Solo exhibition at The Tool Shed. Frome, UK.
19. April, 2013 - 5. May, 2013.
Intimate Knowledge addresses the apathy towards the gradual creep of technology inserting itself into our lives. It deals with the erosion of our primal desires by structural forces that make decisions on our behalf, slowly making the natural un-natural, and then through familiarity, natural once more. Exploring a synthesized utopia of flavour, where sight, sound and smell to produce organic fantasies that drive product purchases.
We are touching a touch screen, but we're also touched by it. The images I take in through the screen every day affect me in a bodily way, giving me sensations that remind me of others I've had - touching water, rocks, moss, etc. but intense in a different way - hyper-real, simulated, glossy…
Curated by: Tristan Stevens
Photo documentation: Siv Dolmen
Bonsai Yoga Sock, 2013
Digital print mounted on wood
Earth Lovers, 2013
Body Shop Earth Lovers Shower gel bottles, earth, basil, lemongrass, thyme, mint, eucalyptus, rosemary
Ancient Body New Technology, 2013
Looped video, MacBook, Moss
Tye-dyed white tack pressed against the insides of my first laptop
communication. So being in a forest - where nothing says anything to us or listens to what we say - it's travelling to an alien world.
That doesn't mean Nature is scary or hostile, it's just empty and increasingly impossible for us to relate to it. Ancient Body New Technology deals with how our intimate relations have been transferred from one kind of interface, the organic, to another, the 'new' media technology. Bonsai Yoga Glove and Bonsai Yoga Sock relate the stretching of bodies to the force exerted on objects, both of which we perform in order to change natural appearances according to how we think they should be.
We seem unable to have a harmonious existence with the environment. Digital technology has a material base, and so far becoming virtual hasn't meant reducing our imprint on the world, quite the contrary. Fossils are both relics and reminders of this physicality. I have opened up my first laptop, and created actual fossilised imprints by pressing lightly tinted tack-it against the components. This is an attempt to get closer to the material basis of computation, but it can only brush the surface, as entering the virtual requires a wilful ignorance of this materiality.
AK: Your work seems to form part of a wider conversation in art based on the idea of future relics. As ancient knowledge is assimilated into contemporary branded products, these relics act like prophecies of an impending apocalypse, propelled by capitalism.Yet such artworks abstain from falling into the realm of political protest, presented as they are with a detached,
Conversation about the exhibition with Amy Knight.
Amy Knight: Hi Andreas. To start with, can you introduce the idea behind your exhibition at The Toolshed?
Andreas Ervik: Spending time online, making digital work I've been interested in notions of touch and closeness. I have experienced the digital in a synaesthetic way, where the vibrant colours and hyperreal textures attempts to break through the screen, becoming more than visuals, attaining real presence.
Moving from my abstract photoshop work into installation, I'm still interested in a sort of virtual touch. With this project I wanted to explore how this is part of how we interact with technology and other consumer products. As physicality becomes negated through our increasing immersion in linguistic structures, digital worlds and social media, brands and marketing make use of the desire for intimacy that is left unfulfilled. This is tapped into by evoking a sort of aura, a virtual touch, promising closeness through proxy, offering hyperreal transcendence.
AK: Can you talk specifically about your interest in water - which becomes apparent in previous works and in the press image for this show - in relation to your concern with virtual touch?
AE: Water is the origin of life on earth, and human beings need lots of it every day. It's the purest, cleanest, most attractive substance there is. When it's still, water is clear and reflective, like a mirror or a high-definition screen, and this characteristic has probably made it vital in our evolution of self-awareness.
We're drawn to touch, drink and immerse ourselves in water - because we intrinsically know that it has a refreshing, calming and healing effect on us. The screen of a tab, pad or their smaller iterations, similarly creates a desire for interaction. In the press image the distinction between screen and water has collapsed, showing how touch screens touch us, affecting us in bodily ways, through simulating physical sensations. The piece Ancient Body New Technology, with its moss cover and washy, digital visuals, functions as a ritualistic evocation of the attractive surfaces of water and technology.
AK: Ancient Body New Technology suggests the capacity for digital technology to simulate our experience of the natural world. Do you see this as a harmonious, blending co-existence, or do you think virtual reality could ultimately fulfil our desires to the extent that Nature becomes redundant, replaced?
AE: Isn't Nature, in many ways, already redundant? What do you do when you're in Nature? You check your email or share a picture on Instagram. We're a social creature, skilled in understanding the nuances of
remote perspective. What are your views on this collective consciousness, in relation to your own and other artists' work?
AE: There's posters around town for a new sci-fi movie that has the tagline 'Earth is a memory worth fighting for'. It's probably set in the future, but it's an appropriate marker for a time in which Earth feels more and more like a memory.
Earth Lovers addresses this from a different angle, posing the question of why we need a product to tell us that we love our planet. One probable answer is that we need it because we actually don't love Earth, but wish to maintain the illusion that we do. The commodity then functions as a magical talisman, absolving us of responsibility for the climate crisis and the damage we're inflicting.
There's not much use in protesting this though. The products are getting better and better adjusted: it smells nice, has no parabens, no perfume and the bottle is 100% bio-degradable. We're heading for a point of no return, if we haven't passed it already, but we're not making any real effort to turn things around. So, perhaps humans are worth fighting for as a memory rather than a species?
Bonsai Yoga Glove, 2013
Digital print mounted on wood