Media: animal bones, blackboard, chalk, soil, cotton cloth, animal blood, caput mortum pigment
Duration: 2 h 30′
Commissioned by Art Laboratory Berlin with the support of the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
Anatomy of an Interconnected system is a performative lecture that focuses on the human-nature interconnection in the frame of the emergent environmental crisis. It is structured in two parts – a lecture and a participative performance – which aim at manifesting the transient concepts underpinning the human-nature complex.
During the lecture, I typically stand opposite to a seated audience and use lap-top and projector for a slide show. I present Middle ages religious paintings, Renaissance proportion and perspective studies, Romantic landscapes, abstract expressionist paintings, 20th century happenings, Tree of life diagrams, and bioart works. I analyse how their spatial organization and embedded technology illustrate how humans perceive nature, God, and knowledge, and how this complex can help understand the impact of advanced capitalism on the environment.
After a break, the scene changes: a large blackboard covers the wall and black benches replace seats. My communication strategy changes too: symbolic gestures replace verbal communication. On the floor there are a pile of soil and the 12 meters-long cloth of my previous artwork Lymph (2016), stained in blood and pigment.
I enter the room again, dressed in other clothes, and knee down by the cloth. I unfold it until it reaches the participants’s feet and the pile of soil. I then focus on the soil, mix it with my hands, and excavate white animal bones: moose vertebrae, ventral bones of a sea turtle, fish vertebrae, bovine scapulae. I hand the bones to the audience and eventually move to the blackboard. There, I trace a circle as large as the extension of my arm with white chalk: this is my self-positioning in the space of the gallery… but it’s only temporary.
I trigger the closing part of the performance by inviting participants audience to mark their own position on the blackboard. As the action grows, participants trace white lines on the blackboard, the benches, the floor, and interact with bones and soil in a liberatory ritual where spatial structures are challenged.
All pictures (c) by www.tim-deussen.de 2017