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futura spagyrica

2023, Multimedia installation and participatory performance

Prague Biennale, Re-Connect Art

July 10-31, 2023

GHMP Prague City Gallery, Stone Bell House, Prague (CZ)

A multimedia installation and participatory performance looking at transforming ancient alchemic methods for future healing of the collectively dis-eased body. Unfolding as a transcorporeal route into the human body, the path develops the eight cellar chambers of one of Prague’s oldest monuments as an anatomic itinerary, embracing the human and the nonhuman, form and space.

This structural entanglement is inspired by ancient alchemic medicine preparation methods expanding through the eight cellar chambers of Prague’s 13th-century Stone Bell House. The imaginary itinerary unfolds as a transcorporeal journey into the human body, with each room dedicated to an organ or an element of the human body. In its under-skin hospitality, micro- and macrocosms entwine, their interconnectedness dissolving the inner-outer boundaries of bodies, mainly composed of void and space, and therefore permeable, transmittable and porous. In this meditative journey at the threshold of what is not ordinarily seen, we invite visitors to reflect on and trace possible ways to heal today’s collective body in dis-ease.

futura spagyrica is conceived as a structural cluster inspired by ancient alchemic medicine preparation methods. The eight cellar chambers encompass two sections: spa – that which divides, separates and draws out – containing the brain, bones, eyes and vocal cords; and ageiros – that which unites, combines and gathers – comprising the heart, lungs, blood, spirit and skeleton. The route views the cellar exhibition site as an anatomic itinerary, embracing the human and the non-human, form and space, and the cells of the collective body. We assume that space emerges from the interrelation between objects, structures and actions, suggesting an embryonic dynamic theory of space that considers the relational context in which space is constituted. As a result of both visible and invisible exchange processes, symbiotic coexistence occurs on the body level.

The installation presents objects, videos, prints, dia positives, body matter and short texts as elements of our recent research into radiography as an inquiry into artistic self-exposure and visually becoming transparent to oneself. In the two video works, we layer digital radiography scans with actions through illuminated membranes, becoming reciprocal hosts. In a series of prints on paper, glass and dia positives, we combine radiography scans into new constellations, imagining "Future Anatomies" that offer a deep gaze into the potentials of bodies and the cosmos itself.

The cardinal element and final of the route through the soma is the joint-shaped psychomagic and epitomical nonhuman implementation of the Collective Homunculus. This sculpture is to be assembled by the visitors during the weeks of the exhibit, embodying and mapping the dis-ease of the collective body of today in a transition from a formless state to manifestation. We aimed for a site to embody and map, in a transition from a formless state to a manifestation, the dis-ease of the collective body of today. Our invitation to people was to acknowledge their spots of dis-ease, discomfort or pain in their body, imagining those as pieces of black clay and placing authentic pieces of such on the corresponding spot in the skeletal spinal column of the collective sculpture. At the exhibition's concluding live performance, this new non-human body shaped by the visitors' pains partook in our act. In it, people came forward to share their best cures and healing practices. In an action of writing, dissolving and collecting, then the sculpture's black pain spots came to rest, soaking in the infusion of the collective cures.

Curated by Elis Unique and Jitka Hlaváčková

Technical director: Miloš Marek

Exhibitions views and performance photographs © Jan Černý, Michelle Adlerova, Robert Carrithers, Miloš Marek, Karla Kusa, Elis Unique and VestAndPage 2023

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