Artistic Research on Climate Crisis
Artist Talk | With Sybille Neumeyer
On 23 April 2023, Art Laboratory Berlin presents an artist talk with Sybille Neumeyer about her work souvenirs entomologiques #1: odonata/ weathering data in the framework of the exhibition Vicious Cycle. In March 2022 scientific research revealed that microplastic pollution is now present in the human body. It moves around in the blood, lands in organs and passes to infants via breast milk. The exhibition Vicious Cycle is based on the closed cycle of human disturbance of the environment and its return to the human and nonhuman body. In the exhibition the artists’ investigative and research-oriented works explore the problem of microplastics in soil, the impact of climate change and the effects of excessive agricultural activity on the water, soil, animals and wildlife.
How can insects help us perceive and respond faster to the climate crisis and environmental threats? In her artist talk, Sybille will share insights from her research and dialogues with scientists and experts. She will examine how insects mirror the relationship of humans with their environments, and further reflect on the agency of (digital) insects and emerging networks of critical data in the critical zone: How is climate change experienced by a dragonfly? What does she know about the weather? How can – in a data-driven world – old forms of insect-human relationships be recollected, to recover a diversity of knowledge, as fertile ground for new allies and terrestrial communities? And, what implications does the ecological crisis and species extinction have for the work of the Natural History and Science Museums? While multiple insect identities are medially shaped and reshaped by coevolving modes of mapping, monitoring and collecting, their embodied environmental knowledge, their sensorium, and senses are an inspiration for alternate perceiving and being in dialogue with the world.
souvenirs entomologiques #1: odonata/ weathering data is a single-channel speculative video essay and installation by Sybille Neumeyer, that explores the entanglements of humans, weather and insects in a data-driven world in times of climate crisis. It follows dragonflies on multiple scales through time and space: from their geological past into uncertain futures, from ecosystems to museum collections, from embodied weather worlds into detached data clouds, while multiple insect identities are mediated, shaped and reshaped by co-evolving modes of mapping, monitoring and collecting. Although data-based ontologies promise measures of anticipating and controlling futures, the recollection of local eco–logical knowledge reframes observation as the practice of care.
Sybille Neumeyer (she/her, they) is an interdependent* artist and researcher with focus on environmental issues and relationships between humans and non-humans. Her work is based on post-disciplinary research and collaboration. Through polyphonic (hi)storytelling, installations, walks, performative lectures, and video essays, she examines the intersections between the loss of biocultural diversity, planetary health, and the climate crisis. She is seeking transformative narratives, forms of rooting, and collective action for social, environmental and interspecies justice. Recent exhibitions are a.o. “weather engines”/Onassis Stegi (2022), “Listening to the Stones”/Kunsthaus Dresden (2021) “Critical Zones – Observatorien for Earthly Politics”/ZKM Karlsruhe (2020), “Contagious Cities: KOEXISTENZ”/Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (2019).
*working with and thanks to an ever growing network of human and non-human collectives and collaborateurs.