7 (2004), Nr.2/June



Roteiro. 4317 Characters.


Were it for art this object deserved the highest predicate that today’s aesthetic judgments can spend. Already the semantics is rich. Roteiro – sounding like the name of a soccer star – is the rotating thing, the ball, is the rot-air or turned-air or tournament or rather a rotated a ball more in the air than on the ground appropriate to today's ever quicker games. Yet the Roteiro is a rot-Euro, a European Union roulette ball coining money as far as to explicitly declaring to compete economically with the USA. And of course is meant the "roteiro" of Portugal captain Vasco da Gama, a map with describing the necessary turns to circumnavigate hindrances alluding to the quest of the other team's defense – today in Portuguese language referring to the travelling route, city map and, with a wink, even TV program. Maybe this name is only an objectivation of frozen laughter (Horkheimer/Adorno). All the more this spheral object itself draws the utmost attention. Merely a pure object of design and lighter than the balls 30 years ago the Roteiro represents the last link of the chain of footballs now very remote from the sewn platonic construction of hexa-/pentagonal leather pieces. The ball: silver grey with a tender peachy pink in it not unlike the surface of those monochrome still standing actors you can find on the St. Peter's places of the world. This world is mirrored given the strong natural or artificial light as in these football stadiums in June 2004. This time the ball for the first time has become virtual. Multiplied into the many balls thrown into the haltless games is it the simple substance of a living mirror capable of representing the world (Monadology, no. 83). Or is it just a loss of thingness resulting in enhanced visual, acoustic and tactile appearance? But then indeed an artfulness is needed to make up for the phenomenality, to recover the objecthood by a heavy rotation designo. Colour, what else? The lineament, that is ornament. The Roteiro ornament is not floral, not organic. According to the last 15 year's anti-ornament tendencies an all over ornament – obligatory with football for decades – is required of a kind that allows today to be sublated by activate gifs, those little miniature images in permanent repetitive motion invented about 1997 for homepages, signs like the traffic sign of a shoveling worker rebuilding (the homepage) or an opening/closing mailbox – these internet specific ornaments, these activate gif ornaments on a superior third dimension level only do what is needed to be an ornament and the object to be represented as well. So does Roteiro. Of course nobody will have overlooked the strange black drawing applied to the ball. Attractive because hardly recognizable at first glance, the gestalt in the run shows to be composed of four coordinate “+” connected horizontally in a row (++++) and bent around the ball thereby its prongs focusing like spider lines toward imaginary points of a spheral axis. The demand for geometrical, for instance symmetrical construction as a basis of the ornament (Owen Jones) is perfectly obeyed here. Also if their is a proof that ornament may have originated in represention it is delivered by the Roteiro ball. The Mercator projection grid of the globe appears to be reduced here to the smallest possible structure destined to embrace a Europe football world of its own. Besides the ball ornament is in touch with the carefully forged prongs like those of computer game weapons or more abstract tattoo design of recent years that soccer players are not allowed to show by lifting their shirts during the game. Visualized is what is accompanied by metal music acoustically: violence. Yet a discussion of the symbolic of old and new crusaders needs to be postponed for the space available here since the light carnal pink mixed into the silver grey could give an explanation for the ball as something quite different, an organ, a living being, an eXistenZ game pod (David Cronenberg). At a techno music parade a few years ago I saw a woman with crossed black tape applied to her nipples. Taking this for the idea of skin become again organic and sensitive the Roteiro can well profit from the adhesive tape curating wounds (A. M.) here applied by football shoes. But this may not be true at all. It has been noticed that the football game has become digital: balls electronically and emotionally charged and kicked by digitalized players that dispose of an arsenal of ways and systems of gaming, able to connect him/herself to a set of moves instantaneously thereby accelerating the game and setting the enemy into a vertigo state; teams virtually trained today by console games whose producers in their turn sponsor the European Champions League whose players resurface again as figures in computer games (Klaus Theweleit). Who is surprised that the Roteiro is the fastest ball ever encompassing an array of semantics, metaphysics, ornamentics and electronics, that may well soak us into a tornado of excitement, be it only for a few weeks?

Peter Mahr © 2004

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