“The relational capacity of the posthuman subject is not confined within our species, but it includes all non-anthropomorphic elements, beginning with the air we breathe.”
Saša Spačal’s biotechnological system of installations entitled Earthlink aims to serve as an entrance point to the post-anthropocentric constellation of connections and environmental relations, which enable a more dynamic and sustainable perception of human activity within the environment. Changes are immersed in infinite micro and macro planetary feedback loops which are for humanity even as a self-proclaimed geological force difficult to grasp in all their complexity.
Earth is immersed in a planetary metabolism of matter circulating through the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. Biogeochemical circulation between spheres is catalyzed by feedbacks of microbial metabolism which combine all biological and technological agents in an all-encompassing flow, an intra_flux of exchanges and relationships. Inhalation and exhalation are intimate processes that bind humans to the planet, but what happens when this connection becomes technologically mediated? What will the dosage be, who will prescribe it and who will survive?
The exhibition links Earth to the post-human present, that includes both a seed of the future as well as a shadow of the past. The present as a seed of the future is experienced in the Inspiration installation, where the visitor inhales earth’s “happiness bacteria” Mycobacterium vaccae. The inflation and deflation of resuscitator bags dictates the rhythm of breathing which calms the visitor and instills dreams of a bright technocratic future. A moment of impermanence and passing takes place at the Expiration installation where one can transfer their personal microbiome to exteriorized lungs by breathing out. Droplets of the graveyard cypress Cupressus sempervirens extract persistently wash away these microbial communities. However, all human excrements cannot be washed away so they burn out on the dry land they pollute. Between the almost-past and almost-present stands the Symbiome installation with red clover Trifolium pratense and the Rhizobium bacteria, which in symbiotic relationship produce oxygen and fix nitrogen, both crucial for human survival.
Curator: Jani Pirnat
Consultation, microbiology: Mirjan Švagelj, PhD
Glasswork: Pero Kolobarić, Zvonko Drobnič
Construction: Anil Podgornik, Scenart, Ambrož Modrijan
Photographs: Miha Godec, Saša Spačal
Special thanks to: Jurij Krpan
Production: Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana
Co-production: Projekt Atol Institute
Exhibition: Match Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia [Nov. 2018 – Jan. 2019]
Exhibition was supported by City of Ljubljana.