C8 ECOLOGICAL CONCERNS AND COSMOTECHNICS AS READ THROUGH WORKS IN ARKEN’S COLLECTION

Anne Kølbæk Iversen


This paper addresses issues of eco-criticism and cosmotechnics (Hui, 2016) as they are articulated in two artworks in the collection of ARKEN. Cosmotechnics, as it is applied, here regards the relation between nature and a human horizon of moral, cultural, hermeneutic character, articulated through technical means and activities.

Exposing sheets of photo sensitive paper for 1, 2 and 2 ½ minutes during night-time at the parking lot at ARKEN in April 2017, artist Nanna Debois Buhl has produced a series of images showing small dots of light on a dark background. The specks of dust and grains of sand make it out for stars in the sky. Through engaging with the technique of the celestograph, Debois Buhl opens to questions around the function and status of photographic registrations in relation to the depicted elements of nature.

In Lea Porsager’s video work Disrupted E(a)rthereal Fantasy (Ova Splash) (2016) sculptural abstractions of the inner ear become a point of connection to a spiritual dimension. Here we have to do with an investigation of bodies on molecular and spiritual levels making connections through specific forms of correspondence and communications. We may not be fully capable of understanding these connections, but we get the chance to meet them in the composition of visual, textual-semantic, and material elements of the artwork.

The objective of this paper, therefore, is twofold: to present readings of two works from ARKEN’s collection through the perspective of cosmotechnics, and to provide new perspectives to the discussion of an Anthropocene condition through art.

Anne Kølbæk Iversen (b. 1984) is a postdoctoral researcher affiliated with ARKEN – Museum of Modern Art, where she conducts the research project From a Grain of Dust to the Cosmos (2019-2020).

As a PhD studentshe was part of the research project The Contemporary Condition at Aarhus University and obtained her degree with the dissertation Forms and Formations of Memory. Artistic negotiations of (trans)individuations in light of contemporary memory conditions (2019). 

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