ephemeropteræ 2017/#5 – Chus Martinez | Hilary Koob Sassen

Hilary Korb Sassen. Photo: Christoph Liebentritt
Chus Martínez. Photo: Christoph Liebentritt

In her lecture-performance “From Planck Scale to Love or How to Mime an Ocean”, curator and philosopher Chus Martínez speculates about miming as a search tool. “Until recently, if someone had told me that I would be meeting mimes and reading extensively about the history of the form, I would have walked away. However, some months ago I found myself thinking how to think about nature differently, and I ended up giving myself mime as a possible answer. Already Charles Darwin in his Journal of Researches wrote extensively about mime and how imitation produces a powerful feeling of exchange and communication. Imagine, then, to propose mime with mimes as a way to relate to images of an archive dealing with the seas. Those performers are definitely in the ‘spirit of the gift,’ to quote Marcel Mauss. They are experts in producing analogies in assuming what the mime requires: perfect equality among the subjects that mimic each other. Improvement? I mean, is it really a way? To start mimicking the seas? At the end of the day those mimes are part of a circus, not the staff of a critical institution, and, let’s be honest, it is difficult to see mime without thinking that the romantic trope of interiority itself could be rendered transparent. Mime does address the old dream of the very possibility of an inner, more private satisfaction that opens up to another. But if the other is a shark, it may be a way out of the trope.”
In The Adventures of Copernica Weng She and the Treasure Ship, American artist Hilary Koob Sassen maps the intellectual and social efforts that would be required in order to overcome the slippery condition we live in. He describes the lack of traction we experience in this world: on the one end, the absence of a vernacular contract through which we could work out how to cooperate on aggregate outcomes and on the other end, the lack of a true grasp of the material that could improve these conditions. Between them: the loss of a connection between money and quality, matter, or labor. The theater in which this plays out—where we might conquer infrastructure finance and colonize the scalar niche for life in these times—is a dark, saturated space. 


Born in Spain, Chus Martínez has a background in philosophy and art history. She is currently the Head of the Institute of Art of the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel, Switzerland. At the Institut Kunst, Martínez has initiated a series of commissioned works for der TANK, the exhibition space on the Campus of the Arts: Fabian Marti (2015); Mathilde Rosier (2016); and this year Ingela Ihrman. She is also developing a cycle of international presentations and a research project on the oceans in collaboration with TBA21–Academy. This summer the Institute will be also organizing the Summer School at the Swiss Institute in Rome. Before her position in Basel, Martínez was the Chief Curator at El Museo Del Barrio, New York. She was dOCUMENTA (13) Head of Department and Member of Core Agent Group. Previously, she was Chief Curator at MACBA, Barcelona (2008 to 2011), Director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2005–08) and Artistic Director of Sala Rekalde, Bilbao (2002–05). For the 50th Biennale di Venezia (2005), Martínez curated the National Pavilion of Cyprus, and in 2008 served as a Curatorial Advisor for the Carnegie International and in 2010 for the 29th Bienal de São Paulo. She is currently preparing “KölnSkulptur #9,” a Sculpture Park in Cologne opening October 15, 2017, and an exhibition on Metamorphosis, opening at Castello di Rivoli, Turin, in February 2018.

The American, London-based multimedia artist Hilary Koob Sassen describes himself as neither humanist nor determinist but rather as errorist. He has exhibited at ZKM; Karlsruhe, the Whitechapel, Barbican, and Serpentines Galleries in London; Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridgeshire; Steirische Herbst and Transmediale festivals; and the 2nd Athens Biennale. He has curated exhibitions at WUK Vienna and T1+2, London. 
June 30, 2017 at 7 pm
TBA21–Augarten, Scherzergasse 1A, 1020 Vienna
free admission
supported by
Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein