Careening Meteorites and the Early Mind
The show takes as its starting point a comment by Barbara Maria Stafford during the Felix Burda Memorial lecture in 2012:
"We have been conditioned by the clinical serial and analytical structures of loss, the emphasis on rupture and sense of futility endemic to 21st century conceptualism and minimalism. This entire emphasis on formalism as a rhetoric of absence or loss, rather than the earlier, romantic ideas of formalism: associationism, architecture parlante, he notion that the human mind was formed in primordial fear and response. The careening meteorites, the glacialisation, the sudden warmings, volcanos, tidal waves, monsters, other menacing hominids, the broken twigs on the snow, animal spore, the sooty handprint: these were phenomenological gifts to the early mind. We have now become accustomed to pessimistic exercises of formalism as a negative theology. Degrees zero pieced together from omissions, gaps, deferrals and ellipses. It is difficult to imagine ourselves in a time when schematic configurations were not either hermenitcally overdetermined or, conversely, cold and empty but revealed something essential about how the brain generates reality.”
As science and art seek new ways to recombine this project draws on iconography of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries representations of science: glassware, alchemists and the poses of early astronomers and how they relate to the utopian urges of 20th century art and science. The work looks at connections between aesthetics of formalism and science, tracing the split between art and science that originated in the late 18th century and continued to the late 20th century and evolving relationship betweeen humans and the non-human world in that time.