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Closed Circuit, Open Duration

Johanna Lou 2017-09-07 15:05

At Closed Circuit - Open Duration, Haapoja’s solo exhibition held at the Chronus Art Center, the space is made into an unimaginable garden through the use of multiple devices adopting new media and technologies that connect nature-dirt, plants, sound and video; in here, organic beings, digital beings, electronic beings, etc., all interact with each other; life interacts with death, so are the species that live in and outside of our worlds; all these form the theme of the exhibition: The Various Relationships Between Human and Nature. 


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Dialogue


The Theory of Physicality 


When looking back at the entire 20th century, humanity's view on nature has always been constrained by the restoration of the Theory of Physicality which is governed by natural science. Under such view, nature exists outside of consciousness, and it can be reduced into pure materials, particles, and electronic forces; culture, technology, and science are categorized into a different field. This type of categorization formed our view of the world and resulted in corresponding languages. However, science is also forcing us to question the basis of such understanding. Latest studies from fields of animal research, microbiology, ecology, and more indicate that the world is a complex composition, in which our bodies and minds are inseparable, humans and other beings are inseparable. According to Haapoja, though art unavoidably uses the existing languages repeatedly, it can also break the existing categorizations for nature, technology, consciousness, and spirituality, thus responding to the traditional view of the world. 


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ADialogue Between SoundandLight


After entering into the exhibition hall, one is naturally attracted by the trees that appear odd to the space, hanging on the tree branches are some small black devices that broadcast whistle sound when being blown at by audiences. 


This large interactive device, Dialogue, makes trees, sound, lighting, and electricity into one connected system; when physical reactions occur because of photosynthesis caused by the interactions between audiences’ breath and the plants, non-physical reactions are also created through mimicking technologies - It seems as if humans can have beyond-verbal communications with trees. 


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Life and Death


Another important theme of the exhibition is the meaning and intrinsic nature of death, and the emergence and disappearance of various worlds. In a sense, death and nature are equal, our relationship with nature and death is based upon the same origin - a foreign territory beyond human’s subjective view, therefore death and nature can merge as one force that threatens our existence. Our body and every breath we take are all living within nature and death. The role of art is to build a bridge between life experiences and bodies of knowledge; besides demonstrating the operations behind carbon dioxide’s generation in our eco system and carbon dioxide’s significance to human existence, it is also worthy exploring the effect art has on our inner reality, the reality between love and our body, and the reality of death. 


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The video-taping device, Writing, on the wall of the exhibition hall quoted from French author Marguerite Duras’ essay collection Writing: it describes the death of a fly. In the single-screen video-taping device of Anatomy of Landscape, the painting-like images made of live plants illustrate technologies that reserve life during painting.


The five-screen video-taping device of Community demonstrates a body’s decomposition process following the death of different animals. On the round screen are images that have the same size as the actual animals - along with the decrease of the animals’ body temperature, the images reduce in size too until they disappear - just like the disappearance process of the animals themselves in the real world, the entire process could take two to five hours. In addition to interpreting logic and science, the painting-like images also reveal a type of unique beauty. The difference between individuals is significantly reduced until there is none; if we leave out the energy needed to maintain life, there is no meaning to the structures of our bodies, either inside or outside. 


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Entropy 


Humans cannot witness their own death, but we always witness such irreversible process of others. Therefore, our understanding of death seems to be a forever puzzle. The discussion of “others” is also one of the core themes of Haapoja’s art creations.


Human languages form the foundation of knowledge and our experience of the world, but the non-human experiences are rather "silenced". Animals have no ability to negotiate with humans, and we cannot prove whether they possess feelings and thoughts. As a result, many animal-related arts are all visual based - they are viewed as some form of human reflection and sub existence. 



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