We’re warned in opposition to the sirens. “If anybody approaches them in ignorance and listens to their voices, that man won’t ever come house,” warns Circe Odysseus in Homer. The Odyssey. The primary English translation of the epic by a lady (Emily Wilson, 2017), devoted to early written variations of the metamorphosed oral narrative, characterizes the sirens as mysterious voices of a panorama, somewhat than as bird-women of antiquity. traditional. This transformation isn’t a surprise: in historic Greece, the unbridled sounds of girls had been thought of harmful for civic life, even monstrous, a body of otherness that mythology mirrored and strengthened.
‘SIREN (some poetics)’, an intergenerational and worldwide exhibition led by ladies from 17 artists in Lover, invitations gallery house owners to traverse a terrain by which the mermaid is fluidly figured, refigured and unfigured. Curated by poet and critic Quinn Latimer, the exhibition brings collectively works spanning media from the Nineteen Seventies to the current day to discover poetry within the expanded area, a type of language creation that – just like the siren track – traffics on the earth. unknowable and the unspeakable.
Though the present is organized below the signal of the Mermaid, The Odyssey isn’t quoted overtly. An exception is Bia Davou’s Eighties set up Untitled (Odyssey). 4 linen veils dangle down, suspended between the ceiling and the ground, embroidered with the numbers of the Fibonacci sequence and the textual content of Homer’s reflections on Nostos (return) and Thanatos (demise). By weaving constructions underlying pure and narrative creation, Davou echoes the traditional analogy between weaving and narration. Hanging close by is Dena Yago’s rope and leash (2018), a size of inexperienced material on which neat incisions type photographs of bunnies from fashionable movies, gathered below a cartoon tree. The lacerated material obliquely evokes the generative deconstruction operated by Ulysses’ spouse, Penelope, who every evening undoes the weaving of the day within the absence of her husband and weaves a thread to keep at bay undesirable suitors.
Like Davou, Rivane Neuenschwander marries textual content and material in her wall hanging The silence of the sirens (2013), by which the phrases ‘Sirens’ and ‘silence’, in addition to the letter ‘s’ seem repeatedly on the pale felt. Slipping between a hiss and a shh when learn aloud, the embroidered poem references Franz Kafka’s supposition that the sirens fell silent as Odysseus handed – maybe as a mode of refusal. Aura Satz Preventive Listening (Half 1: The Fork within the Street) (2018) additionally reinvents upstream sirens. Combining photographs of flashing emergency lights with the insistent whine of Lebanese trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj and spoken ruminations on the function of mermaids within the Arab Spring by Egyptian-British activist Khalid Abdalla, the movie means that mermaids might concurrently be websites of trauma or oppression, and indicators of the longer term or hope, a sign that the ship continues to be shifting.
Conceptualized as variously non-human, post-human, more-than-human, or hybrid, the Mermaid escapes acquainted anthropocentric logics. Katja Aufleger locates Sirens within the empty desert of the Singing Dunes of Qatar, the place the motion of the wind over the sand produces a hum. Seen somewhat than heard, the chorus of the panorama in Aufleger’s silent movie Situation 7.3 5 p.m. (Al Wakra) (2019) evokes the sailors with the earplugs of Ulysses, who skilled the track of the sirens in a non-aural approach. A aspect piece, Sirens (Al Wakra Vol. III) (2019), options ersatz wind passing via seven giant glass pipes constructed from desert sand, producing a hum so quiet it hovers on the fringe of audibility. Spanning Species and Scales, Jenna Sutela’s Glossopoetic Video nimiia cetii (2018) makes use of machine studying to translate the contortions of cellular micro organism, considered robust sufficient to outlive on Mars, and the invented language of Nineteenth-century artist and medium Hélène Smith, who believed she spoke Martian, right into a semiotic system opaque, a seductive collaboration to which people appear incidental. After such an encounter, how might Ulysses actually return house?
‘SIREN (some poetics)‘ is on view in Lover, Brooklyn, USA, via March 5, 2023.
Predominant image: ‘SIREN (some poetics)’, set up view. Courtesy: Lover; pictures: Adrianna Glaviano
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