Travelling to Places with a View over the Ends of the Worlds. Open Gallery at Muzeum Sztuki / 02: Alek Sarna
Alek Sarna's project Why Look at Hybrids? CRISPR Charismatic Species is the second installation as part of the series Travelling to Places with a View over the Ends of the Worlds. Open Gallery at Muzeum Sztuki.
ms1, 43 Gdańska St, ground floor, "the aquarium"
Ever since Artemis NASA program ended successfully in 2028, the use of space assets by private corporations has become the very basis of new forms of aggressive capitalism. Despite already having control over the terrain and natural resources of the Moon, humans have decided to expand to other space territories. The need for this continuing conquest was justified by the impending inevitable ecological catastrophe on Earth, giving corporations permission to embrace extraterrestrial colonialism. New Horizon Corporation conducts innovative though ethically questionable research on newly occupied planets. Their SP 3000 project is based on CRISPR gene editing technology. As a result of its implementation on one of distant planets, a colony of hybrid beings has been created. These seemingly unique, the first ones of the new species, are in fact made of DNA fragments of long-extinct organisms. Left in a semi-controlled environment, they sing songs. The first one is nostalgic and it describes their separation from Earth; the second song is about how hybrids, being patchworks of various forms of life, try to collect scraps of memory to recall their past lives; finally, the third one is about their destiny - taking over control, conquest and colonization.
Blending art, science and technology together, Aleksandra Sarna tests the power of fictional narratives and their influence on our understanding of the world. The starting point of the installation on display since November 6 at ms1 is a reflection on the credibility of scientific knowledge, the effectiveness of new forms of bio-power that appeared along with the development of technology, as well as the question about future forms of colonialism related to the expansion of the capitalist system. Such scientific disciplines as paleontology, synthetic biology, genetics, and embryology provided more inspiration for these considerations. A story was created about extraterrestrials resurrected, modified, or recreated by scientists on a distant planet as part of a corporate project. This place "at the end of the world" can be visited via a video stream. An important part of the installation is the sound narrative – prepared in cooperation with musician Tommy Otonoke (Tomasz Kmiecik) - as part of the Mŏk_pang_ collective, the artist created a series of three pieces, every one of which expresses the typical character of a given genre.
Mŏk_pang_ (Alek Sarna, Tommy Otonoke) - the name of the collective refers to the international viral internet trend of audiovisual broadcasts in which performers eat huge amounts of food while interacting with the viewers, creating a friendly community. It is an experimental art platform used for exploring multidimensional worlds, blending in music, visual arts and technology (XR). The collective combines music, real-time virtual renders (created in Unreal Engine), 3D, elements of stage design. In its projects, it strives to exceed material limits. Artists use storytelling, poetry and rituals to create new narratives. They invite people to enter altered states of consciousness, to go beyond reality into a series of highly original, staged environments.
Alek Sarna (Aleksandra Sarna) works in the field of simulation. She creates site-specific virtual worlds, performances using VR technology, speculative CGI films, often in the form of installations with accompanying physical works. The artist explores the spaces between reality, 2D and 3D virtual representation. Sarna renders environments constructed from alternative objects within fictional scenarios. She builds visual narratives on the basis of subjective perception, organisation and interpretation of impressions in order to understand the environment in an era in which nature, humanity and technology overlap.
Her works are shown at exhibitions and festivals both in Poland and abroad, including Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko, Galeria Labirynt, TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art, Formatova Intercultural Visual Form #3, Obrońców Stalingradu 17, Agora Arts Circle, Poleski Punkt Odbioru Sztuki, Parallel Photo Platform, 9th Young Triennale.
Tommy Otonoke (Tomasz Kmiecik) is a DJ and musician who uses the structures of music as a medium in the Mŏk_pang_ multimedia universe. He uses sounds to construct parallel universes that are to be inhabited and embodied during Live A/V performances and multimedia installations. His works skillfully blend a number of influences that oscillate between genres and experiments.
Travelling to Places with a View over the Ends of the Worlds. Open Gallery at Muzeum Sztuki is a series of events taking place at ms1 from October 2020 to January 2021. Its organizer is Open Gallery (Galeria Czynna), co-created by Łukasz Ogórek, Marcin Polak and Tomasz Załuski, characterized by the fact that it does not have its home seat, and locates its events in unusual, non-gallery spaces, such as vacant rooms of former shops, a closed off swimming pool, a post-factory hall, a gay bar, an open-air market or a hotel restaurant. Young artists, debuting or at an early stage of their artistic careers, whose works are displayed by the Gallery usually make these unusual locations an element of their activities. This time, they will have at their disposal the glazed space of ms1, called by the employees of the museum "the aquarium". Its windows overlook directly Gdańska Street, thanks to which the presented projects can be viewed both from the inside of “aquarium” and from the street, through the shop window-like glass.
The leitmotif of the series is the numerous and ambiguous "ends of the world", haunting our collective imagination today with increased force. They can mean the end of a certain world - "the world as we know it", but also the end of the human world. It can be the end as a time limit, but also a spatial one. It can be the end as a catastrophe, evolution, transformation - or a wait for the beginning of something new. The end of the world may be referring to the pandemic, the associated with it temporary slowdown of the global economic machinery ("the world has stopped") or vain hopes resulting in realization that a return to the old neoliberal world will no longer be possible. It may also present the images of the “evil side of Nature, which decides to get back on Man”. "The end of the world” could also represent an inevitable progressive ecological catastrophe, the specter of irreversible climate changes on Earth. It stimulates visions of the post-human world, referring both to post-apocalyptic poetics and to the undefined symbiosis of Man and empowered Nature. However, it can also generate futurological fantasies of duration, acceleration and further expansion of capitalist logic beyond earthly, geographic and biological limits - after all, it is easier to imagine the end of the world (human or earthly) than the end of (the world of) capitalism. So perhaps all these ends of the world and the images associated with them mask the lack of a different vision - our inability to imagine the end of the world ruled by economic inequality, social injustice, and the constant plundering of Nature. However, there is still a chance that somewhere at the edge of this world, something will happen; something that will bring a radical renewal of socio-political visions and that will usher in a completely different, unimaginable so far world.
What prospects for the future, as well as the present and the past, will be offered by the venues established under the project? It will be decided by the artists participating in the project: Kuba Stępień (Łódź), Aleksandra Sarna (Łódź), Wiktoria Walendzik (Szczecin) and Jan Baszak (Szczecin).
Schedule of the project editions:
Jakub Stępień: October 9 – 31, 2020
Aleksandra Sarna: November 6, 2020 – January 10, 2021
Wiktoria Walendzik and Jan Baszak: December 4 – January 10, 2021