#whereartthou: Challenging Perceptions with #polesellojoven

For more playful art, design and industrial influences, explore the hashtag #polesellojoven and follow @museomalba on Instagram.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish.)

Like a kaleidoscope, the work of Argentine optical artist Rogelio Polesello plays with perceptions. “Polesello Joven” (#polesellojoven), an exhibition of Rogelio’s early years, is on display at the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (@museomalba).

“The work of the young Polesello wasn’t conceptual, it showed what was happening in the industrial world and how that related to art and design, challenging people’s perceptions,” says Mercedes Casanegra, the curator of the exhibition, which is open through October 12.

Vibrant acrylic plates and color-carved transparent columns and blocks prompt visitors to interact with the art. “Polesello was interested in industry,” says Mercedes. “Working in his workshop, he had the idea of making those carvings, which resulted in magnifying glasses of concave and convex games that deal with elements of scientific perception.”

A Needed Conversation

Notes: I know I’m not the only one was disappointed that we didn’t get to see a lengthier talk about what happened between Gray and Juvia after the whole Avatar mess.  So I thought I’d share my headcanon about such a talk with you all, since one could (and should) have taken place between Avatar’s defeat and everyone reuniting in Magnolia.

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It was quiet as the two of them made their way from where Avatar’s Operation Purification had been stopped to the village where they had lived together for half a year.  They were riding on the cat-like creature he’d used to get to Malba, with Juvia seated behind him.  He wasn’t sure why Juvia wasn’t saying much - she was often pretty quiet when she wasn’t excited about something - but he was feeling a bit awkward around her after everything that had happened.  He wasn’t sure what to make of her reaction - not that he wanted her to be mad at him, mind you, she could be pretty scary when she was angry, but while she seemed to be perfectly happy just with him being back and knowing that he was okay, he knew her well enough to know that him leaving her without any explanation for so long must’ve greatly upset her.

After a few more minutes of riding in silence, Gray finally voiced a question that had been bugging him since Juvia had told him how she’d ended up on the battlefield.  "Why did you end up coming with Wendy?  It was pretty obvious from what Natsu and Lucy said when they met me that they’d been in touch with you, so why didn’t you come along with them?“

He felt her arms tense around him a little in response to the question.  "Juvia…  Juvia came down with a little bit of a fever around the time our friends showed up in the village, so Wendy and Charle stayed there to heal Juvia.  Once she got better, she asked Wendy to find you, and, well, you know the rest…”

Gray frowned.  He could tell that she wasn’t telling the whole truth, but he couldn’t figure out why or what she might be holding back.  It wasn’t like he’d get mad at her for getting sick.  He didn’t think he’d be able to get more out of her, though, unless he knew what to ask about, so he just concentrated on steering their mount.  Hopefully he’d be able to figure out what was going on with her once they reached their destination.

When they entered the village, he noticed that the ground was quite soggy and the grass was wet, as if it had been raining heavily there until recently.  But there hadn’t been any evidence of recent rain in the areas surrounding the village…  His heart clenched in his chest and a fresh wave of guilt washed over him as he realized why it was like that.  His absence had hurt Juvia enough to bring back her rain.  And her illness…  Had she gotten sick because she’d stayed out in the rain, waiting for him to come home?  Was she trying to spare his feelings by avoiding talking about how much pain he’d caused her?

Once they reached their home, they both dismounted, Juvia going on ahead while Gray took a moment to tie the reins of their steed to a nearby post.  Upon entering the house, he took a look around.  Everything looked to be just how he’d left it six months before - Juvia had obviously kept things clean, but otherwise had left things where they’d been, ready and waiting for him to come back.  It was a picture of a life put on hold.  Because of him.

“We should start packing up our things.”  Juvia’s voice broke him out of his thoughts, and he turned to see her pulling out bags and boxes for them to use.  In a couple of strides he was standing by her side, taking hold of her hands to stop her from continuing her self-appointed task.  She looked up at him with a puzzled frown.

“We’ll get to that, but first I should give you that explanation I promised you earlier.”  She started to shake her head, probably trying to tell him he didn’t need to explain.  But he did, so he continued to speak before she could interject.  "I know you said you were happy with me just being back, alive and whole, but I still think you deserve to know the whole story about why I left the way I did.“

She took in his words for a moment before nodding.  "Juvia will listen to what you have to say.”

Letting go of her hands, he took a deep breath before launching into his story - telling her about seeing Porlyusica to find out what was going on with the black markings that had appeared on his skin, learning how to get them under his control, meeting Erza and getting roped into the mission to infiltrate Avatar, finding out the group was much larger and difficult to root out than they thought it was going to be.  As he spoke, Juvia drank in his words silently, her eyes never leaving his face.  As he finally reached the end of his tale, he said, “So now you know what kept me away for so long.  It was never meant to be that lengthy of a mission, but once I started it I couldn’t risk contacting you to let you know that I was okay.  I’m sorry I left you waiting for and worrying about me for months.”

She looked away once he was done, spending a few long moments thinking over everything he’d said before meeting his eyes once more.  "Like Juvia thought, Gray-sama had a good reason to leave the way he did.  She’d rather that Gray-sama be as safe as possible, even if it means leaving Juvia in the dark.“  She fell silent, casting her eyes downwards, but he waited for her to continue, feeling that she had more to say.  It didn’t take very long for her to speak again, still not looking at him.  "But she wishes he’d told her he was going to see Porlyusica-san about the marks.  He wasn’t planning to disappear until later, so…”

Gray frowned a little.  "I’d told you not to worry about that.“

She finally looked at him once more, letting him see the mingled frustration and concern in her eyes.  "How could Juvia not worry when something strange starts happening you, you won’t tell her what’s going on, and you start going off on your own for days at time?!”

He looked away from her.  "I can take care of myself, Juvia.“

"Juvia knows that, but that doesn’t mean others can’t help.  Gray-sama doesn’t have to deal with everything on his own.  Wouldn’t he want to help if he knew someone he cared for was in trouble?  And even if there wasn’t anything she could do, Juvia would’ve felt better knowing that it was being looked into.”

Gray sighed, admitting to himself that she was right.  If their situations had been reversed, he wouldn’t have been able to ignore that something was happening to her, either.  "Okay, I get your point.  I’ll try not to keep you in the dark if something serious like that comes up again.“

She gave him a relieved smile.  "Thank you, Gray-sama.  Juvia knows it isn’t easy for you to open up about things.”

“…But there’s something I’d ask of you in exchange.”

Juvia looked at him in wide-eyed puzzlement.  "Eh?  What is it?“

He looked her straight in the eye and said, "Don’t try to act like something I did didn’t hurt you when it did.”

She looked away uncomfortably, fiddling with her fingers.  "…But, Juvia really is happy that Gray-sama’s back.“

"And I’m not saying you shouldn’t be.  But were you ever going to tell me that your rain came back because of me?  That you made yourself sick waiting and worrying?”

Juvia hung her head, still not looking at him.  "…No.  Everything’s okay now, and Gray-sama had good reasons for leaving, so there’s no reason to bother him with it.“

He reached out and placed a finger under her chin, guiding her to look up and meet his eyes.  "Yes, there is.  Just because I had good reason to do what I did doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to be hurt by it.  And if you have a right to worry about me, I have a right to worry about you.  If I shouldn’t be hiding what’s going on with me, you shouldn’t hide what’s going on with you, either.”

Tears started to gather at the corners of her eyes, and then she practically threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around him and burying her face in his bare chest.  "Juvia-  Juvia was so worried about Gray-sama!  She didn’t know where he was, or what had happened to him…!“

Sighing softly, he brought one hand to rest comfortingly on her back while the other stroked her hair.  "I know, I’m sorry.”  Over the time they’d lived together, he’d gotten more used to dealing with these sorts of outbursts from her.  And it’s not like he could say she didn’t have reason for it this time.

As she continued to weep, she looked up at him briefly.  "Juvia missed Gray-sama so much.“

He rested his head on top of hers, nuzzling her hair.  "I missed you, too.”  He really had.  Not a day had gone by in that wretched place where he hadn’t wished that he could be done with the whole thing and back by her side.

Gray could still feel her tears on his skin, dripping down his chest.  "I can’t promise I won’t leave again,“ he said slowly.  "I can’t even promise I’ll always tell you where I’m going or when I’ll be back - who knows what missions will require of me in the future?  But I’ll always come back home in the end, okay?”

She peered up at him again.  "Gray-sama promises?“

"Yeah.  I promise.”


i. thousands of names under a red line
ii. friend reading these names
iii. man asks me for the time and my name
iv. man proceeds to write the time and my name