A project realized between the Mexican artist Mario de Vega, and the German curator Daniela Silvestrin
ABOUT THE PROJECT
According to Aristotle, there is nothing in the intellect that was not first in the senses. Our senses are
gateways to experience and to produce knowledge on a bodily, intuitive and emotional level. In the
Western cultural tradition we divide our sensorium into five major senses — vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch — whereas other cultures, ages, and societies have known very different categories and
numbers of senses that they identify in humans. The relatively new field of what has been termed
“Sensory studies” involves a cultural approach to the study of the senses, and a sensory approach to the
study of culture, to emphasize the importance of transcending the biases of “visualism” as well as
critique the “verbocentrism” and “textualism” of Western thought and culture. It challenges the
monopoly that the discipline of psychology has long exercised over the study of the senses and sense
perception by foregrounding the sociality of sensation. What can we learn about and through other
ways of understanding and accessing sensory percepts, and how can we translate this into knowledge
for orientation (German: “Orientierungswissen”) in the discussion about and in the attempts to cope
with current political, socio-cultural and ecological challenges? What role can artistic practices,
approaches and formats take on in such an endeavor, what creative, speculative, critical and unorthodox
approaches within the semi-autonomous space of artistic experimentation and exploration can enable
and trigger a different access and understanding regarding our sensory perception?
In this context, the aim of this exhibition will be to test and scrutinize, question and experiment with the limits of perception, which has been a strong focus in the research and interest of both the artist Mario de Vega and curator Daniela Silvestrin in their previous work. In his current research project —funded by the Arbeits und Recherchestipendien Neue Musik und Klangkunst in Germany, and ACT. Programa de Arte, Ciencia y Tecnologías in Mexico—, Mario de Vega investigates the concept of “hypervelocity” both as a physical phenomenon and in its relation to the human sensorium and perception. Within this context of his current research and for the Traveling Museum project, de Vega will produce a new video work employing and thematizing hypervelocity, in order to look at what types of knowledge can be gained through artistic approaches and practices that question, study, and experiment with the limits of perception. In this exhibition curated by Daniela Silvestrin, the new video work will be put into dialogue and context of older works in the longer series of investigation by de Vega that focus the attention on the margins of perception and thereby extend it at the same time, as they scrutinize the bounds of sense or limits of the sensible.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sonority, presence, and invisibility are starting points of Mario de Vega’s artistic work and research.
Utilising strategies as handouts, or rather the requirement to sign a declaration form to take over the responsibility for eventual consequences of an art exhibition visit, no obvious warning labels, blindness, otoacoustic phenomena, architectonic barriers, ambiguous situations between acoustic phenomena and signal amplification. Ambivalences between processes and results, between the obvious and the unknown. His work explores the tension between documentation and performativity, addressing aural activity visually. Photographic documentation, video, objects, remains of actions, events, and situations producing ambiguous relations between objects and spaces.
Performative situations both improvisational and contingent in which documentation constitutes a nuanced aspect of his practice developing modes of presentation for pieces that are otherwise not amenable to a more traditional art context, like the gallery or museum.
Mario de Vega has been a guest artist and lecturer at Universität der Künste Berlin, Rijksakademie Amsterdam, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Technische Universität Berlin, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris, Centro de Diseño, Cine y Televisión, KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Kyushu University, Tama Art University, Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien and Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, among others. His work has been exhibited in Mexico, North America, Chile, South Africa, India, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan, and around Europe. He lives and works in Berlin and Mexico City.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Daniela Silvestrin is a curator, cultural researcher, program developer and organizer-facilitator for international cultural projects at the intersection of art, society, science, and technology. With a background in law, history of art, and curatorial studies she works with curatorial, artistic, and theoretical approaches that converge through the medium of exhibitions, installations, discursive events, and texts. Driven by the emergence of critical political and ethical concerns, her particular interest lies in hybrid artistic practices and knowledge production that crosses over into the sciences or explores our relationship with the environment and the various physical, ethical, and other boundaries and distinctions between the human and non-human, life and matter, that gradually become invisible due to techno-scientific innovation. Daniela currently works as research associate in the project Making Visible – Performance, Art and Anonymity within the transdisciplinary project and research Group “Reconfiguring Anonymity” at the Leuphana University in Lüneburg, and is co-editor of the forthcoming book and publication project META. Tracing Unknown Knowns (Berlin / Mexico City, 2018), together with the artists Mario de Vega and Víctor Mazón Gardoqui.