"The Theater of Disappearance" ... What is Disappearing?

What does a post-human world look like? What will get us there? Are we already heading there?

These are questions I pose in thought in relation to The Pacific Standard Time Show presented by the MOCA Geffen showcasing Argentinian artist Adrian Villar Rojas in his solo show "The Theater of Disappearance." Having seen this gallery three times, my experience always became more immersive and less dark, despite the exhibit being the most low-lit art experience to date. The first time going I literally felt alien to the mundane organic and mass-produced recognizable objects composed in the refrigerator boxes arranged around the museum. The uneven earth ground, the hanging bloody meat, the cut-up fake (?) human limbs paired with nikes, the molding yams and fruit flies, all spoke to me of human's lack of technology in a post-human world. Where we continue to create and create, to progress and progress, but will never being able to fully understand the biology of our world nor ever learn how to create it. We are always in a state of mimicking that ironically takes away from the products we seek to create.

Thats my two-cents.... what's yours?

Links:

Pics of Exhibit

Article on Exhibit


Comments

  1. The conversations I had with my classmates about this exhibition touched on disappearance due to gentrification going on in the LA arts district and how the art institutions are facilitating it. Even though Rojas might not know about what's going on in boyle heights, by having a show in LA talking about Earth and displacement brings this issue to mind.

    I also found the blue walls super interesting. I was lead to believe it is a chroma key shade of blue used in green screen process. The space was sort of a virtual reality projection of the future. A post apocalypse landscape where still lives depicting bounty and technology were frozen in time, yet left to rot.

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  2. In this exhibition I see the exploration of hybridity, but a failed sort as you explained in our lack of understanding when it comes to technology. Although advanced technologies do not seem to be present in this space, we get a sense of this through bright white LEDs providing life to terrestrial plants which seem overgrown, and landscape that takes place in the blue serenity of an earth without human beings. As a post-human exploration curated and executed by Villar Rojas, this exhibition narrates just one of many possibilities in the future of Earth, a place to be dominated by the next advanced “being” or intelligence after our line. In a Post-Human examination, we are reminded that human life and bodies are temporal, and that our belongings and objects which we have created can absolutely outlast us.

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  3. Looking through the photos of the exhibit, I feel a sense of being in what I would describe as “a realm of decay” from the layered rock pillars to the various incubated human organs mixed in with rubble materials. From the title itself we are set in a mind state of questionable proportions. Are these objects lost? Or merrily just forgotten? Have they always been this way? Or has time been added to the equation?
    Through the blue colored scenery I have the notion however much questionable these exhibit is, it does not exude pain or fear. That in this sort of environment of “disappearing things” they’ve found their peace within the stillness of their surrounding.
    That is to say that is my impression on the objects freely placed in the blue complex.
    Now as for those kept in incubated display cases I find it even more puzzling. Objects so carefully placed with visible air conditioners at the top of the box and white neon light to illuminate the object. Is it just to be kept for viewing? Or is the preservation of these objects a deeper metaphor?
    Could it be that these kept objects are the artist own thoughts or ideas or even feelings? Purposely placed in the “Theater of Disaperance” ?
    As humans one of our greatest obstacles is the art of forgetting and yet we constantly are doing it. But there are some memories, some thoughts that can never be forgotten. So what do we do to solve this issue and keep our sanity? We box them up and place them in our own realm of forgotten things. Though these things may live, maybe they can also disappear. Being removed from ones reality doesn’t mean you aren’t then placed in a new one.

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  4. After visiting this exhibit, the most notable feeling that comes to me is a sense of drowning.

    When you first enter the exhibit, you most likely automatically look at the floor when entering because of the step onto the exhibit floor and the dim lighting. I think the blue flooring can be seen as symbolic for being under the ocean and where there are earthy patches in the exhibit, we are on land.

    After your eyes have adjusted to the lighting, you are presented with an art piece, a lit meat cooler filled with natural/unnatural debris (flowers, fruits, wood & shoes, clothes, electronics) that brings to my mind what we produce and it's interactions with the earth over time.

    As you step more into the exhibit, you'll see large boulders/rocks, pillars made with natural/unnatural materials as if you were looking at a 15-20 foot sample of what is inside the earth, and more coolers demonstrating our effects on earth.

    Overall, what the artist portrays to me is our effect on the world and also our ignorance towards it. I also think the artist did a good job of making the exhibit comprehensible to those who are not in the art wold, showing that the art world should reflect the world and should also be for the masses.

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  5. I think a post human world is in the foreseeable future given the rate of our negligence. Our demise will be our growing isolation, exploitation, and misunderstanding of the natural work. Humanity thrives off of the illusion that we are somehow separate and superior from the natural world, which in our minds gives us justification to abuse it. But as the gallery showed, humans are at the mercy of the same circle of life and decay that every other organism is. That cyclic fall and end is inevitable, and one day the remains of our era will just be another layer of debris among the bedrock that reads the history of the planet, akin to the fossils of extinct organisms that we study in labs and keep in incubators just like in the gallery.

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  6. Hello,
    I think that anything in the post human world would be the humans fault. We are responsible for what the earth has given us so we should take care of it but unfortunately the human race is very selfish and most only care about the time they live on Earth. When you first look at it, it looks like things are rotten or decaying but after a while the meaning of it starts to make sense and you start to appreciate the world a little more.
    Stephanie M

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  7. I believe that a post-human world has already begun. It is when we as humans acre about technological progression and advancement over trying to play god. The more we focus on trying to recreate and create life the further we destroy the world around us. Fabrication is poisonous to the host and our intellectual greed is the poison.

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  8. The artist definitely made an impressive display, and response to Duchamp's "readymade" bicycle wheel on a stool. The response does seem as though somewhat childish, and mocking towards traditional art. Also I hate to say that I was more impressed by the machinery the artists utilizes to preserve some of the pieces, like the negative freezing temperature refrigerator.

    -Andrew L.

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  9. Sounds like someone has been overdosing on Cioran -- or something worse.

    "Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?"

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  10. I believe this kind of post-apocalyptic world that he is showing us came about through the greediness from humans. We value progress, technology, information, and advancement as a human race over the environment, and each other. I see the footprint left behind by us, and the harmful effects on those we deem as lesser beings- for example other humans, animals, and nature. Unless humanity loves each other and nature more than our personal agendas, this post-apocalyptic state will be inevitable.

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  11. Interesting take on the exhibit! For me, the show illustrates the self-destruction of man, and I found the juxtaposition between the refrigerators and dead pieces of organic materials to be noteworthy. The functioning man-made refrigerators demonstrates the powerful ability of man to create useful, lasting technology. But the fact that they are housing dead organisms speaks to their destructive quality. To echo your comment, man creates materials to advance mankind, yet it simultaneously destroys it as well.

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  12. If I may digress from post-world Apocalypsian mealy-mouthing to present day art:
    Ms. Swihart is an artist mature behind her years

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    Replies
    1. BEYOND her years...is what I meant
      but this 20th-Century-aholic
      in a Freudian slip
      spilled some accidental poetry
      on this page:

      behind her years
      beyond her ears
      laughter and tears
      shouts and cheers
      locks and gears
      in subterrain
      her domain
      of loss and gain
      tilts towering toward
      the latter
      but how are you
      graded?
      and if you
      traded
      ten selfies for
      one true friend
      you'd get a better blend
      of art and reality
      of ha ha ha
      and HAstility

      behind and beyond
      the eyes
      lurks the big prize
      but the true artist
      can vary its size

      and when walking
      on the flying trapeze
      know when
      NOT to sneeze

      but ALWAYS
      when to copyright

      good night
      sweet K

      Delete

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