Saturday, March 7, 2009

'Metamorphoses' at Espace Louis Vuitton, Paris

If you happen to be in or near Paris and moreover, you are drawn to transhumanist ideas, make sure to give Espace Louis Vuitton at the Champs Elysees a visit. You are taken to the top floor by a pitch black elevator where 10 Korean artists show their visions on how our identities are changing concerning our societies, our bodies, and our architectures. These modern works are definitely a splendid complement to all the centuries old art of, say, the Louvre, and in an often playful or humorous way put you back into the contemporary world and the issues we face today.

Hyungkoo Lee seems to want to prepare us for a world where even on a biological level we cannot distinguish anymore between what is determined for us by evolution, and what is created by us. She shows skeletons of cartoon characters that are so realistic that suddenly a Roger Rabbit world does not seem that far off. We seem indeed to be living in an era where the simulations that used to be bounded to the realm of representation are about to be biologized. If cartoon character and biological entity can blend into a "Homo Animatus", what then constitutes a living being? Is everything that seems alive not already alive? Is every recognition of a living being not merely a transitory self-projection arising out of an existential insecurity that makes us look for patterns with which we can identify and stabilize a self that is inherently fragile in a self-induced illusionary structure constituted by things we posit as distinct from us? Is the distinction between life and death not merely the result of narrow-mindedness? So, are we not already dead as much as we are alive? I think you already know my answer.

Another interesting work is a giant tornado-like shape composed of miniature translucent human figurines created by Do Ho Suh. This colorful structure might signify how we all need to act together, as one mind, but all playing a slightly different, unique role. A hominized atmosphere, transformed by man, in harmony with human values and needs, what a beautiful idea that is. Maybe the only way to reconnect with the nature we were once so immanently immersed in is to become it.

The exhibition will be open until August 23rd, 2009. Here's the address:

Espace Louis Vuitton
60, rue de Bassano/101 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris.
Tél: 01 53 57 52 03

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