In the opening paragraph of his fantastically crazed modernist masterpiece At Swim-Two-Birds, Irish writer Flann O’Brien wrote: “One beginning and one ending for a book was a thing I did not agree with. A good book may have three openings entirely dissimilar and inter-related only in the prescience of the author, or for that matter one hundred times as many endings.” Following this logic, this program over four evenings will have four themes, and each evening will be independent from the others. They are all self-contained. Yet their dissimilarity will not hold for long, as they are compelled to inhabit the same space. They will start to interact and dissolve into each other. Animals enter architecture and politics begins to rhyme.
If the success of a philosophical idea is to be measured by the extent of its infiltration and the depth of its anchoring into popular consciousness, Marx’s concept of commodity fetishism surely is a strong contender for the top position. The idea that goods can behave as though they have a life of their own, or that they can compel us to behave as though they do, is so entrenched in our minds that it has almost become a commonplace. In works by Michael Eddy or Elizabeth Price, symbols of capitalism such as credit cards (Eddy) or luxury cars (Price) are presented with their souls, while Ann Lislegaard’s digital animals seem to have already moved into their own universe, leaving our world that constructed them behind. An artificially fabricated creature imparting its prediction for the future, thereby guiding us; is that the ultimate form of reification? What if an economic system, and the exchange of goods and capital, came to resemble an eco-system? For artists, this means the line between reflection on life and imitation of artificial systems has become blurred. In Ann Lislegaard’s works, digital creatures, a form of sentient artifacts, seem to have already moved into their own universe, the space composed of the networked group of various fictional universes of science fiction, leaving our world that constructed them behind.
Jean Painlevé, La Pieuvre, 1927, 12 min
Elizabeth Price, West Hinder, 2012, 22 min
Michael Eddy, Infinite Cruelty, for nothing, 2016, 33 min
Ann Lislegaard, Spinning and Weaving Ada, 2016, 3 min
Ann Lislegaard, Time Machine, 2011, 13 min
Ann Lislegaard, Dobaded Dobaded, 2014-2015, 6 min
Ann Lislegaard, Oracles, Owls… Some Animals Never Sleep, 2012-2014, 10 min
Curated and presented by Yuki Higashino, guest: Ann Lislegaard
Yuki Higashino lives in Vienna. He has recently exhibited at Le BBB centre d’art, Toulouse, Schneiderei, Vienna (2016), Mount Analogue, Stockholm, and Skånes konstförening, Malmö (2014, both with Elisabeth Kihlström). In November 2016 he will present a joint exhibition with Elisabeth Kihlström at Gallery G99, House of Arts, Brno.
Ann Lislegaard lives in New York and Copenhagen. Exhibitions (selection): Paraspace, Tel Aviv Museum (2015); What if, MOCAD – Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2009); Science Fiction and Other Worlds, Astrup Fearnely Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (2007); Danish Pavillion, 51st Venice Biennale (2005).