Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Expo I: Dark Optimism

Photograph of Olafur Eliasson’s “Your Waste of Time” by Hallie Cohen
A group named ProBio makes the following declaration as part of Expo I: New York at P.S. I: “Some scientists and thinkers have speculated that in the near future with the advancement of applied  bioscience humankind may no long be subject to Darwinian natural selection. In its place would be a world of horizontal gene flows between people and other forms of natural and unnatural life—a world driven by self actualization in which genes become open sourced, biology becomes software and the distinctions between living organisms, information, objections and products become irrevocably confused.” As you walk into the ProBio room at Expo,  an artist named Dis has created I Feel Robot mints which chase you around the floor, like overly friendly pets. The collective and magazine Triple Canopy has subtitled the show “dark optimism,” for the way it attempts to deal with what the curators term “the sociopolitical and economic instability of the early 21st Century.” Triple Canopy has also organized fifty days of lectures under the title, “Speculations,” which will deal with the environmental issues raised buy Expo I.  One of the pieces in the show is Olafur Eliasson’s “Your Waste of Time.” In the work a part of a glacier is restored in an ice cold chamber. On a recent sweltering hot afternoon, the experience was a little like the famous Twilight Zone, “The Midnight Sun,” where a character hallucinates that the earth is falling out of orbit into the sun when in fact it’s going in the opposite direction. Which way is the earth headed is one of the questions that the Expo I would probably like to answer.

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