Disarmingly cute establishes a poetic game between reality and virtual reflection, it has as its central axis Vanesa Jiménez, a girl affected by a degenerative disease that makes all her bones extremely fragile, known as “the girl with the crystal bones”. Vanesa achieved some popularity on television through various testimonial programs that proposed her as an example of self-improvement. Without going to judge the nature of this type of programs and their practical effectiveness for the future of the protagonist, what Arregui is interested in is investigating the conversion mechanisms of a real character in his media copy. Similarly, the piece evidences the artist’s committed position regarding the corporal, minorities and the challenge to normality.
Disarmingly cute consists of two HD video projections facing each other. One of them shows the circular recording of the real Vanesa, with her body resting on a pouf, and dressed in a simple flesh-colored garment that reveals her anatomy without resorting to nudity. In the other, a virtual image of Vanesa with the same characteristics rotates before her referent as a synchronous reflection. The words of the little poem he recites, composed by the artist and Vanesa herself and from where the title of the work is extracted, say the following: “Beautiful mane, beautiful babies, beautiful world, disarmingly cute. Girl, you are the real lovely, radiant, sensitive, and cute. A reflection, digital fantasy, somewhat twisted for popular use. Sentimental, a personal drama, all profound reality for this great Museum. Live life, learn things, keep going, friends forever. ”
The 80’s and 90’s brought us a series of critical displacements within the feminist sphere that will crystallize in the emergence of political and discursive micro movements such as transgender studies and disability studies. Paul B. Preciado, emerging from a post-Foucaultian reading of the theories of feminism – have resituated the notions of body, representation and subjectivity at the center of a whole set of institutions related to the production of normative identities, in which the museum requires a central position. Those bittersweet words by Vanesa not only denote her conscience as an object of representation, but also point to the museum as a privileged space for the production, fixation and consumption of visuals.
Despite the recent contribution to identity politics of post-feminist theories, the body and its image continue to be subject to a complex web of power relations. Advertising, the media, the entertainment industries, or scientific advances are just some of the factors that condition their appearance. Faced with its normalization and increasing spectacularization, Arregui proposes a videographic fantasy around another body, that of Vanesa, just as real and just as produced as the rest, generating a greater awareness of the body as a plural reality and contributing to reflection around to the techniques and institutions that regulate their uses.