This second curated programme of short films, presented in conjunction with Ghosts of the Machine, traces the material imprint of digital technology on the physical world. These films transport us from undersea ecosystems under threat from human activity, to a hypothetical nonprofit trying to convert “likes” on social media into tangible assets, to a dreamlike vision of a future Congo, in which the rare earth metals mined there – rather than being exported en masse – enrich and transform their country of origin.
A Way In Untilled
Pierre Huyghe | France | 2013 | 14min
The place is enclosed. Elements and spaces from various historical strata lie next to each other with no chronological order or mark of origin. There is a physical adaptation of fictional and factual documents or existing things.
In the Karlsaue Park compost, artifacts, inanimate elements and living organisms, plants, animals, human beings, bacteria are left without culture, and indifferent to our presence.
The set of operations that occurs has no script. Particular elements, images leak in a contingent reality – physical, biological, mineral – and grow without us. There is antagonism, association, hospitality and hostility, corruption, separation or collapse with no encounter. There are circumstances and deviations that enable the emergence of complexities. There are rhythms, automatisms, and accidents, invisible and continuous transformations, movements and processes, but no choreography; sonorities and resonances, but no polyphony. There’s repetition, chemical reactions, porosity, reproduction, formation, vitality, but the existence of a system is uncertain. Roles are not distributed, there is no organization, no representation, no exhibition. There are facts, but no rules and no politics.
The head is obscured by a beehive. The colony pollinates aphrodisiac and psychoactive plants. The headless body lies in the mud. The man moves through the day as an automaton. Animate the death with an infinite repetition of life, 1914. A fluorescent female dog in the shade of concrete slabs is weaning a puppy. A Beuys oak has been uprooted. Myrmecochory occurs, ants disperse seeds. The blind crush them. There is no color, no odor. Even when truly cast in the eternal circumstance ... where her arm protected her from the sun, they settled in. It is endless, incessant.
About Pierre Huyghe
For Pierre Huyghe the exhibition ritual is an encounter with a sentient milieu that generates new possibilities of co-dependence between events or elements that unfold. The exhibition is an entity whose time and space, in which it appears, are constituents of its manifestation.
His works are conceived as speculative fiction and often present themselves as continuity between a wide range of intelligent life forms, biological, technological and tangible inert matter that learn, modify and evolve. They are permeable, contingent and often indifferent to witnesses.
Pierre Huyghe (born in 1962, Paris) lives and works in New York, USA. His work is internationally known and presented in various exhibitions around the world.
Recent exhibitions include Variants, Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker (2022), After UUmwelt, Luma Foundation, Arles (2021); UUmwelt, Serpentine Gallery, London (2018); The Roof Garden, Metropolitan Museum, New York (2015). In 2012 -2014, a major retrospective of Huyghe’s work traveled from the Centre Pompidou (France) to the Ludwig Museum (Germany) and to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).
Engagement Rate Formula
Adrián Melis | Spain | 2019 | 10 min
In * ‘Engagement Rate Formula’, Melis sets up a nonprofit initiative that is dedicated to transforming likes, the thumb-up “reaction” symbols used on social media platforms, into “real” likes made of plaster. The initiative focuses specifically on likes expressed for posts depicting the struggles and inhumane treatment of refugees. The initiative reaches out to various NGOs and human rights organisations to help them distribute these material likes to people who are in need. A series of telephone conversations presents an absurd and highly problematic reality where the likes are considered possible aid for refugees in need. The work was inspired by the online phenomenon of slacktivism. The likes are eventually sent to the Moria refugee camp located on Lesbos, Greece.
* The engagement rate is used to measure the level of interaction by followers from content created by a user. It is calculated as total engagement divided by total followers, multiplied by 100.
About Adrián Melis
Adrian Melis Sosa (1985. b. Havana, Cuba) is a multidisciplinary artist, based in Cuba and Europe. Between 2005 and 2010, Melis studied printmaking at the University of Arts in Havana. During this period, his artistic practice was shaped by the intensive program ‘Catedra of Behavioural Art’ directed by internationally-acclaimed artist Tania Bruguera. He is a former resident of the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten of Amsterdam (2014/2015). He is currently teaching at Berlin Art Institute, Berlin, Germany. He has exhibited in several museums and institutions internationally, including the 10th Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai, China). Since 2010 he is represented by ADN Galería (Barcelona, Spain) where his solo exhibitions, in 2012 and 2013, were awarded the Art Nou Award by the Association of Galleries Barcelona and the GAC Award (MACBA) for Best Exhibition in a Private Gallery, respectively.
A Documentary About Ziggy and the Starfish
Anne Duk Hee Jordan | Germany | 2016 | 21 min
As we find ourselves amidst pressing environmental and social crises, Ziggy and the Starfish not only seeks to investigate our position with regard to our natural and built environments – and the ways we consume or sustain them – but also to lend insight into the perception of the self through the eyes of “others”, and to forge an understanding of the complex networks within which we are embedded.
Ziggy and the Starfish looks at sexuality from the perspective of marine life in a holistic way. Exploitative capitalism and the erosion of environmental conditions are crucial here. Pollution through traffic, oil spills, and other sources, alongside deforestation, urbanisation and overfishing, has brought the sea to the verge of collapse. This “hydrospheric climate change” is the deciding factor in determining the sexuality of ocean inhabitants.
By zooming in on aquatic life, Anne Duk Hee Jordan created this sculptural environment exploring an alienate universe full of strangeness, changes, and adaptation. After a month of free diving, many hours of underwater filming, collecting materials, and interviews with marine biologists and geologists on the Spanish Basque coast, the artist tells the story of sexuality, reproduction, and decay taking place beyond our imagination.
About Anne Duk Hee Jordan
Anne Duk Hee Jordan’s artistic practice is conceptually located within the relationship between nature, time, and human intervention. She opens doors to an artistic universe where she creates humorous and romantic machines that mirror, extend, or convert biological processes and chemical reactions between living organisms and dead material. She explores the flow of energies, human constructs of time and memory, decay, death, her own identity, and encounters between humankind and nature.
Her works are designed to function as agents in the creation of different perceptions and interpretations of this concept. With Ziggy and the Starfish, Jordan is taking her work to a new level to complement and enrich the existing cultural, artistic and aesthetic investigations into ecology and the human impact on the sea.
Earth Mother, Sky Father
Kordae Jatafa Henry | USA | 2019 | 8 min
Earth Mother, Sky Father is a live-action music film that takes place in the year 2030, when the Congo is no longer shipping unrefined rare earth minerals out to sea, but is keeping its wealth onshore and in the ground. The processes and infrastructure of mining have been revalued and ritualised as an important aspect of local culture. This is Afrika’s future through dance – a ceremony for the God of Rare Earth.
The “music film” features a performance from acclaimed street dancer Storyboard P playing the part of Woot, an [Excavation Programmer], and is supported by the sonic sounds and dissonant electro haze of the infamous duo Shabazz Palaces from Sub Pop Records.
About Kordae Jatafa Henry
As a filmmaker, visual artist Kordae Jatafa Henry’s work is a form of storytelling that is a revival of 21st-century countercultures and human experiences. Kordae is interested in expanding our understanding of futures by taking fragments of these worlds and examining the variety of human interactions. Through a collaborative process, his projects are able to amalgamate those fragments into new narratives and myths.
His most recent work explores the ontological themes of raw materials, mysticism, landscapes, movement performance, race, gender, and emergent technologies through the power of ceremony and ritual. As a non-binary approach, Kordae’s work reconstructs past, present, and future narratives driven by pop-culture, and Black speculative fiction. Through live-action music films, installations, dance, game engine environments, and mythology, Kordae’s work invites new ways of seeing humans, folklore, mysticism, pop-culture, post-genre music, labor, and creation stories as tools to explore the radical imagination.
Image: Kordae Jatafa Henry, Earth Mother, Sky Father, film still