Rikke Luther’s current work explores the new interrelations created by environmental crisis as they relate to landscape, language, politics, financialisation, law, biology and economy, expressed in drawn images, photography, film, and pedagogical strategies. She has held teaching positions in Denmark and given numerous guest lectures around the world. Her work has been presented in Biennales and Triennales [such as Venice, Singapore, Echigo-Tsumari and Auckland], museums [such as Moderna Museum, Kunsthaus Bregenz, The New Museum, Museo Tamayo, Smart Museum] and exhibitions [like Beyond Green: Towards a Sustainable Art, 48C Public.Art.Ecology, Über Lebenskunst and Weather Report: Art & Climate Change]. Her first solo work was exhibited at 32nd Bienal de São Paulo in 2016. Prior to that, Luther worked exclusively in art collectives. She was a co-founder of Learning Site (active 2004 to 2015) and of N55 (active with original members from 1996 through to 2003).
The performance The Sand Bank will be showed at the Zooetics+ at ACT, MIT (Art, Culture and Techonology (ACT), School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) the 28th of April 2018 9:30 PM in building E15, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA in relation to the 50 years celebration of CAVS.
The Sand Bank explores the cross vectors of historical political orders and cultural aesthetics, and is presented here as a component in the doctoral thesis Concrete Aesthetics: From Universal Rights to Financial Post-Democracy. For The Sand Bank Luther has collaborated with choreographer-dancer Ian Berg and musician Jesper Skaaing.
The work is a large-scale scenographic stage with images and forms – morphologies – from different epochs. Moving from modernity to post-democratic society. A stage for Ian Berg and his tap-dance troup Subject:Matter (here Samantha Emmond & Adriana Ogle), who has developed a new scenography for a new sound piece, commissioned from the Danish musician Jesper Skaaing, based on the sound from Sputnik. The scenographic and sculptural elements are also working as instruments for the tap dancers. Like one is the high hat, tapping in sand.
Sand marks time. It slips through glass, marking out our hours. But its’ own time is running out.
The great universal architectures of modernity – the transparent windows through which we view concrete offices on the other side of the street, or through which we view the products Silicon Valley – are all built on sand. But sand is in trouble, and with it, much of the concrete and abstract architecture of our time.
In Europe, the concrete bunkers of World War II provided the groundwork for the communal concrete architectures of the era of social welfare and universal rights. As the Cold War grew, sand architecture moved to space, blinking in the circuits of Sputnik. If you listen hard, you can still hear the echoed bleeps and thuds; the rhythms of the 20th century; beat out ambitiously in space.
But the conceptual architectures of Modernity have drifted. Politics soured. Freak capital now seeks refuge in the universal rites of concrete, as sand scarcity eats at the 20th century’s embodiment of progress. History shifted the plan for progress. The symbols of the era of tight democratic oversight have been pirated: in the era of disaggregated Silica, freedom of markets must come at the expense of democracy. Post-war concrete has merged gradually, seamlessly, into post-democratic concrete. Meanings change. The case is altered. Concrete surrendered itself. It is overwritten.
The performance is a part of the recognitions by the Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies.
Support for the performance and the long research trip - which the work is a part of - has been provided by the Nordic Culture Fund, The Augustinus Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Danish Cultural Council.
Overspill: Universal Maps, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2016. (Detail, graphics for tiles).
Created for the 32nd São Paulo Biennale ‘Live Uncertainty’, curated by Jochen Volz with Gabi Ngcofo, Júlia Reboucas, Lars Bang Larsen
(Materials: Ceramic tiles, original tiles from the building, concrete, toxic mud, concrete, slime mould, plants, fossils (pre-historic oxygen producing bacterial fossil))
Certainty lives in a state of continual reformation. Human apprehension is as temporal and provisional as the environment that sustains it. The intellectual systems through which humans apprehend and the environment have their own life-cycles. Life divided by the simple binary plant and animal did not survive the 20th century. The borders of nations, seemingly fixed a hundred years ago, similarly proved themselves to be contingent and temporal. Continental shelves creep. Ice melts. Political and economic fortunes fluctuate. Thinking collapses, just when we think we got it.
‘Overspill: A Universal Map’ comprises a number of separate elements. Four large drawings printed on ceramic tiles map the Global Commons; a concept that negotiates the facts of history, political ideology, law and ecology as they are modulated by the limits of legal arguments and enforcement, national self-interests, global corporate power, and the economic and environmental ‘overspill effects’ of pollution on planetary chemistry and climate. This two-dimensional element is contrasted by a wall of in-built vitrines, housing a number of natural artifacts. Here toxic mud form the 2015 environmental disaster in Brazil rubs shoulders with slime molds, recent concrete ‘techno-fossils’, and an important historic fossil of the first bacteria to produce oxygen on the earth. In the foreground lays, a 1:1 scale model of an 8.26 m prehistoric fungi on a concrete bench. Each of these elements is accompanied by explanatory and commentary ‘labels’, written in English and Portuguese.