Corrupted Air – Act VI (2019)
Taipei Biennial – You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet
November 21, 2020 – March 14, 2021
Curated by Bruno Latour, Martin Guinard, and Eva Lin, essay
The artist invites us into Corrupted Air—Act VI (2019), a survivalist bunker, or rather into an installation that explores the imaginary of the “panic room” in case of catastrophe. As the glass doors of the room of the installation open, the visitor notices that the space remains uninhabited, except for three strange creatures: the avatars of extinct elephant bird, trilobite, and lizard. They came back to “life” thanks to highly precise scanned digital models and they engage in a discussion based on a scenario written by the artist. In the course of the exchange, they keep mentioning the “Last Man,” a sort of prophetic figure, who nevertheless brings no salvation: “when he arrives, I’ll be even more bored” says the digital trilobite. As they are waiting for an end that does not come, they indulge in existential heart to heart reflections: “You can only die twice. First when you stop breathing and second when somebody says your name for the last time.”
Entitled You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet, the biennial aims to question our current ongoing geopolitical tensions and worsening ecological crisis by examining our differences and influences on a planetary perspective. As Latour and Guinard commented: “There is increasing disagreement on how to keep the world inhabitable, not only because political opinions diverge, but more crucially because we don’t seem to agree on what the earth is made of. Some today may even think the world is flat! It is as if there were several versions of Earth, with properties and capacities that are so different that they are like distinctive planets, which results in deviation in the way one feels, behaves, and predicts their future.”
The biennial proposes a fictional “planetarium” within the museum, wherein the invited artists, activists and scientists will explore the tensions between the gravitational pull of different “planets.” Each planet embodies a divergent version of the world, not only in terms of representation, but also in terms of materiality. The planetarium includes: a planet for those who relentlessly modernize despite planetary boundaries (planet Globalization); a planet for those who feel betrayed by globalization and want to consequently build walls for seclusion (planet Security); a planet for the few privileged who want to settle on Mars to avoid the doomsday (planet Escape); a planet for those who cannot afford such a costly trip but instead seek refuge in an environment imbued with metaphysical beliefs (planet with Alternative Gravity); and finally one for those who are concerned about the climate situation and trying to reconcile the balance between maintaining prosperity while keeping within the planetary boundaries (planet Terrestrial).
Photos by Taipei Fine Arts Museum