robotic arm with plexyglass object and disinfection spray, 2021
photographic print under epoxy resin, 70x50cm, 2021
print on mesh flag, 100x140cm, 2021
a cast of a hand and smartphone from a soap base, 2021
dirt video projection 40', 1.5 min looped, Google Cardboard object made of soap base.
matte photographic print, 50x40cm.
video projection 27', 2 minutes looped.
As technical and technological developments advance, so does the need for the organisation and filtering of information. Supercomputers calculate the possible scenarios ofthe pandemic’s unfolding, while personal, portable devices become our window to the worldand means of participation in public discourse - they become our organism’s extension. Pandemic made evident how important for our relationships is the technological system of communication and devices required for our participation in it. The overload of theories and opinions experienced today is so overwhelming, that it becomes increasingly difficult to orient oneself within it. Media pulp obscures concrete reports and siphons the public’s attention towards banal news, resulting in informational chaos.
What I find most important in the current situation, is the hygienically ambivalent relation between a person and their technology, as it is the latter which most commonly becomes “the answer” to the main challenges of contemporary society. As stated by Katherine Ashenburg : “To modern Westerners, our definition of cleanliness seems inevitable, universal and timeless. It is none of these things, being a complicated cultural creation and a constant work in progress.”1 Ashenburg’s claim makes evident how broad the question of hygiene is, and how it correlates with a multitude of societal, historical, and economic factors. Instructions regarding the hygiene of our devices go hand in hand with those regarding the hygiene of our bodies. It is common for medical professionals (and others) to repeatedly stress the necessity of disinfecting and cleaning one’s devices, such as phones. For the first time, the barrier of microorganisms existing between men and technology becomes so apparent. Just as machines’ mechanisms used to be greased to ensure their smooth operation, today phones are also wet, sticky from germicides, sunken in them, soaked. The ever-present stickiness refers also to our attention, solicited on every step. It is both a sensory experience, and a manifestation of societal shifts, in which differences come to the fore. The above reflections come together as a single, concrete story, a story of participation. Participation which plays itself out between dualisms - between reality and the virtual, corporeality and the psyche, the eye and the image, cleanliness and dirt. The New Dark Age has dawned, flooding us with its glow. As a response to it, James Bridle suggests the
development of a new language2. Certainly, it has to be simpler and more accessible than the languages of programming. The online space seems less and less like the land of sterility, increasingly resembling a landfill, disinfected only on its surface. I’m naturally drawn to the visual aspects of the processes described. To the way in which the current situation
effects changes in the photographic image’s status and value. To the way in which conduits and receivers become central to the system of interpersonal communication. “We may debate whether our society is a society of spectacle or of simulation, but, undoubtedly, it is the society of a screen.”3
The proverbial ‘eye-wash’ seems adequate here4. The foam sneaks underneath your parted eyelids, touching the eye’s surface, the pain erupts, suds mix with tears, sight becomes impeded. Different substances meet, as the eyes blink, hoping for relief. Our morning hygiene routine ends with a temporary inability to look - into the mirror, at yourself.
“There is no such thing as absolute dirt: it exists in the eye of the beholder.” - Mary Douglas,
Purity and Danger.
1 K. Ashenburg, The Dirt on Clean, Vintage Canada Edition, 2008, p. 13
2 J. Bridle, New Dark Age. Technology and the End of the Future, Verso, London 2018, p.5
3 L. Manovich, The Language of New Media, MIT Press, 2001, p. 94
4 The polish equivalent of the idiom means literally “putting soap in ones’ eyes”
*project documentation from exhibition Disinfection, Rodriguez gallery, 2021