LABORATORIA @ New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
22 June – 10 October 2021
Earthlink. How we never breathe alone. How we breathe with each other.
aša Spačal’s biotechnological system of installations entitled Earthlink aims to serve as an entrance point to the post-anthropocentric constellation of connections and environmental relations, which enable a more dynamic and sustainable perception of human activity within the environment. Changes are immersed in infinite micro and macro planetary feedback loops which are for humanity even as a self-proclaimed geological force difficult to grasp in all their complexity.
Earth is immersed in a planetary metabolism of matter circulating through the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. Biogeochemical circulation between spheres is catalyzed by feedbacks of microbial metabolism which combine all biological and technological agents in an all-encompassing flow, an intra_flux of exchanges and relationships. Inhalation and exhalation are intimate processes that bind humans to the planet, but what happens when this connection becomes technologically mediated? What will the dosage be, who will prescribe it and who will survive?
The exhibition links Earth to the post-human present, that includes both a seed of the future as well as a shadow of the past. The present as a seed of the future is experienced in the Inspiration installation, where the visitor inhales earth’s “happiness bacteria” Mycobacterium vaccae. The inflation and deflation of resuscitator bags dictates the rhythm of breathing which calms the visitor and instills dreams of a bright technocratic future. A moment of impermanence and passing takes place at the Expiration installation where one can transfer their personal microbiome to exteriorized lungs by breathing out. Droplets of the graveyard cypress Cupressus sempervirens extract persistently wash away these microbial communities. However, all human excrements cannot be washed away so they burn out on the dry land they pollute. Between the almost-past and almost-present stands the Symbiome installation with red clover Trifolium pratense and the Rhizobium bacteria, which in symbiotic relationship produce oxygen and fix nitrogen, both crucial for human survival.
Curator: Jani Pirnat
Consultation, microbiology: Mirjan Švagelj, PhD
Glasswork: Pero Kolobarić, Zvonko Drobnič
Construction: Anil Podgornik, Scenart, Ambrož Modrijan
Photographs: Miha Godec, Saša Spačal
Special thanks to: Jurij Krpan
Project website: Earthlink
Production and exhibition were supported by City of Ljubljana and Ministy of Culture of RS.
Saša Spačal is a postmedia artist working at the intersection of living systems research, contemporary and sound art. Her work focuses primarily on the posthuman condition, where human beings exist and act as one of many elements in the ecosystem and not as sovereigns. Therefore abandoning the Cartesian system of classification and accepting the fact that the field of technology has expanded not only from hardware to software but also to wetware resulting in hybrid phenomena inscribed in mechanical, digital and organic logic.
Her work was exhibited and performed at venues and festivals such as Ars Electronica Festival (AT), Prix Cube Exhibition (FR), Transmediale Festival (DE), Athens Digital Arts Festival (GR), Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (RUS), Onassis Cultural Center Athens (GR), Chronos Art Center (CHN), Eyebeam (USA), Cynetart Festival (DE), National Art Museum of China (CHN), Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (SI), Kapelica Gallery (SI), Device_art (CRO), Art Laboratory Berlin (DE), Kiblix Festival (SI), Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje (SI), Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina (SRB), Lisboa Soa Festival (PT), Sonica Festival (SI). She was awarded Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention, nominated for Prix Cube and New Technology Art Award.