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SUPERFLEX: Modern Times, Forever at 1301PE

SUPERFLEX: Modern Times, Forever at 1301PE


[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last]The SUPERFLEX exhibit at 1301PE is a time machine and a wake up call. The unusual exhibit takes you several centuries (and more) into the future. You enter a patent lobby and on the walls are choices where one of them is “Would you like to experience climate change as a mammoth? There is a hypnosis group session in Zanzibar on February 18, 2050.” There are similar sessions for the eagle, the jelly fish, the polar bear and the mosquito. Should you choose to pass on those sessions, you may choose to witness a thousand-year spectacle instead. That option would take you to the second floor where first thing that catches your eye is a quiet projection on the wall of a building seemingly being demolished. The truth is it’s deteriorating building going through thousands of years and it’s happening before your very eyes. Watching the whole thing takes 240 hours or 10 days and you could if you wanted to.[/two_third_last]

[one_third][/one_third][two_third_last]The exhibit’s description reveals that there’s a third part to the time machine. You’d notice that there are black lamps hanging from the ceiling of similar design. They are called Blackout-lamps and they do not expose any light upwards. The inspiration dates back to the Second World War when blackout prohibitions were done to prevent enemy aircrafts from detecting targets and navigating using lights on land. The lamps are, in a way, a relic if only by spirit. The light displays are new creations, made in 2009 by SUPERFLEX and Simon Starling for an exhibition at Kunsthallen Brandts in Odense. A Blackout-lamp was produced and installed once every day for the duration of the exhibit.

Like Blackout, the film and the posters on the first floor represent a rather challenging and deep purpose. The Experience climate change as… posters are in connection with the UN Global Climate Summit, COP 15, in Copenhagen in 2009. For the official cultural program, SUPERFLEX offers a hypnotic group session to experience climate change as a cockroach. It sounds absurd, but it does the trick of making climate change more interesting while giving a unique experience at the same time. The posters were made to keep the interest present by offering future hypnosis sessions in different places and with different animals–all of which are either extinct, in danger of being extinct, or increasing in number and carrying dangerous diseases. The dates mark the years where milestones in global climate change awareness are purposed to be. The places mark topics related to climate change as well.

Modern Times Forever is the longest film ever made. It runs continuously for 10 days and shows the Stora Enso building in Helsinki as it degrades with time, in a span of a few thousand years. Designed by Alvar Aalto, the building represents both the structure and ideology of modernist architecture, erected with enough power and arrogance to stand alongside old institutions: the Catholic church and the president’s palace. Even how the film was made is impressive. The Propeller Group, the team from Ho Chi Minh that produced the film, rendered photographic and architectural data and made the result as if being viewed by someone using a handheld camera. Standing there in a closed room, listening to the low grumbling of the building as it falls, gives a sense of majesty.

 SUPERFLEX‘s Modern Times, Forever runs until March 3 at 1301PE. Gallery is open from 11am to 6pm, Tuesday to Saturday.[/two_third_last]


Some of my favorite things are beef jerky, bacon, Benedict Cumberbatch, pistachios (aka the nut of the gods), my husband's face, and coffee.

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