Rooms of Now #8
1 November 2021 – 28 February 2022
Curator: Luuk Vulkers
On the Shape of the Sphere
Installation, Architectural intervention
For the eighth edition of Rooms of Now, Vleeshal commissioned the Lebanese artist, composer, technologist and indisciplinary practitioner Jessika Khazrik to make a new, process-oriented artwork. Khazrik chose to rethink the format of this local nomadic program, in the wake of a pandemic that asked us to reassess the notion of physical presence altogether. Usually, for Rooms of Now, an artist is invited to make new work for a Middelburg home; a domestic space which is then opened to the public for a brief period of time. Khazrik's project turned this formula inside out. She invited four international students from Middelburg's University College Roosevelt to collaborate with her. Together, they made the largely ephemeral On The Shape of the Sphere from the privacy of their own dorm rooms. For this project, Khazrik has never set foot in Middelburg, and the public also never stepped foot in these student dorm rooms. So what actually happened there during these weeks?
On the Shape of the Sphere delved into network cosmology, the politics and aesthetics of knowledge representation through the recurrence of spheric shapes on and beyond our –also very spheric– planet. In contemporary western science, knowledge is often ramified into isolated disciplines and commonly represented as a tree with many branches. Something that can grow in regimes of visibility and invisibility. In several cosmologies of knowledge, however, knowledge is and was thought of as far more globular: a nonhierarchical unity, within which different elements, notions, categories and concepts are interconnected in a way that we have been labelled as associative, esoteric and irrational. Interestingly, in Western epistemology and cosmography, a gradual change in thinking about the shape of our earth (from flat to round) roughly coincided with a shifting conception of knowledge from sphere to tree (from round to flat).
The four students that Khazrik worked with for this project can also be considered to make up for a spheric harmony of knowledge themselves. They come from four different disciplines that the artist deems fundamental: art, medicine, law and engineering. The project consisted of four different 'orbits' that Khazrik orchestrated on remote, each of which brought new elements of sound, open hardware sensing devices, objects, video and text to the students, learning not only through and in disciplines but also through history and spatiality. Subjects as diverse as solar storms, contraction cycles in muscular movement, ultrasonic levitation and early satellite systems are all interconnected in Khazrik's cosmos. While On the Shape of the Sphere was, at its core, a private and ephemeral project, executed mostly from the safe confinements of four student dorm rooms, fragments of this bygone artwork are projected into digital space.
Rooms of Now is a project series in which an (inter)national artist is invited to create an artistic intervention in people's homes, in Middelburg. The title is borrowed from a photography project from the artist Maurice van Es, who realised the first edition of Rooms of Now. The series took place from 2019-2022.
Rooms of Now is the follow up of the public program So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood.
In 2015 Vleeshal kicked of its Nomadic Program, as an extension of its existing exhibition program in Middelburg. In its Nomadic Program Vleeshal goes on tour, organising exhibitions and other events in collaboration with venues in the Netherlands and abroad, such as Art Rotterdam, Amsterdam Art Weekend, the Spring Performance Festival, WIELS Art Book Fair, Brussels and Poppositions, Brussels.
This project was made possible by the generous support of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Municipality of Middelburg.