Johanna Bruckner

On Molecular Sex, Review by Annabel Lacroix

Review on Molecular Sex by Anabelle Lacroix

"Bruckner’s was one of a series of works dispersed throughout HKW in smaller spaces. Two large standing projection screens occupied the room, disposed like an open book that immersed the viewer in both sound and image. Tension between dancers on one screen was paralleled with content on the second screen that fluctuated between snippets of feminists reading a manifesto, excerpts from a sex doll documentary and other footage. Speaking with the artist about her work—which deals with the entanglement of molecular biology, the development of nanotechnologies and the shaping of our own desires—the notion of agency became central to our conversation. How can we redistribute relations and influence patterns in the making of technology to embody non-normative and non-binary perspectives? For me the subtle layering in Bruckner’s video as well as her approach to identity politics and performance on screen provided an openness and sensitivity that performed a strong queering of the idealised vision of our technofuture. The video was accompanied by a scrolling text on a small side screen, a posthuman manifesto for interspecies sexuality from sexbots and every mutating techno-organisms with simultaneous co-habiting genres. Only then society would shift from binary sex to ‘quantum-sex’. (...) The live performance embodied the choreographed elements in her video work (which are reminiscent of both music videos and contemporary dance) layered with short excerpts of found footage and 3D renderings of a three-legged dancing creature, with meditative watery sounds and an occasional chorus. Many of the questions posed in Bruckner’s work also relate to ideas of networks and ecologies of trust and of care that were echoed in other works in the exhibition and later discussed in the symposium program that go beyond the scope of this review. There was a general consensus during the closing panel of the transmediale symposium that discussions had not reached any conclusions. This is telling of the amount of work there is to be done if we want to bring change to the development of society in relation to the limitations of new media technologies. This was clear at the end of the panel, in relation to an audience question reflecting on post-colonial and feminist perspectives as a shift in the field, asking about what strategies we could put in place to generate change beyond the surface. This is the kind of structural change that is needed—as intersectional feminist Nina Lykke once said in relation to her power as a Caucasian academic, sometimes one has to think about what we can give up and how we can make space". On Show at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, transmediale 2020. Review in Art&Australia, 02/2020.

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