It is always exciting to see how museums organize parallel events to the exhibitions they are hosting that can help visitors developing further specific subjects and themes.
In a previous post we looked for example at "The New Human", a film and video-based project curated by Joa Ljungberg and organized at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. As you may remember from that post, the event explores the human condition - and subtler or darker themes such as living, socialising and controlling each other - in our fast-changing world.
Tomorrow, instead, the Moderna Museet Malmö and Malmö University will launch The New Human Symposium, featuring speakers Patricia MacCormack, Sverre Raffnsøe, and Susan Kozel and with the world premiere of a brand new 16-mm film by Ursula Mayer - "Atom Spirit".
While the symposium explores what it really means to be human in our era of profound social, political, economic and technological changes, Mayer looks in her film at the boundary between biology and technology.
In Mayer's practice (but in our world as well…) languages, genders, organisms and environments dissolve and transform, while different materials come together to form new compounds.
Set in Trinidad and Tobago, "Atom Spirit" (2016) features an evolutionary geneticist played by transsexual actress Valentijn de Hingh, clad in a sort of futuristic space suit.
Faced with the imminent threat of mass extinction, the geneticist collects DNA from all forms of life in order to create a cryogenically frozen Ark.
In her film Mayer takes viewers through forests and lagoons, antiquated labs (these artificial environments where a new humanity can be discerned or created seem to be the main space of choice for the artists included in the Moderna Museet events - so please designers take note as there may be hiding a trend behind all this interest for labs...) and illegal, underground LGBTQ communities.
In this way Mayer links human relationships with the environment, and transforms genetics from a complex discipline into an intriguing investigation into a future in which mutating hybrids suspended between organisms and machines or enhanced by information technology may be the norm rather than the exception.
"Atom Spirit" will be shown daily from 30 August to 4 September 2016 as part of the exhibition "The New Human - Knock, Knock, Is Anyone Home?" at the Moderna Museet Malmö.
Image credits for this post
"Atom Spirit", Production stills 2016, 16 mm on HD © Ursula Mayer
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