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Kunstige havdyr og levende insekter i kunstige miljøer

Om udstillingen "Biotic Synthetic" i Godsbanens foyer, Aarhus.
Af: Sasha Rose Richter

I udstillingsrækken Rethinking MATTER har vi gennemgående haft fokus på gentænkning af materialer i kunsten. I nærværende udstilling 'Biotic Synthetic' undersøges brugen af naturlige og syntetiske materialer, og ikke mindst hvordan beskueren reagerer i mødet med disse, i kunstens verden, utraditionelle materialer.

Det mest iøjnefaldende syntestiske materiale i udstillingen er plastik, der går igen i flere af værkerne. Når man taler om plastik i vores samtid, er det svært ikke også at lede tankerne hen på vores antropocæne tidsalder og det plastikaftryk vor tid uundgåeligt vil sætte på jorden. Værket af Carolien Adriaansche kredser netop om dette emne. Hun har under et ophold i Aarhus lavet en stedspecifik installation af genbrugsplastik fundet på gader og stræder i Aarhus og særligt på de mange byggepladser, der findes rundt om i byen. Derudover har hun fundet plastik hos Reuse og lokale beboere har doneret deres eget plastikaffald.

Carolien Adriaanche, "Collection Aarhus C", 2017. Genbrugsplast fundet i og omkring Aarhus.  

Carolien Adriaanche, "Collection Aarhus C", 2017. Genbrugsplast fundet i og omkring Aarhus.  

Den indsamlede plastik har Adriaansche på fantasifuld vis forvandlet til en ny biodiversitet af væsener, inspireret af havdyr. Men samtidigt med at værket er både legende og nøjsommeligt farvekoordineret, leder det også tankerne hen på den plastiksuppe vores plastaffald efterlader i verdenshavene. Man kan nærmest forestille sig at Adriaansches væsner, er havdyr der gennem lang tids indtag af plastikstykker, selv er blevet forstenede plastikdyr.

Detaljebillede af "Collection Aarhus C", Carolien Adriaanche.

Detaljebillede af "Collection Aarhus C", Carolien Adriaanche.

Overfor Adriaansches tankevækkende værk kan man følge en flok insekters kamp, for at tilpasse sig de kunstige omgivelser, de er blevet placeret i. Værket betår af fire oplyste terrarier med henholdsvis fluer, vandrende pinde, kakerlakker og myrer, og er lavet af kunstnergruppen MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen og Malthe Klagenberg. Terrarierne er indrettet med en blanding af naturlige materialer, som mos hentet fra skovbunden og syntetiske materialer, som plastikgrannåle og afstøbninger af romanescokål i gips. Terrarierne, med deres spotlys, kommer næsten til at virke som scener, hvor insekterne skal performe en eller anden form for naturlighed i de kunstige miljøer. 

Terrarier, 2017. MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg. "Lending a Hand", "Imitation", "Night Shortly", "Construction". Photocredit: Kulturmagasinet Fine Spind, fotograf Mariana Gil.

Terrarier, 2017. MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg. "Lending a Hand", "Imitation", "Night Shortly", "Construction". Photocredit: Kulturmagasinet Fine Spind, fotograf Mariana Gil.

I løbet af udstillingen kan man iagttage hvordan de tilsyneladende sejlivede insekter indretter sig og tilpasser sig deres nye hjem. Man kan bl.a følge de organiserede myrer, der er hentet til Aarhus fra en skov ved Tidsvilleleje. I løbet af få dage i terrariet havde de splittet deres omgivelser af plastikgran og -kogler ad og bygget en form for tue op af materialet.

Detaljebillede af "Construction". MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg, 2017. Terrarie med myrer, plastikgrannåle, skovbund, plastikprint. Photocredit: Laurits Nymand Svendsen

Detaljebillede af "Construction". MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg, 2017. Terrarie med myrer, plastikgrannåle, skovbund, plastikprint. Photocredit: Laurits Nymand Svendsen

I et af de mere golde terrarier med sandbund og gipsafstøbninger af romanescokål, ser man fire kakerlakker krybe sammen i et hjørne. De er af arten dødningehovedkakerlakker og har aftegninger af dødningehoveder på deres skjold.  

Detaljebillede af "Night Shortly". MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg, 2017. Terrarie med dødningehovedkakerlakker, afstøbninger af romanescokål, sand, plastikprint.

Detaljebillede af "Night Shortly". MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg, 2017. Terrarie med dødningehovedkakerlakker, afstøbninger af romanescokål, sand, plastikprint.

Det terrarie, der vækker mest begejstring og forundring blandt de besøgende på Godsbanen, er helt klart terrariet med de vandrende pinde. De vandrende pinde er af den særlige art Achrioptera fallax og er hentet i en sommerfuglepark på Bornholm. Som det kan ses på billedet nedenfor er artens hanner meget farverige og udvikler sig til at blive blålige med orangerøde aftegninger på benene og med rødlige små vinger. Det kan være svært at spotte de ellers farverige vandrende pinde, da der også er imitationer af insekterne i plastikler rundt i terrariet. 

Detaljebillede af "Imitation". MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg, 2017. Terrarie med vandrende pinde, trægrene, polyestergrene, figurer af vandrende pinde i plastikler og akrylmaling, plastikprint.

Detaljebillede af "Imitation". MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg, 2017. Terrarie med vandrende pinde, trægrene, polyestergrene, figurer af vandrende pinde i plastikler og akrylmaling, plastikprint.

Det sidste af de fire terrarier indeholder fluelarver, der over tid er klækket og er blevet til fluer. Terrariet er dækket med mos og fluernes fødekilde, er en afstøbning af en hånd lavet hovedsageligt af hundefoder. Fluerne er af uvisse årsager gået til i løbet af udstillingen og der er nye fluelarver på vej med posten. 

"Lending a Hand". MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg, 2017. Terrarie med fluer, afstøbning af menneskehånd i husblas, hundefoder og sukker, skovbund, plastikprint.

"Lending a Hand". MOTOR // Laurits Nymand Svendsen, Margrét Agnes Iversen, Malte Klagenberg, 2017. Terrarie med fluer, afstøbning af menneskehånd i husblas, hundefoder og sukker, skovbund, plastikprint.

To ud af de tre kunstnere fra kunstnergruppen MOTOR, Laurits Nymand Svendsen og Malthe Klagenberg, der tilsammen udgør kunstnerduen M.A.N – Man Against Nature, har også tidligere arbejdet undersøgende med symbiosen mellem det organiske og syntestiske. I det tredelte værk "Plateu", "Fordøjelse" og "Passage", der kan findes i Skovsnogens skovområde i Døvling. I værkerne er der på forskellig vis eksperimenteret med at ændre på skovbundens vanlige miljø og værket Passage består af fire døde dyr indkapslet i gennemsigtigt polyester, der lige så stille går i fordærv og optages af skoven igennem sprækker i polyesteren.

"I always have an eye on garbage lying in the street"

Carolien Adriaansche, artist-in-residence
By Inger Stokkink

Carolien Adriaansche, Collection Aarhus C, 2017. Site-specific installation, Rethinking MATTER: Biotic Synthetic.

Carolien Adriaansche, Collection Aarhus C, 2017. Site-specific installation, Rethinking MATTER: Biotic Synthetic.

Creating biodiversity all by itself from a material that threatens real-life biodiversity - that is what struck curator Pamela Grombacher when she came across Carolien Adriaansche's work. Therefore she and her fellow-curators Sasha Rose Richter and Nana Bendix Hansen decided to invite Adriaansche as their artist-in-residence. Says Grombacher: "Her work dovetails nicely with our Aarhus2017 project Rethinking MATTER, and fits perfectly in the framework of our exhibition Biotic Synthetic." Biotic Synthetic explores the nature/culture dichotomy in the range of exhibitions about rethinking matter - the stuff most visual art is made of.

Plastic is such a matter, and it is the material that Carolien Adriaansche (1963) works with most. "Plastic is inescapable in our society, we use it massively - and we mostly use it just once. Then it becomes waste." Being in essence a nature person, it struck her painfully that waste plastic posed a threat to animal and vegetal life. So she decided to create a parallel biodiversity, making use of the matter that threatens life on our planet.

The result is a rich, manifold, colourful collection of creatures, more often than not exhibited in showcases resembling the ones you'll find in natural history museums. This is a recurrent theme in her work, originating from family holidays, where a visit to the Natural History Museum of Bordeaux made a lasting impression on her: "I was overwhelmed by the shapes and colours and the way the objects were arranged."

PLASTIC OBSESSION
The work she has made for Rethinking MATTER is exemplary for the collection theme. It shows families of sea creatures in all shapes, exhibited in showcases stretching four meters up the walls of Godsbanen's Foyer.

During her artist's talk at Godsbanen on May 4th, Carolien Adriaansche also discussed how her work comes into being. "My atelier in The Hague is stacked with plastics in all shapes and colours. I have a plastic obsession, I always have an eye on garbage lying in the street. And I use a lot of plastic - in fact more than I can gather myself. Over the years I have built up a network of people who collect special objects for me, like the lamps that I used for The Swarm. But there are also people who collect plastic 'in general', so to speak. This means that occasionally I get materials I normally wouldn't have chosen myself. But that challenges my creativity in a good way."

In Aarhus, she needed to gather her working materials quickly. Rethinking MATTER helped by collecting plastics, too, so that Adriaansche had a head start when she arrived. "There is comparatively little waste lying about in Aarhus. That made me explore building sites and skips. So the material I have used for this work is somewhat different from the plastics I usually work with."

Just like you would expect from a sustainable biodiversity: its capacity to adapt to its surroundings.

stickelberg.dk/freelance-journalist-inger

Spotlight on Carolien Adriaansche - Residency, Workshop, and Artist Talk

The Rethinking MATTER curatorial team is thrilled to host Carolien Adriaansche for a short-stay residency in preparation for the final exhibition in our series, Biotic Synthetic.

Carolien Adriaansche, De Zwarm, 2013.

Carolien Adriaansche, De Zwarm, 2013.

Over the course of two weeks, Carolien will create a site-specific installation that explores the relationship between plastic waste and biodiversity. After one week of collecting waste in and around Aarhus, Carolien will lead a 1-day intensive workshop in which she and a group of local artists will work together to build the installation. This workshop will act as frame for critical dialogue on the ecological, economic, and ethical issues surrounding plastic - one of the most pervasive and formative materials on the planet.

Carolien will conclude her stay with a public talk at Aarhus Center for Visual Art's monthly ART BAR (May 4, 5pm).

This project is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation, and is made possible through collaborations with KH7 and Aarhus Center for Visual Art.

 

Got plastic?

We are now collecting plastic waste for Carolien to use in her installation. If you would like to contribute to this project, please drop off your plastic waste at Aarhus Center for Visual Art weekdays between 9.00-16.00.

 

About the Artist

Carolien Adriaansche

Carolien Adriaansche

Carolien Adriaansche grounds her artistic practice in the large-scale collection of plastic waste, which she uses as the basis for her sculptures and site-specific installations. Inspired by the collections and modes of display in natural history museums, Carolien uses discarded materials such as rubber bands, light bulbs, and plastic containers to create synthetic species - whimsical critters with Latin names such as Lumenbulbus iocus and Musca capillus.

carolienadriaansche.nl

What is digital materiality?

Post by Pamela Grombacher.

“Digital materiality” is an oxymoron. Comprised of electrical signals and code, the digital has no physical matter. It cannot be seen, it cannot be touched. It has no weight, no shape, no form. It is by definition immaterial. So what is “digital materiality”?

Paul M. Leonardi explores this question through the lens of organizational studies in a paper called “Digital Materiality: How artifacts without matter, matter.” He suggests that  organizational studies has experienced its own material turn in recent years, as scholars have increasingly shifted focus from the intangible concepts underlying institutions (like norms and routines) to tangible objects that mediate daily life in places of work (like desks and staplers). But there is often logical and lexical slippage when theorizing digital technologies (or to use Leonardi’s preferred term, “digital artifacts”), as scholars tend to do so in physical terms. To illustrate, he cites numerous studies in which the authors describe algorithms as “material properties”, “materials aspects”, or “material features” of software that give them structure and define their use. For example, search engines, embedded menus, and help-desk queuing software give shape to technologies, guiding and regulating user experiences in specific ways. This discourse likens digital artifacts to tangible tools of productivity in a way that suggests literal physicality and frames data as matter. Leonardi rejects this as illogical:

“[D]ata and electricity are not objects. They are ‘stuff’ without a tangible character. You can’t touch data. You can touch the paper (an object) upon which data is written; you can touch the screen (an object) upon which data is displayed; but you can’t touch the data itself.”

Strictly speaking, I agree; there is no innate digital materiality, in a literal sense.* But Leonardi is perhaps limited by his focus on data that is produced, transferred, and consumed in an office. The process he describes is one of inscription - data manifests when displayed on an interface or printed onto a physical surface, transforming into visible and usable information as it moves from the immaterial realm of the digital to the physical world of the work place. This is the unidirectional use of functional data. But there are other ways of manifesting data that fall outside of Leonardi’s paradigm; ways that, I believe, challenge his understanding of data as purely immaterial.

Take, for example, the work of Emilie Carlsen. For her MFA thesis project, Digital Realism, Carlsen tested new ways in which digital processes and aesthetics could be used in textile design:

“My graduation project is a collection of visual investigations of the potentials in the coalescence of the digital and physical. Using both analogue and digital editing in my studies, I wish to contribute with new understandings of soft materials and their poetic potentials, by creating a meeting between the untouchable virtual data and the tactile fabric.”

(Danish text available here)

Carlsen uses “digital waste” (visual scraps from her own design practice and from miscellaneous web-based images) as the basis for her designs, compiling and editing them in Photoshop to produce hyper-controlled imagery. She then investigates what happens to this imagery when it is printed on different fabrics, testing how different textures, thread counts, and other material properties affect the clarity, colour quality, and overall aesthetic of the digital image. Carlsen often uses these discoveries to guide further digital manipulations of the image. Sometimes she scans images of these printed textiles to create new digital data:

Emilie Carlsen, The Silent Witness (detail), 2106. Print on paper.

Emilie Carlsen, The Silent Witness (detail), 2106. Print on paper.

And other times she emulates digital edits using analogue processes - for example using chemicals to create transparency or to bleach colours:

Emilie Carlsen, Digital Realism - Pink (detail), 2015. Digital print and analog printing on viscose silk in steel frame.

Emilie Carlsen, Digital Realism - Pink (detail), 2015. Digital print and analog printing on viscose silk in steel frame.

Emilie Carlsen, Digital Realism - Green (detail), 2015. Digital and analog printing on silk satin in steel frame.

Emilie Carlsen, Digital Realism - Green (detail), 2015. Digital and analog printing on silk satin in steel frame.

Carlsen defies Leonardi’s paradigm. Her textiles are not the simple inscription of data, but are instead the product of a mutually constitutive exchange between data and fabric. She materializes data as textiles, and then digitizes these textiles to create new data, blending digital and analogue processes in a back-and-forth that blurs the material and the immaterial realms.

Doesn’t this trouble the idea that the digital is immaterial? When textile artworks are this intertwined with digital processes, isn’t it possible to conceive that data is as inherent to their form as are their material fibres? Aren’t these works, in a way, suffused with code? And if so, doesn’t this challenge not only the innate immateriality of the digital, but also the pure physicality of matter?


See more of Emilie Carlsen's textile designs at emiliecarlsen.dk

*Here using “material” to refer to actual physical substance. Leonardi goes on to argue that one can describe digital artifacts as “material” when using the adjective as a synonym for either “significant” (as in “material evidence”) or “instantiative” (as in, capable of realizing or materializing concepts or ideas).

Thoughts on a Digital Materiality - Guest Post by Alysha Creighton

Exhibiting The Touch (2011) makes me reflect on the evolution of my video practice since I began to work in the medium seven years ago. I’ve been considering how my relationship to digital video has shifted during this time, from my initial discomfort to a playful exploration of the materiality, presence and experiential nature of digital video.

As an artist who was trained primarily in traditional media of drawing and painting the shift to video was disconcerting. I had studied dance before beginning my art training and had always framed my drawing practice in terms of physicality, embodiment and materiality.

It was my interest in physicality and materiality that made me ambivalent about video. I sensed that video had the capacity to create a powerful experience for the viewer but was repelled by the seeming immateriality and daunted by the many sedentary hours I knew I would need to spend in front of the computer.  My early video works interrogated video as a medium in much the same way as some of the early video art experiments of the sixties and seventies, exploring the interactions between the digital and material. Is there a materiality of the digital?

My entire practice since has been occupied with the tension between the digital and the material. Making physical the digital, making digital the material and navigating the space between. I consider the intimacy and physicality with which we interact with digital displays which furnish our lives, cradling them close, tucking them in next to us as we drift off to sleep.

I met, Stephanie Imbeau, the woman featured in The Touch, while on a residency in New York. Also an artist, Stephanie and I became friends while I spent nearly thirty hours drawing directly onto her body and face. The video somehow contains the intensity of those hours spent together through boredom, laughter, pain, conversation, silence, discomfort, creating a portrait that is at once tender and unsettling.

This work was pivotal in forming the way I think about video. The ability to trigger a physical, visceral, tactile experience for the viewer dissolved many of the assumed binaries that had guided my thinking about digital media previously.


See more of Alysha's work at alyshacreighton.com.