Aline Bouvy & Nicolas Pelzer
Looking at technology and its evolution/development is one way of perceiving the simultaneity of things: What exists at the same time in various places, can be obsolete in one and necessary in another. Everything connects, but the evolving steps in technology are only slowly getting globalized. Since we finally had the epiphany, that history is not a singular narrative, but a multitude of storylines, perspectives and shifts, how would it be possible to capture a fraction of our time in an adequate way? When the concept of progress fails where does our need for a narrative driven plot lead us to and can it branch out into the periphery? This question is similar to the idea to describe where our present begins, or ends. Technology evolves so quickly – currently, and over the past 160 years – that it always pushes the present into a state of flux and future, affordable for the one, problematic for the other, but always only in one direction: ahead. Improvements, innovations and recycling of ideas pushes the lifespan of our lives, as well as the boundaries of our bodies in a new a continuous quest of understanding our place in time, space and society. This never ending loop of the not natural, accelerated and technology invested life is also our way to look for a better future, to overcome limitations and boundaries, but is also inevitable.
Late Dawn refers to this delay of what is inevitable to come and cannot be changed.
Aline Bouvy’s installation The future of not working combines two different objects that depict depleting economies. For one, piles of self-baked charcoal pieces1 are spread across the exhibition space. Charcoal and coal, just like oil, used to be the dark gold of a nation, prospering wealth across the region, firing the economy. The German word Kohle (coal) became a synonym for money, because coal turned into the source for economic, social and cultural transition. Today however, it is associated with destruction and pollution, leaving massive markings in our hinterlands – irreversible scarring. In addition Bouvy created molds of discarded ATM machines. By deforming their shapes, they look beaten up, even close to melting and seem to derive from a near future that unleashed its wrath against the financial economic system. At the same time, as digital currencies and transactions are on the verge, these machines slowly become obsolete. These exhausted machines of Bouvy could also be a notation of an ongoing Angst by populists, that express their fear from an oppressive government taking the cash by force. Be it nostalgia or the need of revolting against the upcoming – time goes on, relentlessly.
Nicolas Pelzer instead enforces the concurrency of different periods. His interest with objects that seek industrial perfection has led him to his latest series Cockpit Rule resulting in life sized anodized aluminum laser cuts of cockpit armatures. Being reduced to their outlines the armatures become monochrome minimalist sculptures that yet contain the stylistic information to date their chronology. Alongside this piece Source of Warmth (2018), one of his light-sculptures from the ongoing series Evolving Masters – Lantern traces an imaginative narrative of invention, combining kerosene lamps with complex aluminum pieces. Often depicting shapes of hands or footprints, some being taken from prehistoric cave paintings Pelzer works embody the notion of being made despite their slick appearances that have standardized human craftsmanship. While his works are planned with 3D software, the production process is however mostly outsourced. This evolution of technological advancements – from the mechanic expansion of the human body, to the autonomous mechanical object towards a binary and abstract process, maybe even quantum computing at some point – are important for Pelzer, as they reflect on the human nature and its process of evolving.
For the roof of Mélange, Bouvy and Pelzer developed a steel structure also called Late Dawn that reminds of a bursted and worn out bird cage. As the revolving idea of the objects in the show referring to mining in one or another way, this sculpture is an interpretation of the warning system mines to down with them into the shafts, a bird in a cage that react earlier than the human if there was poisonous gas or depleting oxygen. A mixture of cage and chandelier, two kerosene lamps hang from the sculpture and enlighten the space. Like Evolving Masters, the lamps technology date back to more than 100 years and are still being produced today and can function outside of our very demanding electrical grid.
1We know they look like little anus shaped models. Please enjoy the view and do not step on them.