Modelling Standard exclusive

Modelling Standard
A project by Erick Beltrán and Jorge Satorre. Curated by Catalina Lozano
9 September3 October
FormContent – London

As inaugural event of this season FormContent presented Modelling Standard, an elaborated artist project that brings together philosophy, science, art and graphic novel. We here present the concept overview of the show and a loose and fragmentary reconstruction of the performance that marked the exhibition opening as narrated by Jorge Satorre and Erick Beltrán. The text, written by Caterina Riva (one of the founders of FormContent), will be accompanied by the surreal images of Aviña, a mexican illustrator who took part in the project. Right now his drawings are set as wall paper in the gallery.

Concept Overview

(from press release)

Modelling Standard takes as a point of departure the radical historiographic turn introduced by Carlo Ginzburg in the 1970s who focused on localised, popular and disregarded micro-histories rather than universal, over-arching versions. The title Modelling Standard references the scientific concept of the Standard Model used in physics to explain the almost invisible interactions occurring between subatomic particles.

Erick Beltrán and Jorge Satorre use both micro-historical methods and the metaphor borrowed from physics to create connections between small, insignificant hints and traces. These are taken from their heterogeneous references to build seemingly unlikely connections between literary references, personal experiences, historical data, trivia and scientific facts through the construction of a diagram. The result is a series of caricatures and texts through which the artists will construct a detective plot where Sigmund Freud, Carlo Ginzburg, Giovanni Morelli, Aby Warburg, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Joe Orton are the protagonists.

During the opening evening the artists will perform the construction of this narrative while setting up the display of the work; during the lecture-performance the white walls of FormContent will be transformed in active surfaces where the hints and links between them will become apparent.

A loose and fragmentary Reconstruction

by Caterina Riva

The drool envelops everything and makes the objects indistinguishable.

A method of inquiry needs to be decided, artists Jorge Satorre and Erick Beltrán and the pencil of Mexican illustrator Aviña summon the characters to debate a viable approach.

With Italian historiographer Carlo Ginzburg the idea of ‘moral imagination’ is presented, i.e. a research carried out through the multiple lives embodied in novels’ protagonists, like the miller Menocchio.

Analyses and investigations are equally central to the reasonings, applied to different fields, of Sigmund Freud, Giovanni Morelli, Aby Warburg and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sherlock Holmes, one of the detectives of this story, rummages through the trash to find the “Virgin Threads” that could make the plot progress.

Ariadne, according to Greek mythology, saves Theseus from the Minotaurus giving him a red thread to find his way back from the meanders of Crete’s royal palace.

Jung and Darston’s methods follow, together with Warburg that applies phenomenological psychology and introduces the idea of a memory of forms. So when Aviña sketches the naked body of Andromeda for one of his strips, his drawing becomes the popular canon of feminine beauty for Mexican readers.

Then the figure of Ramachandra enters the picture, he has been specializing on sensory feedbacks in the body, and in particular on the functioning of phantom limbs. There is an episode from Dr. House that employs Rama’s discoveries in order to heal the pain of a patient with a phantom limb. House achieves that by dividing the sensory from the visual perception, the pain is generated and erased by the mind through the aid of a mirror device.

In the next step ‘apohenia’ is defined as “the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data”, while ‘anagnorisis’ as “the moment in a play when a character makes a critical discovery”.

In this passage, the characters of the wizard of Oz have the faces of the members of Pink Floyd (The Dark Side of The Moon) and we resort to film director Michelangelo Antonioni’s technical narrative.

The French literary group of Oulipopo provides instead the rules and coordinates for writing about the perfect crime. Following similar patterns and methodologies Fantomas appears, the cartoon is designed in Mexico by the hands of Aviña, the same of this story.

Scientific research comes next with its charts, concepts of matter, energy fermions and quarks.

What our characters (whether writers, doctors, detectives, judges) are after are symptoms, traces, features.

What is then the Evidential Paradigm?

A monster with too many heads and a snake-like body has been created.

A crime is perpetrated on Ridley Road in Dalston, where FormContent is located. Which one is the weapon? Who will interpret the Rosetta Stone? Who will crack the code?

The information is fragmentary and confusing. We should ask for the intervention of a Leviathan to sort things out and help us distinguish from devilish traps. Devil’s Rules and Virgin Threads restart the loop, in a continuous questioning of any truth written in stone.



Modelling Standard is the first collaborative project of artists Jorge Satorre and Erick Beltrán. It is a collaboration between Gasworks, FormContent and the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS) at Birkbeck College. It has been supported by Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural en el Exterior (Seacex), AECID (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacinal para el Desarrollo) and LCACE (London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange).