything is the same as nothing
RAMOS: except ideas
those are different as far as i've gathered
because you are an idea
RODRIGUEZ: not even that actually, because if everything is everything even an idea, it cannot know it exists
it has no comparison to itself.
so even if I were the idea of everything, I wouldn't know because I would be everything.
RAMOS: what if you were a little piece of everything
and only had a little piece of knowing
thats how I know, at least I think so, haha.
RAMOS: that makes sense
so you told me today was a very special day
RODRIGUEZ: well, actually, i got the dates wrong. I thought we were initially speaking next Tues for some reason. which is my birthday, which is also my first day as Norberto, sans Bert.
RAMOS: and there are 4 days left according to your instagram
RODRIGUEZ: so actually, today is just Thursday. nothing too special about Thursdays.
yes. 4 days left for Bert.
which is me currently.
RAMOS: what happens in 4 days
it is your birthday
RODRIGUEZ: Well, Bert, who is me right now, ceases to exist.
RAMOS: how so?
and why then?
RODRIGUEZ: ok so, Bert, who has been living this life for the past 35 or so years is going to be leaving and Norberto, which is my birth name will emerge as the true director of my life.
I, (Bert) have always had this feeling that I was being watched or cared for, or looked after, etc. Like a guardian angel of sorts.
in the past year, that feeling has grown.
RAMOS: what does that have to do with changing the name?
RODRIGUEZ: well, Norberto is my actual name. But, I've never used it publicly since growing up it was slightly embarrassing and frustrating as no one could ever pronounce it.
So I just adopted Bert because it was easier and more accessible to everyone around me. Even my family who gave me the name in the first place.
I mean though, the name is just a signifier for a much larger, more complex transformation that's going on inside of me.
the name doesn't really mean anything besides it being very convenient that it's my real name and I've never used it.
RAMOS: it is a symbol of acceptance in a way
a gesture of self esteem
or honesty maybe
what does that have to do with the guardian?
RODRIGUEZ: the guardian thing is just the fact that Norberto has been the person inside of or surrounding me who's actually been driving the car.
Like the wizard of Oz. the man behind the man.
RAMOS: so you will become the guardian now
as if Norberto was you higher self
or is... and now you are giving up your lower self
RODRIGUEZ: exactly, he is my higher self. right on.
RAMOS: the higher self that is perhaps more of a little piece of everything
a bit more connected
RODRIGUEZ: he's the one who has been watching and guiding me to become who I am so that he could eventually take over and complete whatever the fuck it is we're suppose to do.
while we're here.
yep. more of the everything in everything
RAMOS: and he seems to have more insight than you
he know what you are meant to do
RODRIGUEZ: Norberto created me (actually as an art piece) to see if I (Bert) could get to place by being and learning over time where the circumstances allowed for him (Norberto) to finally emerge as a reasonably complete being.
RAMOS: who am i really talking to?
RODRIGUEZ: it's a therapists wet dream really.
i guess Bert doesn't really exist
RODRIGUEZ: well, you're kind of talking to both of us. it's a little weird
RAMOS: no i understand
you are the creation
and are in the illusion that you exist
and you are doing a good job
and in a way i will miss you when you are gone
RODRIGUEZ: oh well, thanks.
I mean, he's really not going anywhere.
RAMOS: oh hi Norberto
RODRIGUEZ: Norberto will still have all of his memories and experiences
RAMOS: you will
RODRIGUEZ: or I will have all of my...
it's a little confusing right now because I'm so close to the shift.
RAMOS: no worries
The good news is that time is the first thing to go so, tense is irrelevant.
RAMOS: time is a form of currency isn't it
RODRIGUEZ: me, I, him, all that bullshit is useless when you are completely present.
Yeah, it has power so, people give it value and that creates a system of currency but, it's not real so, fuck them.
RAMOS: how do you stay in the present?
and in a way compress the past and future into it
RODRIGUEZ: That said, as "things" go time is the most valuable
RAMOS: so that none of it matters
RODRIGUEZ: oh, I don't know, I only have glimpses at this point.
LOL. at this point... thats funny