19.OCT.2012   06.JAN.2013


In the Holocene, is a group of exhibition on view from October 19, 2012, to January 6, 2013, that explores art as a speculative science, investigating priniciples more commonly associated with scientific or mathematical thought. Through the work of an intergenerational group of artists, the exhibition will propose that art acts as an investigative and experimental form of inquiry, addressing or amending what is explained through traditional scientific or mathematical means: entropy, matter, time (cosmic, geological), energy, topology, mimicry, perception, consciousness, et cetera. Sometimes employing scientific methodologies or the epistemology of science, other times investigating phenomena not restricted to any scientific discipline, art can be seen as a form of inquiry into the physical and natural world. In this sense, both art and science share an interest in knowledge, realism, and observable phenomena, yet are subject to different logics, principles of reasoning, and conclusions.
In aiming to expand the potential of what can be contained within the domain of artistic and scientific speculation, In the Holocene seeks to shift the understanding of aesthetics away from conventional ideas of pleasure, beauty, or taste. As conceived by Alexander Baumgarten in 1735, the term “aesthetics,” as the science of sensible knowledge, attempted to place the realm of perception and sensation under rational principles, and so to raise it to the level of a science. Yet the aesthetic became linked instead to ideas of taste or judgment, rather than knowledge derived from aesthetic modalities. Situated between empiricism and enchantment, it was deemed in contrast to the domain of reason or thought, such as mathematics or logic. As an account of the world, can art expand the potential of speculative or scientific inquiry?
The exhibition takes its title from Max Frisch’s 1980 novella, Man in the Holocene, in which the narrator gathers selections from encyclopedias and books to preserve knowledge as a deluge threatens to destroy his village. Of particular interest to the narrator is information about our geological present, the Holocene, which includes the development of human civilization. The Holocene is thus our period of geological time, in which we attempt to understand the physical and natural laws that govern the universe and the origins of life, while also coping with the significant extent of our own impact on the Earth's ecosystems.
Featured artists:
Berenice Abbott, Leonor Antunes, John Baldessari, Rosa Barba, Robert Barry, Uta Barth, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, Carol Bove, Marcel Broodthaers, Matthew Buckingham, Roger Caillois, Hanne Darboven, Thea Djordjadze, Jimmie Durham, Terry Fox, Friedrich Fröbel, Aurélien Froment, Jack Goldstein, Laurent Grasso, João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, Florian Hecker, Alfred Jarry, Rashid Johnson, Joan Jonas, On Kawara, Kitty Kraus, Germaine Kruip, John Latham, Sol LeWitt, F.T. Marinetti, Daria Martin, John McCracken, Mario Merz, Helen Mirra, Trevor Paglen, Man Ray, Ben Rivers, Pamela Rosenkranz, Robert Smithson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Superstudio, Georges Vantongerloo, Lawrence Weiner, and Iannis Xenakis.

Curated by João Ribas

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