29.09.2017 - 22.10.2017

Teoksen "Footnote #01: Sipilänmäki" kuvat vaikuttavat pysähtyneiltä: vain satunnaisesti kevyt ilmavirta liikuttaa kasvustoa hädin tuskin huomattavasti. Nämä pienet väristykset kuitenkin paljastavat lähdemateriaalin elokuvallisen luonteen. Kirkkaasti valaistujen kasvihuoneiden ryhmä vaikuttaa toimivan täysin automaattisesti. Muutoin vallitsee pimeys. Sekä tämän rakennelman ylläpitäjät että siitä hyötyjät ovat poissa kuvasta.

Kesto: 05:02 min


David Muth on taiteilija, muusikko ja ohjelmoija. Hän vietti lapsuutensa Saltzburgissa, Itävallassa. Hän opiskeli digitaalisen taiteen maisteriksi Middlesexin yliopistosssa Britanniassa. Muth työskentelee tällä hetkellä Turussa ja Wienissä. Muthin teoksissa yhdistyvät käsitteellinen ja kokeileva lähestymistapa ja niissä on viitteitä hänen arkkitehtuuritaustastaan. Teosten tekotapa vaihtelee installaatioista vuorovaikutteisiin ympäristöihin, videoteoksiin ja kokeilevaan dokumentointiin. Hän myös säveltää ja esittää musiikkia. Muthiin teoksia on ollut laajalti esillä kansainvälisissä näyttelyissä mukaan lukien Montrealin nykytaiteen museossa, Kiasmassa, Ars Electronican Linzissä Itävallassa, SIGGRAPH2009 New Orleansissa ja ISEA (International Symposium of Electronic Art) San Josessa Yhdysvalloissa. Hän opettaa Goldsmiths Collegessa ja Royal College of Artissa Lontoossa.


The images of the video "Footnote # 01: Sipilänmäki" seem to stand still: only occasionally an ever so slight breeze in the air causes barely noticeable movements in the vegetation - little shakes that reveal the filmic nature of the source material. A cluster of brightly-lit greenhouses appears to function on a fully automated basis. Otherwise darkness. Both operators as well as beneficiaries of this structure are absent.

Duration: 05:02 min

David Muth is an artist, musician and programmer. Having grown up in Salzburg, Austria, he relocated to the UK to study at Middlesex University, where he received an MA in Digital Arts. He currently lives and works in Turku and Vienna. His artistic practice combines conceptual and experimental approaches and is informed by his background in architecture. His projects range from installations and responsive environments, through video and experimental documentary, to composition and performance of music. Muth's work has been shown on numerous occasions internationally, with venues and events including the Musée d'Art Contemporain in Montreal, the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art in Helsinki, Ars Electronica in Linz, ISEA2006 in San Jose, Le Cube in Paris, Montevideo in Amsterdam, Laboral in Gijón, SIGGRAPH2009 in New Orleans and the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. He also teaches at Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art.


On Footnote #1: Sipilänmäki:

At the very heart of what sets us apart from other species lies our ability to cheat our circumstances. Not socially - that many animals do with great skill - but rather cosmologically. Through industrialisation we have learnt to defy some of the contingencies of nature, perhaps estranged ourselves from it. Some of those cheats, such as the ‘conditioning' of the air that surrounds us have allowed large settlements to form under extreme climatic conditions. Cities like Phoenix, Arizona would not exist without it and may not exist again in the future. Many examples for such latitudinal movements exist, for instance the transposition of plants from the tropics to Europe, for research or as a gesture of imperial dominance. In order to house the organisms that naturalists were bringing back from their journeys, greenhouses began to emerge throughout Europe. At first embedded into buildings, they provided shelter for non-human inhabitants, gradually becoming a type of architecture in their own right, from the Giardini Botanici of 15th century Italy to the Crystal Palace, which marked the apex of the industrial revolution in 1851.

It was through industrialisation and the advent of electrical light, that cheats of longitude have become possible. Unlike the permanent transpositions of tropical plants those are both temporary and temporal. Night could suddenly exchanged for day under the blinding light of an electrical arc or the luminous discharge of gases, enabling growth in an environment that is suspended in almost every dimension, perpetually fertile and productive. Today, the cultivation of produce in such environments is a massively industrial practice without which populations in the northern hemisphere could perhaps not be sustained.

David Muth's work depicts those machinic environments at their most estranged, without the viewer ever gaining access to their interior, pitched against the black of night and set to a strangely harmonic electrical transformation provided by Antti Tolvi. Glowing islands of life, yet forever removed. We do not know what goes on inside but we know their bounty all too well from by interfacing with their corporate front end on an almost daily basis as we stroll through our local supermarket. Now one could stop there and see Marx' second nature in full effect, perhaps detrimentally so to us as a species. A temporary cheat until our luck runs out, relegated to the place in which we belong by a vengeful nature. Many feel that way, longing for a lost parochial past marked by homeostasis rather than depletion. Yet there is another way to look at those radiant structures. That it is all a cheat, the whole planet. In this reading, the temporary black of night becomes the almost eternal darkness of space. Within it, there is the spaceship that Buckminster Fuller called ‘Earth,' on which there is no homeostasis but the Red Queen rules supreme. The emergence of what we call life may have been a singular event in the history of everything and incredibly precarious, much more than a tropical plant in the northern climate. We may be inhabiting the greatest cheat of all - it may be us.

And this cheat of cheats is soon to be repeated, very likely within this century when our species is going to attempt to create a permanent settlement on another spaceship, one which to our present knowledge does not have an alive arrangement of matter. In doing so, a group of humans will perform a movement which is neither longitudinal or lateral, but an interplanetary one. And they will bring with them the humble greenhouse, to shield organisms from harsh temperature swings and a low-pressure atmosphere that is much unlike what they have evolved in. In this sense, finally, David Muth's Sipilänmäki in itself performs a movement of transposition: It hints at a future by inviting us to regard those strange architectural vessels in all their paradoxicality - in the moment before their own unmooring.

Sascha Pohflepp, 2016




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