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Exhibition: Cosmologic Arrows at Bonniers Konsthall

Text by CLOT Magazine

Eyes in the Sky, Anna Hoetjes (2018). Video still. Source material ESTEC, European Space Agency

What is the meaning and purpose of humankind’s existence, and what kind of a future awaits the Earth? These are some of the fundamental questions Cosmological Arrows asks its visitors. Uniting a variety of disciplines such as AI, astrophysics, ecology, and gender science among others, several contemporary artists have taken on the challenge of exploring these important questions from many different angles through the filter of science fiction. 

Since its inception with Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, science fiction has captivated people’s imaginations and persisted as one of the most popular literary genres. A place where both real and fantastical ideas can fuse, creating new worlds, science fiction is the fruit of the author’s imagination, their vision of a technologically sophisticated future. Although 2019 marks Frankenstein’s 201st anniversary, Mary Shelley’s gothic story poses critical questions that are still relevant today. What exactly do we consider human? What responsibility should humans hold for their actions? 

In today’s uncertain world, accelerating into an even more unpredictable future, we face many challenges, from the catastrophic consequences of climate change and loss of habitat and species to political unrest and mass migration. This harsh reality necessitates the existence of art as a platform where creatives confront us with uncomfortable questions and postulate possible and impossible outcomes of our future through the lens of science fiction.

The multimedia exhibition includes displays on diverse topics by artists from across the globe. At the centre of the space is Lee Bul’s large-scale glass installation resembling an entrance into an alternate world. Artists Allora & Calzadilla ponder why we are so desperately seeking intelligent life in outer space while disregarding the intelligent species on our planet. At the same time, Anna Hoetjes envisions a universe where women have conquered the space. One of the artists, Lawrence Lek, who works with simulation and VR, creating unusual virtual worlds and scenarios, has spoken to CLOT about some of his projects. 

Using science fiction as a virtual experimental space, Cosmological Arrows aims to begin a conversation about modern society’s ethical and existential predicaments and challenge our vision of the universe and its future. 

Cosmological Arrows will be open to the public from August 30 to November 10, 2019, at Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm. 

(Media courtesy of Bonnier Konsthall)
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