We Don’t Say Goodbye

Organon exhibition space in Odense, Denmark presented the group exhibition We Don’t Say Goodbye, a group show exploring the ideas of transhumanism through the works of twelve contemporary artists 18th October until 1st November. The exhibition included Ivaquexuta (aka Oriol Fuster), Žarko Aleksić, and curator Heidi Nikolaisen (all Alum Berlin ’19).

About the Exhibition
Transhumanism is a movement fuelled by an attitude of seemingly unstoppable enthusiasm for life and for what the human species and the surrounding environment can become. Pursuit of radical life-extension or optional death, bio-enhancement (body 2.0) and morphological freedom as a human right are not far-fetched techno-progressive ravings and pure philosophical speculation. They are rather ideas that permeate our everyday lives, as they are to a large extent carried out in practice by scientists, futurists, inventors, tech-industries and individual tech-entrepreneurs of today. We Don’t Say Goodbye proposes a platform to discuss some of the notions that live in the currents of this ideology.

The collaborate sound- and software piece Recursive Futures by Anders Visti and Tobias Stenberg brings together technological singularities, sentient artificial intelligences and post-planetary architectures to address techno-centric imaginaries and form an ambient future pop music. Echoing theories of the phenomenon of recursivity, the piece could be questioning humanity’s capacity to learn from previous mistakes and our ability to formulate new truly functioning futures. A kind of anticipatory doubt also seem to be present in the paintings Thinking about Painting, Thinking about Smoking, Thinking about Thinking by Kate Sterchi. Drawing on classical oil-painting tradition, her work touches upon one of the crucial points underpinning the transhumanistic project: our consciousness as the new battlefield and acceleration as the speedy backdrop of our decisions. Addressing in a direct way the emotional and ancestral trauma arising from institutionalized violence carried out in the name of medical science is Tabita Rezaire’s video piece Sugar Walls (Teardom). In the piece Rezaire suggests the womb as primary technology, and as such, a technology that has been historically disregarded and mistreated by thinkers and scientists.

If death becomes optional or if death is simply cured – as the disease many scientists now regard it to be – how does that affect our relation to family, to care-taking across generations, the honouring of ancestors and growing up. Dealing with the notion of the child, identity and the household pet, the piece Fold Fold by Sif Hedegård address some of these issues. Consisting of a video and a performance on the opening night the piece presents a dystopic confrontational character animated by repetitive movements and quasi-ritualistic behaviour. The installation The Exponential Alleviation of Separation by Heidi Nikolaisen also hints at ritual and modes of creating connectivity by coupling ideas about ancestor worship with speculations on the dubiousness of the growing industry for personal genome mapping.

The Goddess In Us by Ivaquexuta invites the viewer to play the race track game Super Mario while listening to a ficto-critique in which H.C. Andersen mind-melts with rabbits, Mary Shelly invites you to a full moon party, and the paella continues to cook. The formal aesthetics of the game, the infinity-symbol, could serve not only as a reminder of the metaphor of life as a game, but might also propose gamification as a structural component of our behaviour and nature. The sculptural installation An Infinite Amount of Points by Lea Momberg also explores the notion of human nature as it deals with the symbolic gestures connected to ideas of progress, evolution and spiritual becoming. Making reference to the notion of telos, the piece could be asking what we gain when we evolve and simultaneously what we might lose. The video piece Religious Arm by Žarko Aleksić takes a humorous look at the controversial question of spirituality and technology. In the piece a cgi-animation of a robotic arm perpetually performing the orthodox sign of the cross offers us to meditate upon the perception of spirituality in mechanical and computed entities.

In Tableau (I): A Remarkable Record of Residue Jona Borrut presents a digital micro-photographic investigation of organic and inorganic matter. Drawing on the aesthetics and methods of science in her ways of working with material collection, examination and display, the piece hints at some of the uncomfortable eco-systemic consequences and questionable sustainability issues connected to building a life based on technology. Likewise does Center for Militant Futurologi take a broader look at the planetary and cosmological aspects of our species’ future in the zine publication Universet er en fælled (udødelighed), a collection of speculative texts on immortality, space colonization and interplanetary life.

The exhibition is curated by Heidi Nikolaisen and Lea Momberg and is made possible with support from Odense Municipality and the Danish Arts Foundation.

Poster design: Alexey Layfurov