Last year I was an invigilator at the Welsh pavilion at the Venice biennale and while I was out there I did a lil bit of writing about the art I saw. One of my fave things was @theomassoulier
’s work at the Hyper Pavilion and here is a lil snippet of a longer piece which you can read in full on my Venice blog if you wanna (link in bio ✨): While I’ve been in Venice I’ve been reading Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, and when I saw these creatures at the HyperPavilion I felt like they’d come from the same world. That is, our world but not yet. They are Théo Massoulier’s Anthropic Combinations of Entropic Elements; creatures made from fragmented plastic toys, isolated electronic parts and organic material. These strange hybrids are at once part of a natural history, resembling the archaic but familiar shapes of dinosaurs and reptiles, and evidence of the drive of human culture into a new digital realm, visible in the physical parts of computers that invoke an expansive virtual world. These creatures are future fossils of a world that is just becoming, mythologies of an almost here.
Massoulier’s animals, or machines, or neither or both, reminded me of the experiments in genetic mutation described by Atwood. In Oryx and Crake she details the Pigoons that can grow multiple human kidneys at once, adapted for human transplant, and the ChickieNobs, the next evolutionary step for the chicken that becomes a large fleshy mass with one hole for breathing and one for inserting nutrients, the most efficient version of an animal bred to be eaten. Here Atwood describes man’s intervention into the process of evolution and begins to imagine the possibilities of the unknown that follow on from apparently logical developments, like the creation of such disturbing creatures in response to specific human needs. This logic corresponds to Massoulier’s creatures, in that man’s influence is visible in their man-made elements, yet it seems that, in their apparent random nature and seeming lack of purposeful design, they have gone past the human. This is a continuation of an evolution of which we are only a part, not a producer. (cont. in link ✨) 🦕 x