This piece by Ortega combines the humour and cynicism so characteristic of all of his oeuvre. In this performative video we can watch Ortega labouriously trying to make himself throw up the vomit which he keeps in a jar. After a time he empties the jar at the front entrance of his house, and quickly a group of birds appear, who don’t hesitate, hungry as they are, to indulge in the generous feast.
Registro de bondad has been crudely recorded with a camera acting solely as a silent witness to the scene. The material has been minimally edited showing the action in almost real time. The coarseness of the filming, with images in backlight, out of focus, and with impossible angles, force us to only pay attention to the action itself and its aim.
The camera solely records this charitable or cynically good act. The work invites us to think about what it means to be generous at the same time that it raises doubts about the notion of altruism, demonstrating that value systems were never universal and that use value continues to be part of a totally subjective and, as is shown in the piece, unequal system. This video is within the line of work of previous works such as Registro de interior (Inner Register) in which Ortega assumed the role of an impartial observer of behaviour patterns in a very personal ethnography of the social.
Registro de bondad has been produced by Fundación “La Caixa” and was first screened in the exhibition Registro de Caridad (Charity’s register) in the Sala Montcada in 1999. In the recuperation of certain forms of performativity present in the video, we can appreciate clear influences of some of the YBAs.