Metaspore, a look into the “biopolitics of the senses” – We Make Money Not Art

ByMary E. Alvarez

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We are acquiring more and more comfortable with the concept of getting a community of germs living inside and on our bodies. Health and fitness industry experts have convinced us that we need to treatment for the “friendly” microorganisms in our intestine though the natural beauty market sells probiotics-infused mists and potions that will sustain our pores and skin “balanced”. But how do we feel about micro organism when they do not belong to our own microbiome? About the other microorganisms that are in and all around us at all periods? Other people’s microorganisms, for example? Or the viruses, parasites and fungi that inhabit us?

Anicka Yi, “Metaspore,” exhibition see, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2022. Photograph Agostino Osio

Anicka Yi, Shameplex (element), 2015. Installation watch, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Picture: Agostino Osio

In her new present at Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan, Anicka Yi subverts the white, hygienic and temperature-controlled place of the art gallery by filling it with microbes, metabolic procedures and is effective that ferment, foam, mould and perish. And if a lot of of them smell, it’s not only simply because they are brimming with life but also mainly because scent -a sense that art tends to overlook- tends to make us face our assumptions about gender, race and hygiene. That is what the artist phone calls the “biopolitics of the senses,” a method that highlights how our associations with odor -together with sight- breed prejudices and anxieties.

In her get the job done, the artist employs microorganisms and olfactory activities to obstacle human exceptionalism and examine themes as distinct as the co-existence of distinct organisms, nonhuman types of intelligence, id and societal violence.

As for the title of the Milan clearly show, ANICKA YI. Metaspore, it is motivated by the organic earth. Spores are mobile reproductive units, developed by particular fungi, vegetation and bacteria, that can give rise to a new individual without having the want for sexual fusion. Typically doing the job with industry experts in fields as various as biology, AI and the fragrance marketplace, the artist extends the thought of spores to the processes of proliferation and transformation that pretty much give daily life to her is effective.

Anicka Yi, Immigrant Caucus, 2017. Set up perspective, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Photo: Agostino Osio

To enter the ANICKA YI. Metaspore exhibition, you have to stroll by a steel mesh gate. On the floor, 3 steel tanks that look a little bit like the cans used by pest management professionals are diffusing a scarcely detectable fragrance. The fragrance, produced in collaboration with perfumer Barnabé Fillion, was acquired by blending the chemical compounds observed in sweat samples gathered from Manhattan’s Chinatown and Koreatown, with the emissions of carpenter ants, a species that is well-known for staying notably tough to “control” once they are inside or in close proximity to a home.

This pairing confronts guests with stereotypes about an nameless mass of Asian immigrants who do the job really hard, cook smelly, suspicious foods and live in impenetrable communities.

Immigrant Caucus implies that scent can spark intolerance. Racism even. Smell does not regard the boundaries we establish for ourselves and our bodies. It can get tangled with ethnicity and course: Who is effective all day on their toes? Who can afford to pay for air conditioning and high priced perfumes? Who handles meat and fish?

Anicka Yi, Biologizing the Device (spillover zoonotica), 2022 Set up look at, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Picture Agostino Osio

Anicka Yi, Biologizing the Device (spillover zoonotica), 2022 Installation view, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Picture Agostino Osio

Anicka Yi, Biologizing the Equipment (spillover zoonotica), 2022 Installation perspective, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Image Agostino Osio

Designed in collaboration with the Division of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Biologizing the Equipment (spillover zoonotica) attributes seven substantial show conditions, suspended from the ceiling. Just about every houses a Winogradsky society, an ecosystem of neighborhood soil, bacteria, cyanobacteria and algae. The mild in the place influences the look and behaviour of the photosynthetic microorganisms. Above time, website visitors can witness their evolution. The organisms adjust colours, decay, grow and move close to to build dwelling landscape paintings or a new sort of ultra-slow cinema.

The ecosystem activity is monitored electronically, suggesting maybe a potential in which hybrid machines will be speaking and potentially even collaborating with microscopic everyday living varieties. This co-existence of distinctive non-human types of intelligence may possibly be thrilling but the phrase “spillover” in the title has dim undertones. It evokes the latest pandemic and the uncontrollable consequences of viruses transferring from animals to men and women.

Anicka Yi, Auras, Orgasms and Anxious Peaches, 2011 (impression by means of 47 canal)

A tiny room, paved in the variety of white tiles you can come across in public loos. A viscous, yellow liquid is leaking down of one particular of its walls. It is not what everyone thinks. It is olive oil and the moment you know it, you come to feel a lot less queasy about that odd odour you detected as you approached the perform. The connections you created between the sterile placing and the yellow liquid change and the public bathroom results in being a private kitchen area or a culinary lab. It is even now sticky and a little bit smelly but it feels much less offensive.

Anicka Yi, Le Suffering Symbiotique, 2014. Set up check out, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Picture: Agostino Osio

Anicka Yi, Le Pain Symbiotique, 2014. Set up perspective, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Picture: Agostino Osio

Le Agony Symbiotique (The Symbiotic Bread) is an inflatable PVC dome that hosts an ecosystem of organic things and a sequence of artefacts. The flooring is lined in bread dough and ochre pigment, though sculptures produced of glycerin and resin sculptures occupy pedestals. Photographs of microorganisms in motion are projected onto them.

Site visitors are not allowed to enter or go as well close to the construction. Which may possibly propose that they are not essential. After all, it is microorganisms, not human beings, that are undertaking the heavy lifting in the bakery. Extravagant sourdough bread exists typically many thanks to the get the job done done by invisible bacteria and yeast fungus.

Le Ache Symbiotique is like a artificial intestine: in constant movement, it ferments in the literal and allegorical sense. Possibly that is why the structure is off-restrictions: to avoid the launch of intestinal gases.

Anicka Yi, Releasing The Human From The Human. “Metaspore,” exhibition watch, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2022. Photo Agostino Osio

Anicka Yi, Releasing The Human From The Human. “Metaspore,” exhibition check out, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2022. Photo Agostino Osio

Anicka Yi, 12 Synesthetic Crayons, 2015. Installation check out, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2022. Photo Agostino Osio

Anicka Yi. Metaspore, curated by Fiammetta Griccioli and Vincente Todolí, continues to be open at Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan till 24 July 2022.


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