Neotenous dark dwellers | Lygophilia

osmo/za, Ljubljana
31 August – 02 September 2018

Lygophilia weaves together mythologies and sciences, history and future, fears and desires, continents, cultures, humans and non-humans. Lygophilia folds and unfolds the stories carried by those fascinating creatures that are the Mexican Axolotl and the Slovene Proteus.

From immortality to regenerative medicine — both animals are, as adults, in a state of “eternal youth” (neoteny) showing extraordinary longevity and regenerative abilities that put them at the centre of ancient myths as well as current cutting-edge scientific researches.

Ironically, Axolotls and Proteus are endangered species in their natural environment. Both have found habitats in very specific and located places, in the swamps of the lakes around the Mexico City  for one and in Europe in Dinaric karst caves for the other, showing an example of parallel evolution, endemicm and adaptation to narrow and extreme niches.

Hiding from the sun and daylight both are in love with darkness, lygophilia (from the Greek lúgē and philéō).

With cabinets that evoke the old natural history museums displays as well as the scientific labs glove boxes or the maternity incubators, through objects, texts, videos and paraphernalia, playing with a crossed mirrored approach where each element, each story, each animal is echoing, reflecting but also diffracting and counteracting the other, Šebjanič invites us to a journey into our cultural gaze and its evolution. Neotenous dark dwellers|Lygophilia offers the visitors to gain a more profound view of interspecies cohabitation in the contemporary world for a common future.

Lygophilia is a series of research-based artworks initiated in 2017 by Robertina Šebjanič in Mexico and pursued in Slovenia to explore the love (Gr.: philéō) of darkness (Gr.: lúgē) and the unknown dwellers in places inhospitable for humans.

-N Festival, Ciudad de México, Mexico, 10 November 2018 – 15 February 2019
-T001, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 5 December  2019 – 15 January 2020


Robertina Šebjanič: Neotenous dark dwellers | Lygophilia, 2018

Curator and advisor: Annick Bureaud
Production: Zavod Projekt Atol (Uroš Veber), Arte+Ciencia (UNAM) & Zavod Sektor
Special thanks to: Aisen Caro Chacin, Miha Godec, Roman B., Peter Kolobarić, Rampa Lab, osmo/za, Team Bunker & Jamski laboratorij Tular.

The project was supported by Ministry of Culture and the City of Ljubljana

Lygophilia series production (2017-): Zavod Projekt Atol, Ministry of culture of Republic of Slovenia, Sektor, CIBAC-UAMX (Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas y Acuícolas de Cuemanco Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Unidad Xochimilco), Arte+Ciencia at UNAM (The National Autonomous University of Mexico) in 2017 art/research residency at Arte+Ciencia at UNAM lead by María Antonia González Valerio with the assistance of Roberto Rojas Madrid and the Transitio_MX 07 festival, at the Centro Multimedia celebrado en Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART).


Robertina Šebjanič’s work revolves around the biological, chemical, political and cultural realities of aquatic environments and explores humankind’s impact on other species and on the rights of non-human entities, while calling for strategies emphatic towards other species to be adopted. In her analysis of the theoretical framework of the Anthropocene, the artist uses the term ‘aquatocene’ and ‘aquaforming’ to refer to humans’ impact on aquatic environments.

Robertina Šebjanič (SI) based in Ljubljana. Her art – research focus is since several years into cultural, (bio)political, chemical and biological realities of aquatic environments, which serves as a starting point to investigate and tackle the philosophical questions on the intersection of art, technology and science.Her ideas and concepts are often realized in collaboration with others, through interdisciplinary and informal integration in her work. She was awarded with Honorary Mention @Prix Ars Electronica 2016, STARTS2020 and STARTS2016 nomination and nomination for the White Aphroid award. Robertina was SHAPE platform 2017 artist. 2018 she was a resident artist at Ars Electronica (EMARE / EMAP). Her art work Aurelia 1+Hz / proto viva generator (artist proof) is since 2019 part of the the BEEP Electronic Art Collection, Spain.
She exhibited / performed at solo and group exhibitions as well as in galleries and festivals: Ars electronica Linz, Kosmica festival_ Laboratorio Arte Alameda_Mexico City, La Gaîté Lyrique_ Paris, Le Cube_Paris, MONOM_ CTM Berlin, Art Laboratory Berlin, ZKM_Karlsruhe, re:publica_Berlin, Mladi Levi_Ljubljana, Centro de Cultura Digita_ Mexico City, Piksel_Bergen, OSMO/ZA_Ljubljana, Device art 5.015 at Klovičevi dvori_Zagreb, Eastern Bloc_Montreal, Eyebeam_New York, PORTIZMIR#3_ Izmir, Kiblix festival_Maribor, Spektrum_Berlin, KIKK festival_ Namur, +MSUM (Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova)_Ljubljana and more …

Robertina Šebjanič