Not Really Now Not Anymore

Thailand Biennale Korat
Dec 2021 – March 2022
View Video with Sound

Not Really Now Not Anymore premiered at the Thailand Biennale Korat 2021
Mixed media
2-channel audiovisual installation (7:48 min loop)
Enclosed ecosystem with plants and moss (40x40x50 cm); augmented reality animation with sound (2:00 min. loop)

The work is a proposition in multiple realities, offering the viewer a rethinking of cartesian geography and an alternative to the notion of continuously flowing time. Instead what is being offered is a barely recognisable reality, something simultaneously in the uncanny valley between real and not-real. Disruptive events on species level, like pandemics and volcanic eruptions, make the mind reevaluate everything it thought it knew. Not Really Now Not Anymore is the memory of a displaced and distorted reality in digital space — it is the experience of change flattened into video format.

Using different terrain and object scanning techniques, the artist spent a month on the island of La Palma in the Atlantic Ocean to record and document its landscape, ecosystem, and its fragile, volcano-riddled geography. The material, spanning 3D scans, sound-recordings and drone footage, was turned into a 2-channel audiovisual installation which holds all of the material essence of the place, its rocks, water and plants as holographic projections. This record was taken only months before the island was shattered by a series of volcanic eruptions.

In the center of the installation is a terrarium and its extension into augmented reality.* The terrarium symbolises the object-like quality that humanity tends to attribute to all things nature-related. An enclosed form of otherness far away from human cognition and responsibility. The augmented reality (viewable on visitors phones) is a way to animate this otherness and bring it to life.

In both pieces the question of evidence somehow naturally arises. What constitutes something as real and alive? Ultimately this also raises the question: how do we construct reality? How can we realize what is already real and right in front of us? How can we bear witness to ongoing ecological collapse? How can we provide evidence for species and ecosystems before they disappear? And more importantly: how can we adjust and create alternate utopias that involve the landscapes and plant life around us? Can the digital evidence we gather of still-living species help us build a sanctuary for them?

* This part of the installation is an independent artwork called “A Strangling Fruit, A Radiant Vortex – Evanescent Flashes From The Luminous Other” (2021). The 2-channel audiovisual part is called “Memories of Change”. Both artworks combined constitute the ensemble of Not Really Now Not Anymore.

Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Arts and Culture, Civil Service and Sport AR App by Refrakt
Human Voice by Erik Laidal