Lygophilia / Transfixed gaze

Lygophilia / Transfixed gaze

 

 (scroll down for Spanish text – español abajo )

To be a thing at all – a rock, a lizard, a human – is to be in a twist.
How thought longs to twist and turn like the serpent poetry!
Timothy Morton (Dark Ecology)

The project Lygophilia / Transfixed gaze showcases the Axolotl through different narratives:

– as a species that is facing extinction in natural environment;

– as a subject of scientific research considering its fascinating regenerative abilities;

– as a cultural imperative that helps to understand bridge between the past and future.

 

The Lygophilia / Transfixed gaze ​encourages viewers to reflect on new (ecological) realities in the time of the Anthropocene. It intervenes into environments and discusses ecology in order to establish the extent of substantial changes in ecosystem. It explores if and how we are able to perceive the parameters of ecological needs of other species in the times of dark ecology.

The mythology and scientific facts, merged with popular culture, invite audience to gain a more profound view of (inter)species’ cohabitation. Since the end of the 19 th century the number of Axolotls has increased, however, in laboratories, where they are examined for their biological advantages of their perpetual youth. On the other hand humans are the cause for (imminent) extinction of Axolotls in their natural habitat. The lakes surrounding Mexico City, where Axolotls originally live(d) in the darkness of the swamps, are losing the symbol which connects the future with the past.

The project thus opens the questions: Who observes whom? Who is seen as a monster and who is perceived as an optical illusion?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Credits (not final credits yet as project is still in research / development phase)

Author: Robertina Šebjanič

Assistant: Roberto Rojas Madrid

Curator of Transitio_MXPedro Soler

Production support:
Projekt Atol, Ministry of culture of Republic of Slovenia,Transitio_MX, SektorCentro de Investigaciones Biológicas y Acuícolas de Cuemanco Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Unidad Xochimilco (CIBAC-UAMX)Arte+Ciencia at UNAM

art/research residency at Arte+Ciencia at UNAM lead by María Antonia González Valerio with assistance of Roberto Rojas Madrid.

Consultancy / Special thanks:

Tzintia Mendoza,  Dr. José Antonio Ocampo Cervantes & Arturo Vergara Iglesias & Alan Roy Jimenez Gutierrez & Angelina Saldaña from CIBAC-UAMX (Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas y Acuícolas de Cuemanco Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Unidad Xochimilco), dr. Jesús Chimal Monroy and Brianda Berenice Lopez Avina at Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas UNAM, Arte+Ciencia UNAM University, María Antonia González Valerio, Roberto Rojas Madrid, dr.Luis Zambrano from El Laboratorio de Restauración Ecológica UNAM, Francisco Martinez Perez, Secretario Auxiliar de la Cantera Oriente (REPSA),Miha Colner (Sektor), Sarah Hermanutz, Annick Bureaud, Ale de la Puente, Ida Hiršenfelder, Kristijan Tkalec (Rampa Lab), Gregor Aljančič (Tular Cave Laboratory), El Laboratorio de Restauración Ecológica UNAM,Transitio_MX  festival at Centro Multimedia celebrado en Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART)……

+ more organizations and individuals involved in the conservation of Axolotl at its natural environment (full credits of all the collaborators will be updated – as the project is still in development and it will premiered at the Transitio_MX festival, Mexico City)

UPDATE: 2017, 21 September: In light of all the tragic events that happened in last days in Mexico and as gesture of the solidarity are all public events canceled. Due to the earthquake and the declaration of emergency in Mexico, the Transitio_MX festival is canceled. - premiere 26. September, 8 pm, at Transitio_MX  festival at Centro Multimedia celebrado en Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART) in Mexico City, curated by Pedro Soler,

art/research residency at Arte+Ciencia at UNAM, lead by María Antonia González Valerio with assistance of Roberto Rojas Madrid

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lygophilia / Transfixed gaze 

Audio y acto visual en vivo con un organismo vivo.

La pieza lygophilia / transfixed gaze invita a los espectadores a reflexionar sobre nuevas realidades (ecológicas) en la era del Antropoceno. Interviniendo los ambientes se analiza la ecología para establecer el alcance de cambios sustantivos en el ecosistema. Explora si es posible y como, percibir los parámetros de las necesidades ecológicas de otras especies en tiempos de ecología obscuras.

La mitología y los hechos científicos, fusionados con la cultura popular moderna, invitan a la audiencia a obtener una visión más profunda sobre la coexistencia entre especies. La extinción del ajolote en su hábitat natural y de los lagos que rodean la Ciudad de México, son un claro ejemplo de una comunidad que está perdiendo sus símbolos y, junto con ellos, su vínculo con el pasado. Desde finales del siglo XIX, el número de ajolotes ha aumentado, pero únicamente en laboratorios, donde se les estudia por su capacidad para regenerar tejidos y mantener su rejuvenecimiento. El proyecto por lo tanto plantea las siguientes preguntas: ¿Quién observa a quién? ¿A quién se le percibe como un monstruo y a quién se le percibe como una ilusión óptica?

 

Colaboradores del Proyecto:

Autora y directora del proyecto: Robertina Šebjanič

Asesoría y consultoría: Roberto Rojas Madrid

Curador de Transitio_MX: Pedro Soler

Colaboradores de apoyo a la producción: Ministerio de Cultura de la República de Eslovenia, Projekt Atol, Transitio_Mx, Arte+Ciencia de la UNAM,  Sektor, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas y Acuícolas de Cuemanco Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Unidad Xochimilco (CIBAC-UAMX)

Residencia de investigación de Arte+Ciencia at UNAM, coordinado por María Antonia González Valerio con la asistencia de  Roberto Rojas Madrid

Nuevo proyecto en  desarrollo – estreno en Transitio_MX Festival del Centro Multimedia celebrado en Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART) en la Ciudad de México, curado por Pedro Soler

 

Agradecimientos especiales:

Tzintia Mendoza,  Dr. José Antonio Ocampo Cervantes & Arturo Vergara Iglesias & Alan Roy Jimenez Gutierrez & Angelina Saldaña from CIBAC-UAMX (Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas y Acuícolas de Cuemanco Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana Unidad Xochimilco), dr. Jesús Chimal Monroy and Brianda Berenice Lopez Avina at Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas UNAM, Arte+Ciencia UNAM University, María Antonia González Valerio, Roberto Rojas Madrid, dr.Luis Zambrano from El Laboratorio de Restauración Ecológica UNAM, Francisco Martinez Perez, Secretario Auxiliar de la Cantera Oriente (REPSA),Miha Colner (Sektor), Sarah Hermanutz, Annick Bureaud, Ale de la Puente, Ida Hiršenfelder, Kristijan Tkalec (Rampa Lab), Gregor Aljančič (Tular Cave Laboratory), El Laboratorio de Restauración Ecológica UNAM,Transitio_MX  festival at Centro Multimedia celebrado en Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART)……

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

To be a thing at all – a rock, a lizard, a human – is to be in a twist.
How thought longs to twist and turn like the serpent poetry!
Timothy Morton (Dark Ecology)

The project Lygophilia / Transfixed gaze showcases the Axolotl through different narratives:

– as a species that is facing extinction in natural environment;

– as a subject of scientific research considering its fascinating regenerative abilities;

– as a cultural imperative that helps to understand bridge between the past and future.

The project Lygophilia / Transfixed gaze encourages viewers to rethink the concept of new (ecological) realities in the time of Anthropocene. It intervenes into environments and discusses ecology in order to shed light to the extent of substantial changes in the ecosystem and how these affect the existence of a single species and their effect on the entire habitat?

The mythology and scientific facts, merged with popular culture, invite viewers to understand the life of (inter)species’ cohabitation more profoundly. In the short story entitled ‘Axolotl’ by Julio Cortázar’s, the narrator is transfixed. He experiences his own metamorphosis transforming into Axolotl: “I stayed watching them for an hour and left, unable to think of anything else”.

The atmospheric, audio-visual performance (installation) by Ljubljana-based artist Robertina Šebjanič thus offers distorted view of the Axolotls, while the viewer is still restricted to experience the transfer that Cortázar writes about. However, the project tends to challenge the perception of Axolotls and to restore the relationship of humankind with its natural environment. It explores if and how we are able to perceive the parameters of ecological needs of other species the times of dark ecology.

The extinction of Axolotls in their natural habitat, caused by human intervention, is ongoing; it takes place on a daily basis. The lakes surrounding Mexico City, where Axolotls originally live(d) in darkness of the swamps, are losing the symbol which connects past and future.

The complete extinction of Axolotls in the wilderness could also wipe out important indications which are very useful for environmentalists and scientists studying their perplex traits. Since the end of the 19th century numbers of Axolotls has increased, however, only in laboratories. There they have been bred and raised successfully as laboratory specimens having been a subject of investigation due to their extraordinary biological ability to regrow severed limbs, gills or tails as well as to make head transplants. Experiments using Axolotls as specimens help scientists understand principles of regeneration and aging. The quest to unlock their secrets which hide in very principles of their complex organisms have captivated human minds for centuries.

Axolotls have very rare amphibian capacity to grow into adulthood without undergoing metamorphosis and therefore live in an everlasting adolescent stage. They are the model species resonating with desires of humans who long for perpetual youth. Therefore it is almost impossible for humankind to see Axolotls as they are – animals in the process of inevitable extinction. Instead of being common residents in the laboratories where they are investigated for their mysterious biological advantages, Axolotls are characterized for their strong cultural references – as mysterious creatures that never age.

Therefore the artist questions different aspects of their existence. Who observes whom? Who is perceived as a monster and who is perceived as an optical illusion? It is highly important to explore ecosystems as well as to understand (bio)political systems that reflect on current society.

Progress means: humanity emerges from its spellbound state no longer under the spell of progress as well, itself nature, by becoming aware of its own indigenousness to nature and by halting the mastery over nature through which nature continues its mastery.                                                                                                                                                         Theodor Adorno