2P Contemporary Art Gallery, Hong Kong / 17 Oct. 2012 – 05 Dec. 2012
list of works:
Navigating Langsdorff, three embossed and debossed digital prints with pencil, 53 x 86 cm, 2012.
Biocenose, notation book in accordion folds, 42 x 29,5 cm, 2012 / sound composition, transducers on glass window, 2012
voices: Eimer Birkbeck, Jean-Marc Stefani, Vivian Corringham, Cédric Maridet
Latent, still, Wrightia Laevis, 2-channel video, installation, 2012.
The Soft Science Cabinet Apis Cerana, stainless steel cabinet with glass box, 2 aluminum plates coated with natural bee wax engraved with sound groove, dead bees, honeycomb, and hives residues in glass dishes 93x53x90 cm / sound composition, 2012, 35’ voices: Ali Van, Cédric Maridet
Written by Pui Pui To and Angel Wong, based on research notes from Cédric Maridet.
“Distinct Factures. A Return from Langsdorff” appoints the theoretical concept of a transformation of a physical reality that exists conventionally outside of our perceptional comfort zone into a reachable distance through a mediated perspective presented by the artist and originated from various relevant hypothesis bought up in the history of science, language and semiotics. “Factures” in the title of the exhibition refers to Pierre Schaeffer’s theory of sound objects as the qualitative criteria that sustain sound or the way that the sonorous energy is communicated and manifests itself in time; in the context of the presented works relates to the particular gestures of writing, recording or reading employed as the means of deployment in translating an unenclosed meaning; in the exhibition space as the void where different hypothesis from history is revisited and resonates, where different signs suspend and be possible to interweave a yet unknown prolongation in the spectators. In correlates with Jacob von Uexküll’s theories of the Umwelten that state parallel subjectively interpreted world of different organisms could be found in a single unchanged environment, there will be no definite answer of truth to be displayed in this exhibition but only distinct factures that could possibly bring one close to the verge of one’s perceived reality – the gap one has in between different perceived spatiotemporal worlds of different individuality as well as animality and thus, catch a momentary glimpse of the relatively substantial world.
Transforming the gallery space into a Wunderkammer, a chamber of curiosity that fascinated many predecessors in the Renaissance, Maridet borrows the historical practice as a point of departure, adopting the form of an assemblage, to simultaneously explore different overlapping layers of meanings in perception and representation: the possibility of a re-enaction of a particular sensual engagement within a milieu of overlapping subsystems with the use of different modes of writings and signs; the significations and unavoidable limits in the translation of an existing physical reality to representation; the entropy in perception; and the need of defamiliarisation for one to be familiar with the outer world and hence in reverse, with oneself better.
The invisible heuristic journey concealed in Distinct Facture revives Goethe’s ideology of “delicate empiricism”, as Walter Benjamin points out, providing a ruminative dimension for inspectors to be stimulated and to involve themselves with the object in a way so intimate that the engagement itself could possibly be found as a true theory. The temporal world Maridet constructs in the gallery space is not a given, but a composition of interactions between signs that might be or not be recognized. It is an aperture open up to different subjective eyes for alternative engagements with a physical reality.
Rooted in experiences during his residences in the rainforests in Brazil and Penang, Maridet revisits Hercule Florence’s premier attempt to capture the physical reality of an environment through signs in the history of the Langsdorff Expedition (1826-1829) as an analogy to the scientific and methodical undertone of the encyclopedic assortment of works in this exhibition. Hercule Florence
is a precursor of the development of notation that set off the possibility to translate the vocalization of different organisms at the time without the technology of sound recording and this revisiting of the prior experimental attempt to document a visible and untouchable sensuous stimulus in the past triggered, in Distinct Factures, the use of sonograms (a visualization of sound that articulates time with frequencies) and the act of recording as a particular sensitive practice, an analytical tool and a center element in the composition of works.
The exhibition incorporates works on paper, video, installation and sound composition. This miscellaneous collection of intricately fabricated works urges the audience to decode a stratum of signs and generate their own translation along the way through Maridet’s transposition in his oeuvres. Through a systematically organized perception experience and the act of recording, different samples of signs are constructed to become a possible descriptive form of a particular territory (a specific, subjective, spatiotemporal world); to represent nodes of opportunity and open pathways to new potentials of knowledge, representation, imagination and narratives; to create a new syntax for the outer existing reality.
Employing a cartographic practice with various layers of elements compressed into one, Navigating Langsdorff, the three digital prints (twelve thirteen fifteen, nineteen two twelve, twenty-three twenty six twelve) recall the spectrum structure in sonograms but in an abstract form that awaits to be unscrambled. The prints combine photographs taken from the rainforest in Penang that are traced through computer analysis to recall shapes from the sonograms while the reproduction of the image has set a fictional interpretation of a map of Langsdorff. Constructing a fuller composition, the scientific taxonomy present in this environment is layered onto the photographic prints in which individual meanings of words could evoke the geographical impression on the spot they are placed. Framed with a cartographic aesthetic, the prints further bring into mind a subtle sense of an odyssey led by different unfamiliar signs towards a faraway fictitious land that is now brought close to the reality. Each title of the prints indeed represents particular moments in time, specific intervals in the sounds recording, that are paused now visually in front of the spectator. However short-lived this point in time is supposed to be, a number of layers, signifying multiple scientific, lingual, philosophical meanings and a vast spatial expanse, are condensed to paradoxically unearth the extreme of our insensitivity and selectivity in face of reality. The work brings us back to Uexküll’s theoretical view of the world as an indefinite summation of every individual’s, every kind of animality’s “self-centered”, single dimensional, subjective perception; as each print presents a composition of multiple overlapping layers of dimensions of delineation that implicitly suggest more invisible and undiscovered possibilities underlying them.
Biocenose explores another scientific form that epitomizes a further dimension of the exhaustive ecosystem, the nomenclature that represents the immense quantity of animal and vegetal species. The first part of Biocenose comprises of a notation list that is organized according to the syllable length that coincide with the quality of sound, while each of the scientific names is arranged on paper on a temporal and frequencies axes. The semantic representation, or scientific taxonomy, in the action of listing attempt to exhaust the possibility of description and subsequently, re-realise the unattainability of a full account of actualities even with the most meticulous effort, the temporal yet eternal gap between the being and representation and finally the perpetual attempt of human beings or interpretants in closing this fracture in communication. The second part is the verbal interpretation of the score in the act of reading aloud by four different voices. The scientific names are replaced by the vernacular language and are articulated in speech sound focusing on the different subjective rhythms of oneself. The act of reading, in bringing about a sound composition, operates a temporal transfusion between the internal time and the time of sound. In opposition with the relatively passive written notation in the first part, reading as an unavoidably interpretative act brings into consciousness of the primary limit for a full translation between different mediums.
The Soft Science Cabinet, Apis Cerana, is a sculptural installation made up of a stainless steel cabinet with a glass box containing dead bees, honeycomb, hives residues and two bee-wax LPs. This work revisits the history of early ethology founded by Karl von Frisch who studied the common expressive abilities of bees and human in having an abstract language. The investigation raises epistemological and ontological questions to nature and language; the possibility of other ways of engagement that could lead to far historical, anthropological and metaphorical threads. Again, in relation to Uexküll’s concept of a larger existing reality beyond our self centered perception, to be able to grasp or to imagine the world through the eyes of another organism, such as bees, we must abandon our dependence on the humanly means of communication or basis of thought, such as language, so to be able to eliminate the boundary of set questions and open up the possibilities of engagement with a larger context of matters. The use of bee wax in fact also relates to the history of sound recording as there was a time it was used to coat cylinders of early recording devices. The idea of that the needle of a record player would destroy the bee wax plates before it could be played also found a poetic duality between the act of recording or the attempt to re-listen and the absurd impracticability in itself, which restates the co-exist- ing possibility and impossibility of representation of the whole, or for it to be unified.
Latent, Still is a video of the canopy at Penang’s National Park and relates to installation with trees hanging upside down aside, vertically form the gallery ceiling; which emphasize the vertical void that dominates the rainforest. Coming from the Anacardeaca family, whose irritant acid, would drop with rain onto a shelter, where thought to be safe; the installation added another intriguing duality that often exist between perception and reality; the often mistaken impression of the ability to comprehend the truth in a single dimension of perspective.
Exhaustive sources of sensual experience and the overlapping yet different animalities within an intricate internal landscape are taken collectively as the keynote of this exhibition. Audience will find though, they remain largely absence; unseen and unheard. In this particular moment of time, Maridet has set himself off to the outlying perceptual territory, to exhaust the limitless representation possibilities and to seek to get out of oneself through a work of defamiliarisation in creating alternatively a distinct facture to delineate the world.