mateo casariego


my picture of the week*

*The name and the idea of this site is borrowed from “astronomy picture of the day”, by nasa:

July 18, 2024

Laura. Ourém, 2023.  

July 12, 2024

Ok, so today I cheat and upload two photos because I forgot to update this website last week. But I also don’t cheat so much because the photos are almost identical. These were slow days, visiting a friend in LA, taking a break from everything. This church is a Bethel church, which according to Wikipedia: “(...) focuses on miracles. It teaches that all miracles described in the Bible can be performed by believers today and happen regularly, including faith healing of everything from curing cancer to regrowing limbs, raising the dead, speaking in tongues, casting out demons and prophecy.”. [October 2022]

June 30, 2024
Jarandilla, 2022.

June 23, 2024
Inside an abandoned paper factory somewhere in Castilla y León. Must have been in 2018 or so.   

June 18, 2024
In Big Sur, probably Cambria, Oct-Nov, 2022. 

June 12, 2024
Lisbon, 2019. I have no idea of what’s going on here. 

May 30, 2024
Hilbert, last summer. Madrid, 2023.

May 22, 2024
Summertime in Getxo, 2019. There is a reason why the street where this was taken is called Avenida de los Chopos.

May 20, 2024
Nora lying on my bed in Madrid, sometime in 2020. The tupperware has treats for Teo.

May 17, 2024

My grand father, Pedro, at his home in Madrid, back in 1981 (before I was born). This photo gives me peace. Thinking of him gives me peace. He had such beautiful hands, such elegant simplicity. He would call me “guapín”. My memories are not concrete, but his presence is powerful. He passed on my 12th birthday.  Last night there was a beautiful event at COAM, where a book, “Alas y Casariego – Arquitectos” was presented. This is for me to remember.

May 15, 2024
Social gathering in which I was not socializing. Instead, I was looking around. Today (and not only today), I’ve been told this is annoying. My girlfriends like to say this to me (well, they don’t like it, they just have to say it)They are right. I should quit completely going to social gatherings because my presence there is similar to bringing a koala with you in a party: it doesn’t belong and his/her wellbeing worries you. Better to leave the koala at home. The place is called La Perla Boliviana. In the last years, it’s become a must if you are an artist and your parents are rich (oh, wait, the first implies the second). The mix of ugly, cheap, latino, and the fact that is on the South of Madrid (but not too South! Who’d like to venture in, say, Leganés?) makes it a super fun place to be. And also, you can brag saying “you’ve never been to La Perla Boliviana?” to your artist friends from Copenhagen and Vienna.
Anyways, this day I took this picture, which I like. The rest is anecdotic. But fuck happy tourists. And happy people under 45.

May 8, 2024
A resting bird. iPhone photo. Jarandilla, 2020.

May 6, 2024
Artist Tiago Baptista at his studio in Lisbon, around 2018.

April 26, 2024
Late May or early June, 2022. Usera.

April 15, 2024
At Templo de Debod, in Madrid. From the time I was living in calle San Bernardino 7 and I’d come here on a daily basis to walk Teo. I like bushes a lot. In being so compact, the notion of individual seems more intuitive than with trees: there is a clear “interior” and a clear “exterior”, which creates a natural mystery (what or who hides in there?). Now that I think about it, this may be one reason why I like these types of trees so much. They are called “ciprés” in Spanish. Always I think of this word, I think “La sombra del ciprés es alargada”, which translates to whatever DeepL tells you it translates to (“the cypress' shadow is long”), and which is the title of a novel by Miguel Delibes that I have not read. Another title of a book that I haven’t read but that pops into my head way too often is “El miedo del portero al penalty”, this time translated from the original Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter, a novel by Peter Handke (which will always make me think of Cuenca). Closing imaginary circles is always satisfactory: as with any convenient fiction, closedness has a feeling of security associated to it. It also has an aesthetic factor, in that by linking –say– the beginning and the end, be the link causal (paradox) or simply symbolic, there seems to be a pleasure associated to remembering and coming back. In one word: we like what we recognise. The more we “understand” something, the more we can enjoy our iterative visits to the subject. I am of the opinion that even if “life is a circle”, our experience is not a waste: very much like parallel transport over a closed curve can give us valuable information about the very geometry of the place we’ve wondered around (that is, by performing a local experiment we can learn about a global feature, see this if you are unconvinced), our life is a collection of experiences that implies that even if we end up back in square one, we will never demand the same from square one, even if just by a lack of energy! (...). To sum up: experience and memory may help in refining our description of what we observe, by making more precise observations... (?). Perhaps by realising that what we thought was informationally complete, wasn’t: a photodetector is clearly less “smart” than a photon counter; however, if we believe that every experiment is a “yes/no” question and that our set of answers is complete, that is, that there is no finer partition possible than to divide “reality” into dark or not dark, there is nothing preventing us from assigning a (complex Hilbert) space of dimension 2 to reality. Further inspection (perhaps by the discovery of better technology) may reveal that there is an intermediate “thing” between dark and not dark, so we introduce two new “states”, dim and bright so  that “not dark = dim ∧ bright”, etc. The question is how can we guarantee we have achieved the finest “partition” of the set in measurable (that is, meaningful) chunks, sectors, or subspaces, or whatever you want to call them. Clearly, for a single mode (a single frequency) of the electromagnetic field, we know that the set of states with zero photons, one photon, two photons, and so on, up to infinity (!) is actually complete: it provides a meaningful separation of the Hilbert space into sectors, and to each sector we can associate a projection. The set of all projections not only sums up to identity: it also, in this case, is tomographically/informationally complete, so it provides us with a way of completely describing the physical system ​(or at least the degree of freedom we are interested in).
The question is: is there an intrinsic property that allows us to learn what is this finest partition, in a similar way to the connection/parallel transport feature?  

Apologies to the reader! Here you can find a way of using pandas as currency, in case you are interested.

April 11, 2024
During one of my first PhD “residences” in Bilbao, around 2019 or 2020, I met Cris, a Bellas Artes student. Troubled, shy, sweet, direct, calm, slightly depressive, with inquisitive eyes, this night she made a quick drawing for me in one of the notebooks I used for my PhD notes. We are in a flat I was renting to an acquaintance, in Getxo. The flat was very nice, it even came with a clavinova! I liked it there: I would go to the university by car, and made groceries at BM. I would also go very often to the beach for a walk or to use my skateboard along the paseo marítimo (this is prior to the accident). Cris had a beautiful skin and didn’t like crowds very much. I remember she was slightly older than her classmates and that made her feel insecure or more confident, depending on the situation. Her family had a dog, a white(ish) little dog. I think she was from Logroño, and that eventually she returned there. She was definitely one of the people I liked the most from those times.

April 8, 2024
This is from Taberna Jovi at Cuenca, September 2022. The line between fancy and cutre is fuzzy, hence not a line, hence a possible habitat for these little edibles that came with our cocktails. Apparently Peter Handke would come to this place in the 80s while seeking reclusion in the most romantic city of Spain. But who cares about Peter Handke when one can have a date here with Laura Reis!

April 7, 2024
This is from 2018 or 2019. Lisbon. Abandoned ship (or maybe not abandoned). In any case, I made my way into it. This was inside the boat. Mountains of sand. I would throw some rocks with my left hand and shoot with my right, in complete darkness. I remember the echoes, and the really narrow vertical ladder (slight feeling of claustrophobia).

April 6, 2024
From the same day as the previous entry, but some hours earlier, while in the plane: a screenshot of the maps app on my phone. There was a time when much of the globe was completely unknown to large communities.
The oldest surviving terrestrial globe is called the Erdapfel, and dates 1492. It doesn’t include the Americas because Colombo (who I want to believe was Italian) hadn’t returned yet. The Greeks of course knew that the Earth was a sphere, and they actually had pretty good estimations for its diameter: the first recorded measurement is due to Posidonius, a stoic born in 135 B.C., who gave a figure of about 39.000 km. Then somehow Colombo used another estimate, completely off, to underestimate the distance to India during his first trip. Perhaps he did this on purpose to get the funding, though I think he truly believed that he was close to India when he reached Guanahaní, in the Bahamas. In any case, just imagine exploring a globe like the one on the image, with almost no reference! We nowadays rely so much on maps and GPS-based apps that the image above may be even anxiety-triggering to some people.  

April 5, 2024
An iPhone photo of my hand against the Lisbon sky on September 25, 2022. Laura is driving her Mercedes to Cova de Vapor, a beach near Trafaria, where it will be sunny (and windy! remember that). This was a good day: I took a plane from Madrid at 6:30, arrived at Lisbon at 6:50, where Laura picked me up, went straight to bed to rest, woke up and went to the beach.

April 4, 2024
Driving around in Costa da Morte area in Galicia, Spain. Cristina and I rented a place in Camariñas (not this one) from Dec 29th 2021 to the 4th of January 2022. It’s funny because now that I think about it my dog Teo was with us on that trip. I had him completely erased from my memory! On the night of the 31st of December we went to take a nap and overslept beyond midnight. Celebrating the new year at the beach the next morning with a video with the Spanish “campanadas” from 2005 is really the only fun memory I have from this otherwise quite dark trip. Yet, the photos I took from this particular house (there are more and perhaps this is not the best one), and other locations, are somewhat precious to me.  

March 31, 2024
This image was taken, I believe, somewhere in northern Spain. It may be País Vasco, or Asturias. I’m not sure. The year is 2018. The camera, a Canon EOS 3000 with the kit lens. Either the scan or the negative, or both, are in pretty bad condition. So this image has been forced a bit. Maybe I should check the negative myself one of these days. I’d really like to know where exactly this was. If I don’t have that information is probably because the photo was taken in a rush.

March 30, 2024
This from the pandemic. I was renting a flat in Aravaca, Madrid, to my family, for just 400€ per month. My grandma’s sister (Tía Cris, quite a character) had passed away and the flat was in a limbo while the family had an internal dispute regarding... money! (Luckily this was not my direct family, but my father’s cousins fighting my grandma’s brother’s wife, somewhere in the south of Spain). I remember living here with mixed feelings. Many good things happened during that time, and I felt generally free. In this particular photograph, we see my computer screen (an oldish but robust Dell monitor) showing the video feed from the international space station in real time. I used to watch this feed during the lock downs. It gave me a peaceful feeling. You can access the feed here:

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