Water studies around Tabergs An by the artists duo，2023 © Lundahl & Seitl
Chronus Art Center (CAC) is pleased to present River Biographies by the Swedish artist duo Lundahl & Seitl as the concluding part of the second iteration of CAC Projects. River Biographies will open on October 28, 2023 and remain on view through November 26, 2023.
The title of this project River Biographies refers to the story of a river's life from its source to its mouth. The artwork per se is also a dynamic process during which meaning emerges as each visitor becomes a node within an extensive web of relationships and influences in an evolving semiosis. A silent and sensory protest developed in the work is inspired by the grammar of the Potawatomi people, North American natives living in what is now northeastern Wiscosin, U.S. Their language emphasises on verbs, with the word 'river' in Potawatomi serving as a verb, signifying 'to be a river.’ Resisting the notion of autonomous artworks and of looking at environmental changes solely as external objects, River Biographies invite visitors to augment their own reality and evoke the lifeworld of a river within and between their bodies.
River Biographies encompasses occasional participatory performances during its exhibition timeframe and an installation in the gallery that audially and visually cartographs fractions of a river named Tabergs Ån in Sweden around where the artists grew up and initiated the first water and study for River Biographies. The performance is based on two individules' inter-intra action within and with a larger group. Leading each other by the hand, they move together, but their experiences are separated by Sightless Goggless and different timelines of three-dimensional sound. Each visitor enacts a different part in the artwork's choreography: You are Water, I am Stone. They engage in the friction between the materials, between visual and auditory organs and nerves of the skin, and depend on each other's perspectives to form a coherent reality.
River Biographies, performance view, 2022 © Lundahl & Seitl
Inside the gallery, several headphones drop down at various heights above and below, aligning precisely with where the artists' recording equipment captured the sounds of the Tabergs Ån. Stepping on the drawings of water ripples displayed on the ground that correspond to the recording spots on Tabergs Ån, the visitor's body takes the place of the stones that the river's water splashes against - displacing air, generating small pressure waves captured with binaural and hydroponic microphones. Physical directions for the listening positions, such as: standing downstream, kneeling upstream, and lying down, map out a virtual topography of the river in the space. The soundtracks choreograph visitors' movement as water in a polyphony of streams and speeds across the gallery. But where does the visitor's body begin and end in relation to the group and the artwork? Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, a wavy line undulates in sync with the tidal changes of Huangpu River throughout the opening hours of the gallery, creating a dynamic connection between the origin of River Biographies and the waterborne city Shanghai.
In a kinship, not only with the river's ecology but also with inanimate entities such as Water and Stone that are often relegated to mere objects of exploitation, River Biographies incorporates a polyphony of different, more than human, perspectives within individual experiences. This is a process to expand Hanna Arendt's notion of “common sense.” Collectively, the group is becoming a river, and from that perspective, they extend into alliances with entities, such as microbes, machines, weather systems, and entire landscapes, down to elementary particles.
In the exhibition, the real and the imagined negotiating between the visitors via a notion of virtual reality - not as a form of technology but Embodiment, as a medium, can access levels of reality where conventional strategies of understanding and rationalisation become insufficient. It moves the framing of technology within environmental aesthetics from a "data dump" mode of replication of numbers and statistics related to anthropogenic climate change to the concept of "geo-affect," coined by Jane Bennett, emphasizing the role of affective relationships with the environment and material world in shaping political and ethical commitments.
More information about the performance and its schedule will be released soon.
River Biographies is commissioned and supported by Southbank Centre, London.
About the Artists
Lundahl & Seitl live and work in Stockholm. Their immersive solo projects reinterpret the medium of the exhibition as interpersonal processes via choreography, matter and time. Presented around the world, notably at Royal Academy of Art in 2014, Gropius-Bau in 2016, and Kunstmuseum Bonn in 2017. Group Exhibitions include the 8th Momentum Biennale of Nordic Contemporary Art 2015 (NO), An Imagined Museum at Centre Pompidou Metz 2016-2017 (FR), the 3rd Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016-2017 (IN), and a recent commission: Echoes of Alternative Histories at Staatsteater Kassel, which coincided with Documenta Fifteen. In the fall of 2022, the duo was visiting artists at the ACT Programme at MIT.
The duo Lundahl & Seitl have developed a method and an art form comprising staging, choreographed movement, instructions, and immersive technologies, juxtaposed with material objects and the human ability to organize perception into a world. Notions of freedom, autonomy, and what is real, imagined, and perceived are negotiated in an investigation of virtual reality, not as a form of technology but as an ability or sensibility to a relationship with surroundings, with increased insight into how technology makes ‘us’ and lays the ground for the human umwelt – how it connects and disconnects us from each other and other life forms and processes.
Their research is tacit, neuro-diverse, and heuristic. It relies on intuition in an iterative process of allowing concepts, theories and stories to meet the resistance of the physical world via sensory experience, direct observations and listening - often in collaborations with others, such as philosophers, anthropologists, writers, game-engine programmers, neurologists, politicians, curators, as well as the public. Projects are often perennial and develop into series that sometimes fork out into entirely new works. The practice encompasses curation, gallery exhibitions, site-sensitive solo projects, and collective performances in public spaces.
About the Exhibition
Dates: 2023.10.28 - 2023.11.26Chronus Art Center
Venue: Chronus Art Center
Address: 2nd Floor, Building 11, No.50 Mo Gan Shan Rd, Shanghai
Opening Hours: 11 am – 6 pm (last entry 5:30 pm) Wednesdays – Sundays
Courtesy of Chronus Art Center.