Insight: Vicious Cycle, raising awareness about the climate crisis & and the effects of excessive agricultural activity, Lyndsey Walsh, δημοσίευση στο CLOT Magazine [16/3/2023]Marilena Pateraki
Capturing the echoes and reverberations of human disturbances in the environmental cycles spiralling us into our current global climate crisis, Vicious Cycle at Art Laboratory Berlin reflects and probes into the push and pull dynamics of anthropogenic and environmental bodies.
The exhibition, curated by Tuçe Erel, Regine Rapp, and Christian de Lutz, features artworks from artists Cammack Lindsey, Gülşah Mursaloğlu, and Sybille Neumeyer and runs alongside a series of programmed artist-led events.
The exhibition’s curatorial concept emerges from a paper published in March of 2022 in the journal Environmental International entitled Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood. In the article, researchers found that microplastics were present in the blood samples of about 77% of their study group . This finding has led to the breakthrough realisation that microplastics are not only polluting our oceans, soil, and food, but they are also now polluting our bodies.
The long-term implications of microplastics in our blood are currently unknown, but the researchers of the study are highly concerned with the potential hazards posed by them. It is suspected that these microplastics can accumulate in the body, potentially cross the blood-brain barrier, and secrete toxins over time .
This turn of events marks the truly “vicious” cycle that the impact of human-led pollutants and industrial influences has had on both environment and the rest of humanity. In the face of the global climate crisis, these cycles are even more apparent and alarming.
Embodying the inspiration for the exhibition, Gülşah Mursaloğlu’s work Devouring the Earth, in Perishable Quantities materially, sonically, and visually draws us into the problems concerning the presence of microplastics. The installation features a set of washing machine filters cycling different microplastics in a liquid medium, thereby examining and manifesting processes of leakage, amalgamation, and digestion. In referencing practices of geophagia, or eating dirt, artist Mursaloğlu excavates the long history of human and non-human connotations of these practices while probing into the contemporary context of our current reality, where foreign substances and matter are finding their way into human and non-human bodies through the continued consumption and proliferation of industrialised material goods.
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