Review of Experimenta Life Forms in Artlink

Experimenta Life Forms opened at Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart on 19th March 2021. The exhibition was reviewed by Eliza Burke and published in Artlink on the 14th April 2021. Here’s our bit!

“The works that resonated most fully with this affective aspect for me were those that blended technological mechanisms with diverse sculptural materials, exploring the impact of scientific advancements on environments and communities via rich material histories and uncanny traces and resemblances…..
Links between human and non-human species, communal practices and the legacies of the sciences are also found in mOwson&MOwson’s feeler (2019-2020), a strangely oppressive work displaying disembodied (fabricated) octopus tentacles strung up like cured meat. In the messiness of the installation with its entanglements of cables and alienated limbs crawling with lights, the work conveys a complex history of exploitative methods of industrial farming, and an uncanny reminder of pathogen transfer between humans and animals.

m0wson&MOwson, feeler (2019-20). Experimenta Life Forms, 2021. Plimsoll Gallery, UTAS, Hobart (TAS).

Throughout the exhibition the decentring of the human subject is key to the critique of anthropocentric viewpoints, but therein lies a contradiction: all technologies, productive or destructive, are our very own. Ultimately, the show refuses to resolve this contradiction, suggesting rather that we must face the challenges such contradictions present, and find ways to adapt, evolve and act towards a new ethics of care and responsibility in an ever-expanding spectrum within which life is generated, defined, and experienced. In the diversity of works, the exhibition challenges us to consider the limits of affect and empathy in a world where technology mediates our relationship with each other as well as non-human agents, potentially reinforcing synthetic modes of interaction and notions of life as programmable, manipulable and replicable. At the same time, it invites reflection on life as something beyond all these systems and structures, a complex and mysterious force that varies and changes over time, in which we are but mediators in a continuum of exchange and transformation. In all the energy ebbing and flowing throughout the show, Experimenta Life Forms impressively captures the ‘eco-mess’ of the current climate and the evolution of a language in which the word ‘life’ references increasingly complex and entangled formations.”

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