HYPEROBJECTS, ARCHAEOLOGY OF NOW
“We can see, for instance, that global warming has the properties of a hyperobject. It is “viscous” — whatever I do, wherever I am, it sort of “sticks” to me. It is “nonlocal” — its effects are globally distributed through a huge tract of time. It forces me to experience time in an unusual way. It is “phased” — I only experience pieces of it at any one time. And it is “inter-objective” — it consists of all kinds of other entities but it isn’t reducible to them.”
- Timothy Morton, “Introducing HyperObjects,” High Country News
The term “Anthropocene” is an example of what eco-philosopher Timothy Morton calls a “hyperobject,” something that can exist in many places and times at once, something so massive or minuscule that it is outside our traditional methods of human analysis and comprehension. The current chaos and anxiety caused by acceleration in all domains, generates hyperobject entities such as “climate change” and “Styrofoam” and “big data” and “semiocapitalism” and “technological singularity.” In a personal attempt to decode the current systems, I create my own set of hyperobjects, here in the present, projected toward the future, inspired by the past. These artifacts are composed of the materials we humans are most likely to leave behind in the geological record: concrete, plastic, and chemicals.
In a way, I am recalling the already distant tradition of Robert Rauschenberg and the New Realists, who in the 1960s practiced the criticism and sublimation of the consumer society by creating art from waste. Like the work of Tara Donovan (Untitled / plastic cups), however, my work can be read as a re-evaluation of these questions and a mental and material projection of the situation in a broader context, in time and space.
For many years, I have collected the packaging of electronic devices, from simple cardboard boxes to complex imprints made from plastic and polystyrene. They are used as molds, filled with concrete, and presented as rare ancient sculptures or utilitarian objects. Informed by the practice of Kader Attia (The Imprint of Others) or Isa Genzken (World Receiver) I fictionalize these object-imprints inverting the grail of progress, in a futuristic narrative.
Sometimes they are concrete blocks assembled with wire and found plastic, historic samples, acknowledging the work of space and time in layers of material. Operating as clues, these relics are the hard vessels left behind from our immaterial energies and information processes.