›Bodies in Trouble‹

Aliens in Green, FAM_, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, knowbotiq, Mary Maggic, Špela Petrič, Silke Schönfeld, Jenna Sutela, Luiza Prado de O. Martins

Free admission

The exhibition shows installa­tions and films that comment on and examine in­depth various aspects of the festival’s theme. The works, which are spread throughout the PACT building, open up new and different conceptual dimensions and narratives that arise from the conflicts inherent to the relationship between the body and technology. The themes addressed in the works range from the anonymity of genetic databases (Heather Dewey­-Hagborg) to the deconstruction of the promises and neocolonial aims of the biotech sector (knowbotiq), and the democratization of biotechnology through DIY processes (Mary Maggic). Špela Petrič deals with the hybridity of living beings and the resulting new forms of kinship between differ­ent life forms. The idea of the universal communion of living beings is the basis for a film by Jenna Sutela. Through a labo­ratory situation, Aliens in Green demonstrate what happens when, for example, we ingest industrially produced biochemical substances through food or pharmaceutical compounds, which alter our bodies from the inside out and impact the environment in ways still to be determined. The group FAM_ creates interventions using visuals and different stations throughout the exhibition, which convey the queerfeminist perspective on these topics. Luiza Prado de O. Martins asks how today’s biotechnology is culturally conceived and un­derstood — and what kind of knowledge is ignored, particu­larly in postcolonial situations in various regions of the world (in this case focusing on the example of Brazil). Silke Schönfeld developed a film with a neighborhood group of children and youth who regularly visit the WerkStadt, PACT’s satellite project space in Essen­-Katern­berg. The film lets us explore this specific neighborhood as a living organism (premiere on 14.7.).

With works and projects by:

Aliens in Green
Heather Dewey-Hagborg
knowbotiq / Lamin Fofana
Mary Maggic
Špela Petrič
Jenna Sutela
Luiza Prado de O. Martins

Curated by: Fabian Saavedra-Lara

Aliens in Green 
Studio 3

The biohacking laboratory activated by the artist group Aliens in Green in two performative workshops is also accessible beyond these working sessions as part of the exhibition. On view are not only working materials and tools from the ongoing process but also illustrations and diagrams that provide context as well as in-depth information on the artists’ longstanding interest in the ecological, political, and economic aspects of the alteration of the human body - and the hormonal system in particular - through industrially produced biochemical substances. The materials also speculate about possible counter-narratives to this complex.

›Visuals, Scores, Exitpoints‹
ongoing interventions

The label FAM_ has developed various entertainment­modules for ›Blue Skies‹ including scores, visuals and exitpoints which the group has installed throughout the PACT building. Scores can be understood as games and suggestions for changes of per­ spective, making interpersonal, spatial and aesthetic parameters of the cur­ rent festival situation observable and changeable. Simultaneously, they invite the participants to actively engage in shifting the given schedule. Two exit­ points can be found at two secluded locations in the house. Here, tools are available to enable visitors to briefly step out of, or drift away from the activity of the festival.

Artistic collaborations with:
Anastasiia Antonenko: ›sorry about the saliva‹ (Video, Exitpoint)
Sophia Gröning: ›GRIP‹ (Video, Kachelfoyer)
Lea Hopp: Video/Visuals (corridor), VJing
Julius Continental: Carpets (Exitpoints, Foyer)
Sandy: Playlist (Exitpoint)

Heather Dewey-Hagborg
›T3511‹ (2018) 
Video, 9:04 Min.
Studio 1

›T3511‹ tells a love story set in the post­ genomic future. A female biohacker buys the saliva of an anonymous donor. Structured like an experimental documentary film, the work follows the protagonist’s growing obsession for the anonymous donor. The video installation draws the viewer into a new world, in which genomic sequencing has long become a prevalent procedure and the human body has become commodified as biological material. Dewey-Hagborg’s narrative is based on scientific fact, not fiction. ›T3511‹ exemplifies a growing market, in which the human body is broken down into commercial compo­ nents; bodily fluids, cells, DNA and biological data form the new currency that is currently fueling emerging biotech companies.

knowbotiq / Lamin Fofana
›Genesis Machines – La Pompa Agricultura Transsubstantia‹ (2018)
Installation / Video / Performance
Studio 2

Is natural reproduction in humans an outdated procedure? Citing researchers in molecular biology, the artist duo knowbotiq claim that »Sex is spectacularly inefficient« while »DNA is extremely programmable.« What does the increasing advancement of genetic engineering mean for our understanding of body, life and reproduction? The performative installation ›Genesis Machines, la pompa agricultura transsubstantia‹ conjures up decisive moments of upheaval in the development of an agricultural-industrial technosphere: the large biotech laboratories of the world are nigh creationistically motivated to design various scenarios of reproduction in which the body has long since become obsolete. In knowbotiq's interpretation, synthetic biology, nanotechnology and the exploitation of organic matter determine the manipulation and production of life – whether in vivo, in vitro or in silico.

Artists knowbotiq (Yvonne Wilhelm, Christian Huebler) In collaboration with Nicolas Buzzi, Lamin Fofana, Fred Hystère, Ira Wilhelm Entwickelt with the support of HKW – Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin and HEK – Haus der Elektronischen Künste Basel Loan from Kunstsammlung der Stadt Zürich

WED, 10.07., 22 – 22.30h
Lamin Fofana
Live-Set in the installation

Musician, producer and DJ Lamin Fofana has composed new tracks especially for the installation ›Genesis Machines‹ by the artist group knowbotiq. On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition, Fofana will play a live set, which will then form a further level of the installation as an audio track. Fofana’s electronic sounds are reflections on texts by the Jamaican author and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter, including most notably ›On Being Human as Praxis‹.

Mary Maggic 
›Housewives Making Drugs‹ (2017)
Video, 10:12 Min.

Biohacking in your own kitchen — is it imaginable that in the immanent future people will be able to synthesize hor­mones at home? ›Housewives Making Drugs‹ is a fictional cooking show in which the trans­femme stars Maria and Maria demonstrate for a live television audience the step­by­step process of preparing your own hormones. While chatting about body politics, gender and the problems of a heteronormative society, these biohacking chefs perform a simple urine­-hormone extraction rec­ipe. The kitchen becomes the perfect battleground for debate and a settling of accounts: What is the state of body and gender politics? Why can hormonal substances only be accessed through institutions? Maria und Maria use humor to subvert patriarchal structures of power and speculate on a world with greater body sovereignty for all.

Špela Petrič
›Ectogenesis: Plant-Human Monsters‹ (2016, ongoing)

›Ectogenesis: Plant-Human Monsters‹ invites viewers to reconsider the existing categorization of species in relation to new technologies: What if differences between species could be bridged by biotechnology? The kinds of trans-species relationships proposed by philosopher Donna Haraway become reality in Špela Petrič’s work ›Ectogenesis: Plant-Human Monsters.‹ Through processes of in-vitro fertilization and hormonal manipulation, the artist and biochemist produces creatures made from plant and human biomaterials, extracting and using her own sexual hormones in the process. She is ultimately able to produce vegetal substances that clearly contain a human molecular footprint.

Jenna Sutela
›Holobiont‹ (2018)
Video, 10:27 Min.

In her video ›Holobiont‹, Jenna Sutela considers the idea of a universal connectedness between all forms of life through an interlinked ecology and evolutionary history on both a planetary and cosmic scale. The odyssey begins in the gut and expands out into outer space. It documents research on highly adaptable forms of bacteria by scien­tists at the European Space Agency. These so-­called extremophilic bacteria can survive in very hostile conditions and may even have the potential to transport life to other planets. Experi­ments on Nattō bacteria, ›bacillus sub­tilis‹, reveals our beginning knowledge about the future mutation and development of life.

Luiza Prado de O. Martins
›As Flames Engulfed the River‹ (2018)
Video, 16:45 Min.

This video essay examines the presence of ayoowiri, an abortifacient plant, in the proximity of the Marechal Zenóbio da Costa Military Police battalion in the district of Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro. During the Brazilian military dictatorship, the complex was transformed into the local headquarters of DOI­-CODI, the intelligence and repression agency of the regime; within the walls of that battalion, countless dissidents were tortured and murdered. The film engages with this brutal and not so distant period in Brazilian history, linking it to the broader history of colonialism and sexual violence and questions of eco­logy and obscured knowledge.

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