June 8th – 10th, 2018. @Safehouse, Peckham, London.
Make it Hot. Cool it Down. Turn it Over. was a year long season dedicated to thinking around hybrid practices, porous bodies, dirty materials and messy questions. What happens to an exhibition process when channelled through and practiced as ‘compost’?
We turned to the subterranean living world, in which numerous creatures mutually decompose discarded matter into rich soil, as it helped us to think about the process of coming together and engaging in a ‘hot’ conversation. We were struck by the fact that compost is as much about com-position, ‘putting together’, as it about de-composition, and thus ‘taking apart’: there might be loose contact or engaged dissent, tender touch or hostile rejection. And certainly, questions permeate the pile only to be multiplied: What are the conceptual limitations of working with this organic figure of compost and how is it re-worked when pushed and pulled in different directions, when brought in contact with synthetic, manufactured, or inert materials? What are the overarching implications when waste is turned into value? Who is part of the pile and who is not?
The pile is porous and open to material and immaterial bodies, and thus takes the hostis serious, not knowing if these encounters lead to symbiotic, parasitic, fertile or dysfunctional relationships. We were curious about surprising changes that can arise from such open spaces, in which practices, bodies, sounds, and smells affect and penetrate each other.
Alex Culshaw, Patrick Goddard, Gail Pickering, Dylan Edwards, Kerin Hille, Rachel Wilson, Zoe Annesley, Kilian O’Dwyer, Andrea Popelka, Lamin Fofana, Human Interface Task Force (Anna Mikkola and Matildaq Tjader), Malte Kobel and Mark Peter Wright, Kajsa Lindgren, Christopher Schmidt, Stefanie Schwarzwimmer, Sera Tansel, Emily Sarsam, Makkam
Thinking about the compost again. Somehow, I feel we are not done with it, and that we can extend this and complicate (or test) it by contrasting it with other images, or leave the compost behind but go from there towards some unadressed questions. For Make it Hot, we needed it for specific reasons and used it for its proposition for sociality, but for our next adventure, I think we should use it as a model for something else: I am interested more in looking at it as a strange cannibalistic hybrid of things. A pile where everything gets thrown into, filtered – unfiltered? and then see what happens.
Maybe we look at the compost a bit more in a sense of why this seems to be a relevant model today, and equally look at its the pitfalls. We were reluctant about the organic aspect of the compost, because this forecloses a lot of things that we are surrounded by today. So we don’t want to think the compost not too literal and invent a new way how compost could work. I would love to see really weird things that people have done and thought about “composting” (or more associatively about hybriditiy and transformational processes) or how artists used to work with garbage where absolutely nothing disintegrates, because their idea of the issues of garbage might have been quite different, or to see things that produce heat so that ideas can flourish, or failings attempts of combining things, collectives that lasted very short / forever, alchemists, expressions of desire for contact, what is created when things are merged: monsters? medicine? Gold?
The touch of Midas
There was once a king named Midas who did a good deed for a Satyr and was granted a wish by the God of wine, Dionysus. For his wish, Midas asked that whatever he touched would turn to gold. Although Dionysus tried to dissuade him, Midas insisted that the wish was an excellent one, and it was granted! Excitedly, Midas went about touching all sorts of things, turning them into gold. Soon Midas became hungry. He picked up a piece of food, but he couldn’t eat it, for it had turned to gold in his hand! “I’ll starve,” moaned Midas, “Perhaps this was not such a good wish after all!” Midas’ beloved daughter, seeing his dismay, threw her arms about him to comfort him, and, she too turned to gold! “The golden touch is no blessing,” cried Midas. He went to the river and wept. The sand of that river turned as yellow as “fool’s gold” for it is there, they say, that King Midas washed away the curse of the golden touch with his own tears.