E N T R O P YAnalog photography, UK 2021
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I S L A N D London, 2021
Black & Gold ink collage. Gold drop, London / Squirrel shape, UK
Escaping London lockdowns, fantasy bodies moving beyond ground.
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T R A Ü M E RBerlin (soon)
@Jung Window, Neukölln, Berlin.
Traümer is an audio-visual project that I developed in Berlin between March - June 2018 that reflects on humanness and dreams in past, present and future forms. For this work, I met a group of 15 young individuals in their chosen ‘spots’, places that offer a sense of belonging to them in the city, to discuss these themes. The recordings reveal the singular character of voice, imagination and the city’s diverse environment.
︎Excerpt: Dreams in the present form
Spot - Comenius Garten, District of Neukölln, South Berlin.
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K7 T R O P F E NVinyl Improvisation w/ Nachi at W58, Berlin.
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W O R D SSonic writing.
UUmweltde Pierre Huyghe
Serpentine Galleries, London, 2018.
Have I stomped on any flies?
*Apart from the British bluebottle fly, all sounds were recorded inside the Serpentine Gallery. All photos were taken inside the gallery.
*fly on UUmwelt flyer
The Serpentine Galleries host French artist Pierre Huyghe for his latest exhibition ‘UUmwelt’, a complex audio-visual installation where the public is plunged into a sensory realm.
On the way to a Radio Earth Hold workshop hosted by Ultra-Red sound activists, I go through a wrong door.
Tens of thousands of bluebottle flies; three rooms with five large LED screens emitting the sounds of brain waves as puzzling images, induce the public to stop - look - listen - imagine. Aside from a small circular window that provides natural light at the gallery’s entry, the only flicker of illumination comes from the screens. This, combined with the presence of flies, slows the viewer’s pace. The idea of killing the insects, stepping on them, is intolerable. Gazing up at the ceiling window, smattered with blue metallic minature bodies, you wonder what their buzz would sound like if the machines were turned off. It’s as if they are seeking to escape to the outer world.
*ceiling window, exhibition entrance
Strolling through the gallery, a discrete, but repugnant smell fills the space; the dimmed light reflects the lacerated walls.
How familiar is it to enter an environment where the synthetic cohabits with the organic? 21st century life has become that surrounding, but Huyghe’s system incites us to push our boundaries further, exploring the space among the different entities that we have little control over. Very quickly, we the audience become part of it and the difficulty of grasping anything here is omnipresent. How is this sound made? What are those strange, high-speed images on the screen? And what’s that faint, peculiar smell?
A new level of awareness enters the body; I navigate between beta and alpha wave states. The space becomes timeless.
*map of the gallery space
Like flies, we, humans, are naturally drawn towards the screens. With conciousness, we seek to define these visuals. They become a mirror of the experience itself. Hugues, in collaboration with Kamitami computational neuroscience institute in Japan, asked several individuals to look at precise images, measuring their brain activity with a MRI scanner, testing the machine’s capacity to connect to what the people saw. The result shows visual information – the product of artificial intelligence: human vision, processed. Repetition of thousands of distorted, fast-flickering images ask questions in their indefinable state, pushing the viewer to interrogate their own capacity to interpret and connect to the brain wave forms.
We are used to known, identifiable realities. These visuals throw the viewer into the deep end of imagination. Or at least, they allow for the exploration of tentatives to find answers to what they are: a sense of freedom; or a reminder of our conditioning; the illusion of control through technology.
* back body of LED screens
The cold, deep, metallic sounds intrigue by their mutant character. They fill the spaces with different rhythms and volumes and incite to move closer to the LED screens, to listen to their composition, to hear from where they come. Tred behind the screens to reveal an imposing metal structure, straight out of a science-fiction film. Here I feel comfortable. I settle down behind one to capture it’s sounds. It’s where I hear them best, hidden away from the rest.
Huyghes does not use ‘institutional taped lines’ to delimit the proximity with the artwork; the audience can walk wherever they wish. The whole system is a porous environment where all entities interact, but also live on their own, with or without the viewer.
After an hour inside, I use the bathroom before leaving. Several flies are buzzing and a few lay drowned in the sinks. Their presence is eerie. How many of them have died here and inside the gallery before reaching their two weeks lifespan?
* drowned fly found in the sink
Stepping outside of this gallery into the lush Kensington Gardens is a radical transition. The fresh air and natural evening light is a reminder of how intense Huyghe’s installation is. Several visitors linger in front of the Serpentine using mixed words to describe the experience: odd, surprising, unwell, unsettling, unbearable. They are the ‘U’ words of its title, UUmwelt, or ‘environment’ in German, an invitation to experience the semiotic world of organisms with a new lense, one where animals, humans and artificial intelligence coexist.