Gallery: Pékin Fine Arts
Artist(s): Phénix Varbanov
Opening / Event Date: 28 Jul, 2023
Closing / End Date: 30 Sep, 2023
Date: October 29 – November 24, 2021
Venue: G07, The Galleria, 9 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong
TEKNOLUST: OBJECTOPHILIC FUTURES envisions a post-singularity utopia/dystopia in which humans interact with intelligences of their own creation on equal footing. The exhibition manifests multiple realms of existence: a fungible, physical space in Woaw Gallery on Queen’s Road, Hong Kong; EPOCH’s REPLICANTS, which digitally recreates the architecture of Woaw’s Queen’s Road location and surrounding neighborhood in a timeline with an alternate roster of artists; and a series of IRL, WOAW-situated portals that provide networks between tangible, spiritual, and virtual universes.
Before entering the physical gallery, Stephen Neidich’s The so-called blush response, 2021, is a set of kinetic curtains that serve as a welcome, or perhaps a warning, through the gallery windows. They open and close of their own volition, revealing, then obscuring, then revealing again the worlds that inhabit the space beyond. Nik Kosmas’ Collapse 4, 2021, is a female, sculptural human-android form that rises from the gallery floor, ascending into or being repelled from a metaphysical wormhole of L’s levitating spells. The time-traveling vessels are specifically programmed to block and ward off the birth and existence of the singularity—and to complete the dissolution and reversal of any multiversal trajectories that slipped through the cracks, along with a restoration of organic consciousness. Further on, Theodore Boyer has transformed the gallery walls into a starmap, delineating pathways to a multiverse of new realities: Nicolette Miskhan’s Luna, 2021, portrays a mermaid stretching herself into a yantra, at one with the moon; Hortensia Mi Kafchin depicts the black emptiness of space as masseur, caressing the mind and body of a willing woman until she merges as one with its cold embrace; Greg Ito’s tondo is a literal window to the grand finale of humanity itself.
Deeper in the environment, beyond the starmap, the corporeal and virtual integrate in a blackened room. Jennifer West’s Cat Clone Copy Hologram 1–3, 2021, which jerry-rig 16mm cat films hand-painted with ink and urine to be playable by current and future technologies, float above the walls on holofans alongside Dr. Woo’s Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn’t let you into heaven for 1–7, 2021, a series of unique, digitally-rendered masks. Each of Woo’s pieces calls upon various movements in which disguises have maneuvered throughout history functionally, allegorically, and ritually, from Inuit ceremony to contemporary digital faces on Twitter and Reddit. Within the exhibition, each mask will be auctioned individually as NFTs. The winners will be presented with a choice: cash-in the token for a flesh-and-blood tattoo of the design from Woo within a year of the initial sale, upon which the token will be destroyed; or allow the work to exist as an avatar on the blockchain in perpetuity.
Both West and Woo’s pieces cross the uncanny valley into EPOCH’s REPLICANTS, which is projected in the blackened room and available universally through the world wide web. REPLICANTS is a virtual prophecy of the Queen’s Road of the future. It is devoid of people, populated only by machine and artistic energies. West’s Skyscraper Painted Hacker Cats, 2020–2021, alight the facade of a deserted building, a cryptic spin on the cryptokitties of today. Woo’s masks are indelibly marked on frozen and hanging cadavers/replacement body parts inside WOAW’s gallery space, perhaps as an oracle of what is to come for those who burn their tokens to have their bodies inked. Qianqian Ye + Tiare Ribeaux conjure A.A.G, 2021, a massive, transpacific godexx rising from the ocean, born from submarine fiber optic cables and a desire for connection. Katja Novitskova’s Approximation (Tyrell Owl), 2021, surveys the desolate scene from behind a storefront window. On the streets of REPLICANTS, the owl’s status as approximation is irrelevant—it is as authentic as anything else.
In TEKNOLUST: OBJECTOPHILIC FUTURES, there is no segregation between electric and organic sheep. It is a blueprint, a guide, and a cautionary tale of existing futures in which we shed our skin suits and upload the collective consciousness to new frontiers.