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Podium, Oslo, Norway 2016

group show w/ Emiliano Maggi, Nadine Byrne, Nicholas Johnson, curated by Angels Miralda Tena

Drifting, 2016, sound installation

Found vocal samples, sonic manipulation

White light pulsating in intensity
Stars are celestial diamonds
On a stable ground of matte darkness
That holds vast unknowable mysteries
Why something rather than nothing at all? 

My father is an astrophysicist, a cosmologist to be precise. I always used to wonder how you could work on something that makes your life seem so insignificant. But I guess you and I are the stars up there. We’re made of the same elements. We break up and punctuate something more eternal. And we burn intensely even if just for a fleeting few billion years. But from here you can’t see them. We messed it up somehow. You need to go out to the top of the Andes or the California desert. A meadow deep in a forest. These in-betweens of urban civilisation. Carbon in its atomic state is an ephemeral species. Pure carbon creates diamond under high pressures, but diamond is unstable. Diamonds are unceasingly transforming into carbon’s ultimate stable crystalline form: Graphite. One is among the softest materials known to man, the other is the hardest material on earth; one is a conductor of electricity, the other an insulator that breaks down the electric fields around it; one transparent, the other opaque. Not only is carbon a spectrum of properties in its pure forms, it is also forms a vast number of compounds, more than any other element. Inorganic carbon forms limestone, Dolomites, carbon dioxide, but it also forms human beings, mushrooms, worms, jellyfish, many bacteria, and praying mantises.

Carbon has been used in conspiracy theories to represent both good and evil, the Beast and the Christ child, 666 [1] root of all evil and Ganesha [2] eternal child of simple wisdom. Considering its bipolarity, hexagonally and cubically doubling around itself, our carbon roots create nearly everything that surrounds us between its extremes in pure forms.

As Michael Taussig described our current position at the end of the Anthropocene as a Magic Hour [3], a final spectacle more wonderful than the entirety of the daylight hours before it, a brief glimpse of overwhelming color and the rayon vert. Could we be at the beginning of an imminent age of ecology? A Laruellian equalization of the differences between man, animal, and plant [4]. A discussion with our surroundings closer to Haraway’s “The companion species” [5] in which we recognize our design in the world around us and our global symbiosis through a nature-culture. I like the idea that we are biologically connected, one species informing the other in a complex and unstable understanding.

Podium is a place that elevates a speaker (subject) while a Plinth elevates an artwork (object) and the Altar elevates something (object) through a threshold into an (object-subject). The transcendent deity on the podium creates its own performance and theatre through an oration and gives one speaker or actor the power to emerge up as if on a mountain and speak with clarity. The exhibition brings together a subliminality between myth and space, politics and communication, matter and aural vibrations in relation to the human experience.

And maybe the universality of magic in everyday life, like the carbon compounds within us, makes the subject-object an archetypal cosmic child.

text by Angels Miralda Tena

[1] Carbon is element number 6 on the periodic table. It is composed of 6 neutrons, 6 protons, and 6 electrons.
[2] Both Ganesha and Christ are described as Alpha and Omega – the chemical structure of the carbon atom appears as the combination of these two Greek letters.
[4] Laurelle M-A-P System
[5] Donna Haraway  “Companion Species Manifesto”
Review by Harald Lange, TorggataBlad