Slowdown For The Baby
Egg - ZHDK-Space 2021
Art project on the invitation by students from ZHDK Zürich, Switzerland, featuring artist César Axel
On Processes for possible futures
By Salvatore Vitale
The mechanisms through which perspectives enter and live throughout different cultural spaces may vary, but the imaginative power they embed provides different ways to dissect the complexity of our surrounding world. In this context, language plays a crucial role as a force able to generate meaning, contributing to the creation of collective narratives and the way we develop a sense of belonging.
Peilian Li asks « What’s the cost of giving up on fairytales? » For her is in the narration where we find freedom, thus a melancholic uncertainty takes the shape of a hot air balloon, as a response to the unveiled sense of loneliness and powerlessness that our inner child has, like a very feeble signal from the past, a picture that only belongs to yesterday.
A balloon burdened by a basket that feels too heavy to float and whose bottom has been hollowed out, « A tale where a spiral abyss undermines the dreams already left behind », she explains. On the walls of the exhibition, blue tongues mimic the impossibility
to translate these gaps in verbal communication. The inability to narrate goes along with a sense of bitterness. Peilian Li confronts us and invites us to free ourselves from the dynamics that do not allow us to liberate our innate ability to construct reality.
César Axel, cleverly re-arranged the environment with an extension of the ventilation pipe already present in the building, an externalization of his own perception of reality through sounds, bringing in an active quality to the room without intervening its structure. The ventilation pipe reveals an opening from which a distant soundscape can be
heard, through this new vessel in the environment we voyeuristically witness an ongoing ceremony for the construction of an entity twisting and preparing to fly.
Both narratives presented by the artists remain partial, incomplete, and it is precisely in such incompleteness that associations and paradoxes develop, through imagination and fabulation, which, to some extent, constitute our inner infrastructure in the construction of the real.
As we face a growing complexity of our way to make sense of the abstractions constituting modern societies, we’re forced to reconsider the essence of the development of our awareness as individuals. As suggested by Allado-McDowell, « Poetry refuses transactional definitions and allows other views to circulate within its networks of meaning » (1) This, indeed, enables us to resist linear interpretations, to embrace non-linearity as a force helping us to generate meaning.
Finally, what remains evident is the impossibility of completeness, In this sense, the exhibition confronts us and invites us to free ourselves from the dynamics that do not allow us to liberate our innate ability to construct reality.
César Axel (1992 - Guadalajara, Mexico), within his mixed-media approach, explores how society is constructed through technologically-mediated processes and how artistic production can contribute to the transformation of our political environment, our affects, and our technologically-mediated subjectivities.
Peilian Li (1994 - Chéngdū, People's Republic of China / Bellinzona, Switzerland) explores the possibilities and limits of languages in her multi-layered and faceted work. Making use of text, installation, and sculpture, she questions the gaps and glitches happening in between world-making processes and how those grey zones influence the way we make sense of the real.
(1) Allado-McDowell, Kenric, and Metahaven. “We Are Reflections: Metahaven and the Charms of Recursion.” We Are Reflections: Metahaven and the Charms of Recursion | So-Far, So-Far, 30 Sept. 2021. - http://archive.today/etTag