A Few Hours Into the Future
A Few Hours Into The Future
This exhibition invites the viewer to consider the possibility that we are in an extinction event. Unlike the catastrophe that killed off the dinosaurs, the Anthropocene-era extinction is extremely slow and will continue for several generations more. The installation and objects in the show expresses a feeling of ennui, a tedious, lonely and impending apocalypse. Arcega coined the term Slowpocalypse (slang) during a workshop with The Bureau of Linguistical Realities in San Francisco, CA, USA. This new word was created to give a mental shape to a feeling and intuition about our fate. Additionally, this exhibition is an attempt to give a physical form that our bodies will relate to, making us aware of the underlying angst that we collectively experience.
During his residency at Unicorn Centre for Art in Beijing, China, Michael has created several projects; a large-scale installation that occupies both main galleries, a media-laden tricycle, and sculptural objects in a green-screen environment. The first item the viewer encounters is a vehicle that function as a portal into an inflatable room. Once inside, the plastic space isolates the person from the rest of the world; they are transported and displaced, like a low-fi biodome. Simultaneously, the viewers outside the inflatable architecture can see hazy images through the membrane. Bamboo scaffolding give structure to the bubble, making a reference to buildings and informal architecture.
In an adjacent green-colored room, are a number of objects for consideration. The items and arrangements are an attempt at expressing an artifice and futile efforts of surviving the present context. Some of the items refer to illness and healing while others refer to labor and class. These items are also used as disruptive characters in the media installation on the second-floor gallery. The implications of the green-screen room allude to myths and falsehood that pervade our mediated lives.
Upstairs, Arcega has customized a tricycle commonly found in the streets of China for vending and delivering. This tricycle is heavily-laden with several large monitors that have been jury-rigged to emote a feeling of urgency and desperation. Produced during five weeks in Beijing and Shanghai, the videos loosely depict barriers, sustenance, pollution, culture, modernity, and the overwhelming amounts of discarded bike-share bicycles. The work emits a cacophony of images and sounds that appear unorganized but results in unexpected juxtapositions. The resulting chance pairings generate a semiotic pile on the tricycle. The collection of images of romantic landscapes, urban spaces, and mundane activities like riding scooters, waiting in line or taking a selfie are frequently interrupted by the Foreign Bodies. Overall, these mundane activities (like taking selfies) are a subconscious gesture to prove one’s existence and participation in life, ignoring or defying the Slowpocalypse.
While the exhibition does not attempt to offer any solution to a global problem, it provides a poetic awareness. There are no single answers to the human-caused climate change, but addressing our emotional intelligence can be enlightening.
Presented by Unicorn Centre for Art, the first solo exhibition in China by Michael Arcega
Special thanks to Lei Tong and Jingwei Qiu