South Georgia Heritage
NEON – Fantastical Architecture, Art and Design
FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT
South Georgia Heritage Trust launched an open call for a site-specific commission to be located on Grytviken the former whaling station of sub-Antarctic Island of South Georgia. The project was required to celebrate the whale through a reinterpretation of the former Flensing Plan (a large timber deck used to process the captured whales) and offer a message of hope for future generations by demonstrating how humankind can move from exploitation to conservation. Our proposal imagines that the deck of the Flensing plan has been cut like a piece of flesh from the ground and bent upwards to form an arc. The timber deck is replaced with concrete pavers which are coloured based on the activities which took place in the sites past and present (whale processing and whale watching). The coloured pavers are positioned to create a gradient which provides the visitor with a visual representation of the way the site has changed over time.
For her show High Tide, which was most recently exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, Humeau sculptured a collection of futuristic marine mammals and set about imagining what they might sound like if they could recount complex narratives. With mechanical clicks and whistles, similar to those made by whales and dolphins, Humeau’s creations tell of a great flood – an apocalyptic deluge that sparked the birth of their culture. “These floods”, she explains, “might be the consequence of climate change and rising oceans and the air becoming toxic. Maybe the great flood is actually us. As humans, we are the flood.”
John Russell and Joey Holder
A dialogue between these two artists on themes of myth, ritual and meaning, as much about their exhaustion and propensity to bewilderment as any potential they may inhere, for recuperation for and by language, culture and society.Joey’s work, ‘Religiously observant’, is inspired by alchemical and occult ideas, the world of spirits and hallucinations. The wall print features a gold CGI blazon of the Tetragrammaton It references the Sumerian mythology of the Annunaki a race of ancient chthonic fertility Gods, subsequently inscribed in a series of publications by Zecharia Sitchin (a kind of elder statesman of conspiracy theorists worldwide) as descendants of aliens, who enslaved the human race to extract gold from the earth.John’s work similarly ranges over territories of opposition: between ancient and contemporary; mythic and kitsch; between the viscid and primordial. It takes as its subject the vector of congealment, in the Marxist sense of the way labour power is congealed in commodities and so forth, extending this metaphor into an aesthetics of myth and ritual, emptied out, flattened, compacted like a sedimentary layer of anthropocene garbage, for the post-historical epoch.The sound component provides an aural complement to this structure of refuse, exhaustion and abjection. Mixing pre- or -post-linguistic utterances, grunts, groans, screaming: a kind of secular glossolalia chaotically interwoven with whalesong, deep techno and political oratory.