Hyphen Hub Salon:  A Language of What May Not Be Said

When: Thursday 29 September 2022

Time: 7:00 pm doors | 7:15 pm salon | 8:15 – 9:30 pm social

Location: Onassis Foundation, Olympic Tower (ground floor), NY

For our first collaboration with ONX – an incubator that forms part of the New York Onassis Foundation, Hyphen Hub conducted a salon showcasing Lundahl & Seitl, a pioneering duo of a new immersive anti-disciplinary practice within contemporary art and performance.

The salon was part of a week-long series of programming organized by the Swedish Consulate and Scandinavia House in New York.

Christer Lundahl & Martina Seitl discussed their two works that were installed and performed that week the Onassis Foundation: Symphony of a Missing Room (2009 – ongoing) and The Memor which was made with co-artists ScanLAB Projects.

Commissioned to coincide with Documenta Fifteen, in Symphony of a Missing Room – Echoes of Alternative Histories the value of agency and guidance is constantly negotiated in a dance of listening, adapting, and responding: not only to the immediate movement of your unseen guide but also to the objects and events from the past that have been integrated into the works’ choreographic score. As triggers for future experiences, these objects and events surfaced and were played out horizontally in the present relationship. Friction between visual and auditory organs and the nerves of the skin between the two bodies temporarily became the artwork. Participants wore sightless goggles that induce a spatial white-out, partly rendering our sensory interface to the world incomplete, and partly enabling a new relationship with the surroundings by blurring the distinction between sensing/reasoning, and body/mind.

A guiding hand gradually earned the trust of the one being guided, while a whisper in the ear synchronized our movement and breathing with the architectural sound in the headphones, which closed the sensorial loop between our body and the imagined space through a reversed engineering of the vision.

The Memor, made with London based co-artists ScanLAB Projects, involves VR technologies in friction with material objects and the human ability to receive a world. Inside the 3D-scanned environments, the visitor’s own body was present as a ghost: an absent presence. The body enabled the experience of virtual space becoming a wetware repository of minerals, ancient vases, and traces of energy systems.

The Memor is a testimony of all living matters’ close connection with geology: the surface of the earth stored within a lineage of objects, tools, and technological matters, inseparable from the human Umwelt.

The capacity of memory allows the human mind to experience music rather than
perceiving one tone after another. “The Memor” is a choreographed room that
passes through the visitor’s body like a song.

The installation was accompanied by: The Memor by Malin Zimm, a speculative fiction text and an expanded narrative framework. Objects and scenes in the installation thus took on a multitude of experiential modes: physical, virtual, narrative, and emotional. The fiction expanded as the art installation evolved, yet its parts can be red and experienced in any order as a non-linear envelope. For our presentation, we brought some audience members to wear on the VR glasses while the audience watched on the large screen segments of what was seen in the VR headset while one of the artist described to the audience what was going on in the surreal ghostly landscape in which the participant disappeared becoming a particle in the room, erased from its human physical presence but feeling it as he/ she navigated the space.

As a piece of speculative fiction, the text moves from the old world to the new, weaving history and fiction together by picking up facts floating in the tide.

Their works and projects have been exhibited in museums and institutions such as the Swedish National Museum in Stockholm, Gropius-Bau / Berliner Festspiele, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kunstmuseum Bonn (DE), Tate Britain (UK), Royal Academy of Art (UK), 66th Avignon Festival (FR), Centre Pompidou Metz (FR), 8th Momentum Biennale (NO), and the Kochi Muziris Biennale (IN) Lundahl & Seitl are supported by The Embassy of Sweden Washington D.C, Consulate General of Sweden NYC, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee and the International Program for Visual Artists(iaspis), Stockholm Stad, Nordic Culture Fund, and Kulturrådet Sweden / Swedish Arts Council. Our thanks also go to Streaming Museum for their support in kind.