Feral Atlas Collective

Feral Atlas Collective documents the effects of big infrastructures (human activity). The artwork consists of videos of damaged environment, texts about the underlying fundamental concepts of human activity (like capital, taking, dumping, grid, empire), and stories about un-designed effects of plantations, factories, power stations, big roads, etc. Every action aiming to change an area have consequences, and most of these consequences are unpredictable. The artworks indicate some of these consequences; a mud volcano emerged due to drilling activity of an oil company in Indonesia, increasing underwater noise pollution in the Arctic, and plastics in the Pacific Ocean. Moreover, the artwork tries to show us the human-centric cultural background that legitimizes the harmful activities. Here is an excerpt from the artwork: Plane the land to pick up speed / Tame the water to gather force / Manufacture flat concrete / Surfaces proliferate [Propagules proliferate] / Step on the gas – accelerate / Hurry fortune / Pain or plague / Hurry fate / Smooth and speed

Some of the videos from the artwork

Feral Atlas Collective

Armin Linke – Prospecting Ocean

As Feral Atlas Collective (mentioned above) explores the consequences of large-scale human interventions on the planet, Armin Linke’s video, “Prospecting Ocean”, captures the reality of seabed mining in oceans. In the video, Linke shows conflicting perspectives of different stakeholders; the local activist group in Papua New Guinea is worried about the marine life, on the contrary, international authorities make rules in closed-door meetings, scientists make researches about mining activities, and lawyers discuss about legal frameworks to exploit an exclusive zone: ocean surface. As the technology develops to exploit unreachable areas of the planet, we become more alienated to the nature, and each other.

Compiled sections of the video

Armin Linke – Prospecting Ocean

Suzanne Husky – Earth Cycle Trance, Regeneration

Suzanne Husky’s artwork consists of a rug and a 32-minute video. The rug depicts the web of life, and regenerative land management practices using narrative folk iconography. The video includes Starhawk, a theorist of feminist Neopaganism and ecofeminism, speaking and playing drum. Starhawk offers a trance session to unify us with the tree of life in our planet. We start to feel like we are the tree reaching out toward the sky for energizing our leaves, we are the earth in a chaotic harmony. Harmony with the tree of life passes through a genuine empathy with the life, so that, we can understand we are harming ourselves when we harm the life on the planet. Moreover, Starhawk sometimes chants chorus part of this song: https://youtu.be/nVwF34LcZCg

Grounding Meditation

The video is not recorded during my visit, however the meditation session was similar to this recording with Starhawk’s sound.

Eva Koťátková – Machine for Restoring Empathy

Eva Koťátková’s artwork is like an empathy experiment ground consisting of installations, drawings and videos. There is a sewing machine in the room which is used to sew together strips of fabric to accommodate animals, plants, things, and people that feel incomplete, and need empathy. The artwork includes different structures that correspond to stories that help viewers empathize with those who are not given voice, such as a washing machine stopped working due to overwork and low wage, a bird who wants to learn to speak to defend the rights of islands, an octopus dragged out of the sea by a child and left on the shore, a wheel which decided to revolve and to roll freely where it wanted, without someone else’s orders, etc.

Suzanne Treister – The HFT Gardener

Suzanne Treister creates a fictional persona who is an algorithmic high-frequency trader and ‘techno-shaman’ named Hillel Fischer Traumberg. The character had experienced a new level of consciousness thanks to psychotropic drugs and plants when working on algorithmic High-Frequency Trading (HFT). Then, he explores correlations between plant life, shamanism, numerology and the high-frequency movers of capital. In the exhibit, we see a series of drawings of shamanic experiences, charts and graphs of correlations between big banks, companies, numerology, Hebrew words, and drugs. The artist creates a new level of reality and shows the documentation of the new reality which is in Traumberg’s mind. We experience this new reality in the post-truth era, and we get wrapped by all the graphs, drawings of this new reality.

The story of Traumberg

Suzanne Treister – The HFT Gardener

Mariechen Danz – (various artworks)

Mariechen Dans exhibits a series of artworks which focus on the role of human labor in our environment by showing the imprints of human organs on bricks. Moreover, the artwork reminds a possible future investigation about Anthropocene after the sixth extinction. The “Learning Cube (soil example)” shows layers of cement, coal, iron, seed etc. which are the symbolic materials of civilization and our impact on planet. The artwork investigates the relations between human, control, history and future-archeology.

Ozan Atalan – Monochrome

Ozan Atalan’s artwork consists of a video and a water buffalo skeleton. The video shows the water buffalos wandering around the construction zones in their habitat; the new Istanbul airport, a third bridge across the Bosphorus. As the water buffalos are baffled and trying to escape the hassle of the construction area, the construction machines pass by them, and continue their work. This is a story which is invisible for many of the residents in İstanbul, and every construction site was home to some living things once upon a time. One of the many consequences of the “progress” and civilization is shown in the video, in a neutral-colored room with a real skeleton of a water buffalo.

Radcliffe Bailey - Nommo

Radcliffe Bailey’s artwork is a ship installation containing statues of black figures, and two voices: a song by Sun Ra Arkestra, and voices of workers building boats in Senegal. The artwork refers to contemporary diasporic relations, and historical Middle Passage, which was used to transport Africans westward. The artwork explores the topic by recalling an analogy between the past (slavery) and contemporary. The western culture exploiting the peoples of the Africa (and nature in the context of biennial) for the good of white people is one the main themes of this artwork.

Mika Rottenberg – Spaghetti Blockchain

Mika Rottenberg’s video examines human-object relation in the labor process. The artwork approaches labor from an alienated perspective and points out the monetization of labor in the capitalist system. The video includes several examples of the interactions between human and material world: marshmallow-like cylinders being cut with a focus on sound (ASMR), a potato field being harvested by a windrower, etc. The movements of human hands in the assembly line seems absurd due to the “unproductive” theme. The artwork associates absurd labor activities with a Tuvan throat singer song, which is an outdated tradition, and the noise in CERN. Overall, the artwork tries to alienate the viewers against the outdated myth hidden in our materialistic culture: the idea of transforming something for our benefit.

Video section 1

Mika Rottenberg – Spaghetti Blockchain

Video Section 2

Mika Rottenberg – Spaghetti Blockchain

Hale Tenger – Appearance

Hale Tenger’s work consists of several obsidian mirrors, a tree (with a sliced bark) in a garden, and a whispering voice reading a poem. The poem is from the voice of a tree who informs us about a botanical technique known as “girdling”. Girdling is used to force trees to produce fruits faster and sweeter. The tubular system of the tree is deceived by cutting around the bark of the tree. In the poem, a tree is talking about how bad it feels to be girdled, and the mirrors in the garden enable us to face ourselves. The garden becomes a space for introspection and regeneration for humans.

Tala Madani – (various)

Tala Madani exhibits two corner paintings and an animation in a room. The corner paintings depict a scene projected by projectors. The projections remind our individual perceptions that we experience through the illusions. The animation shows a man going up and down repeatedly using moving stairways. As the character stick together with his routine, a group tries to stop him by pushing him down the stair. However, the character never stops his routine even his body falls into pieces. Eventually, the group stops intervening. The animation and paintings project how power structures fool our perceptions routinely and get consolidated by repetition.

A section from the animation

Tala Madani - The Audience