with four REM-light images from the picture gallery
MicroSonical Shining Biospheres No.1, 2009
by the artist couple <SA/JO> Sabine Schäfer/Joachim Krebs
in the version with piping covering, 2019
and the audio composition RaumklangMilieu III from
Audio Biosphere No. 1, 2009 by <SA/JO>.
Metal, LED lighting, print graphics, audio composition,
audio QR code graphic
Courtesy: Sabine Schäfer, JRC
Sabine Schäfer. FRAGIL, 2021
The light image gallery consists of four SEM image motifs of representative micro-organisms and insects, as well as an oversized QR code trailing the installation.
The creatures are rendered as classical portraits of a scanning electron microscope, in a rectangular rod on strings, as if “on silken threads.” Lined up one behind the other, however, the hanging does not follow the usual pattern of, say, a gallery, but is more reminiscent of the arrangement of dominoes. The first portrait is given in the situation of toppling over, so that the eye of the viewer continues this process of toppling over in his mind’s eye and triggers a chain reaction of toppling over. But the ropes on which the pictures hang stop the process and render it as a key moment in the sense of Laocoon, a moment that is able to narrate the whole event from all sides. The given snapshot of the falling over shows the smallest creatures and insects in the form of oversized portraits, which for the first time Visavis appear to us almost at eye level, expressing their equality as living beings. It looks as if they have already mutated into monstrous creatures through external influences and present their angry-looking likenesses in a vertical “lopsided” position. The viewer participating in this experimental arrangement can immerse himself in a laboratory-like staged insect milieu by means of a QR code with his smartphone. What can be heard are insect sounds that have been highly magnified using a specially developed sound microscopy process, arranged into very unique compositions that together intone a haunting canon of one of the most important inhabitants of the earth. An unveiled rear view reveals technology and leaves open the question of its original size and equality. In this way, the aesthetic staging of monstrous insect portraits in the midst of a wire mesh cage takes up themes of both the technoid and the living, and poses fundamental questions about power, naturalness, and limits.
Most forcefully, however, the principle of chain reaction is presented here as a central theme that sets in motion connotations all its own in connection with our intervention in nature.