Thomas Thwaites

Meta.Morf 2022 – Ecophilia / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art / May 19 – July 31 /
Curator: Zane Cerpina / Co-curator: Espen Gangvik

Goatman (A holiday from being human) / 2015

Thomas Thwaites [UK]

Goatman began as a project to take a holiday from being human; to escape the stress and worry of being a person in human society with all its moral and practical complexities. There is a lot to worry about personally and globally, and with worry comes guilt and regret for failing to do ‘the right thing’. So: wouldn’t it be nice to just trot away from it all and become a goat, free to roam, free from worry, free from guilt? To have a holiday not only from your day-to-day life, but from yourself as well?

But underlying the project is a question about ‘progress’: the notion that our species and our civilization is progressing toward something better: our spinning of stories out of our pasts and our futures, our regrets and our hopes.

I found trying to become a lowly, humble goat spiritually (as well as physically) uncomfortable: was I trying to go ‘backwards’, to de-volve? This discomfort led me to realise, that although I don’t consider myself religious, I’d been swept up/indoctrinated in a secular grand narrative; that there is a hierarchy of species, and that despite a few setbacks along the way, a rationalist liberal high technology culture will ultimately emerge as the end of our history. The techno-optimist idea that we as a species are progressing and evolving away from our base, savage uncultured ancestors, and toward an enlightened post-human future, possibly even colonising other planets.

Ernest Becker in the Denial of Death (1973), stated that currently ‘we are gods with anuses’: we’re high-tech cyborgs able to transcend so much of our biology, but yet we still must succumb to our biology, eating and defecting, and ultimately will die and rot away. Becker argued it is cognitive dissonance arising from this dual view of ourselves, that drives our need to be part of grand narratives, be they religious, nationalistic, aristocratic, or techno-scientific. We can’t quite face our knowledge of our own mortality, so we need to latch on to the idea we’re part of something greater.

The post-human answer to resolving this dissonance is to continue developing technology which will ultimately allow us to sever our link with our mortal fleshy biology, curing old age and death, and thus become fully god-like (and in the case of ‘mind-uploading’ to literally relieve ourselves from the necessity of having an anus).

As I pursued my dream of becoming a goat I realised I’d soaked in this optimistic vision of the future growing up, and at least subconsciously believed I was contributing in some small way to progressing human civilisation toward some kind of Star Trek future. And so Goatman became about enacting an alternative route out of our dissonance; to remove the godlike part in us. I wanted to personally come to terms with the idea that there is no ‘human destiny’ that we are all a part of, to stop thinking about ‘the future’ as a kind of destination, to stop striving, to remove humanity from the top of some imaginary hierarchy of nature, to expunge Descartes, and to present an alternative humble future of the post-human to aim for: the life of a goat on a hillside.

Should we dream of a future amongst the stars, or should we dream of a future akin to the life of a goat on a mountainside?

Thomas Thwaites
Thomas Thwaites is a designer interested in the social impacts of science and technology. He holds an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, and a BSc. in Human Sciences from University College, London.

His work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Banque De France (Cite de l’Economie in Paris), and the Asia Culture Centre in South Korea. His work is exhibited at major galleries and museums worldwide, including at the National Museum of China, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, the Science Museum (London), the Cooper Hewitt in the USA and La Triennale di Milano (Italy). He has spoken at numerous conferences, including TED and Design Indaba, as well as at universities and businesses worldwide. Press includes features in national newspapers including the New York Times, Süddeutsche and The Financial Times. He has presented a four part television series, aired on Discovery Channel. 

He is the author of two books; The Toaster Project, and GoatMan. The Toaster Project documents Thwaites’ attempt to make an electric toaster from scratch. Goatman describes his project to take a holiday from being human by becoming a goat. Both are published by Princeton Architectural Press, and have been  translated into Korean, Japanese and Norwegian.

Header Graphics: “Goatman” by Thomas Thwaites. Photo credit: Tim Bowditch.

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy

Meta.Morf 2022 – Ecophilia / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art / May 19 – July 31 /
Curator: Zane Cerpina / Co-curator: Espen Gangvik

To Flavour Our Tears: eyePhones V. 3.0 / 2016 – ongoing

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy [NO/PT]

To Flavour Our Tears (TFOT) is an experimental restaurant that places humans back into the food chain by investigating the human body as a food source for other species. By researching the culinary needs of insects, decomposers and other eaters-of-humans, we hope to intimately and materially reconnect humans with the metabolic flows of the planet and our role in shaping them. We already spend a lot of time making our food flavourful, and making ourselves beautiful. Shouldn’t we also flavour ourselves well for the organisms that consume us? Will the chef of the future help humans taste good to nonhumans?

Using a tear-drinking species of moth as jumping off point, To Flavour Our Tears asks: How do you taste to the small organisms that consume parts of you everyday, and every last bit of you when you die? How can humans manipulate their bodies, diet & emotions to change their own flavour? What are the culinary properties of human biomass, and what are the gustatory preferences of insects, microbes and other organisms that consume humans?

TFOT contains prototypes of the tools, recipes and rituals required for AUTOGASTRONOMY (the art of flavouring oneself well) and ALTERGASTRONOMY (the study of human body parts as ingredients for other organisms). The proposal includes:

  • a Moth Bar where human visitors can shed tears for thirsty moths, using specialised tools and practises if they can’t cry on cue
  • an AnthroAquaponics System where fish feed on the dead skin cells of human feet, and in turn, provide nutrients for a plant growing system which feeds humans
  • an AlterGastronomy VR room where visitors can embody a wolf devouring a jogger or a microorganism or virus exploring the human body
  • the Saprophytic Supper: 24 Hour Buffet where humans can examine the microorganisms that feast on their skin cells
  • the Fat Flavouring Lab where R&D in flavouring fat, skin, blood, sweat, and pee happens
  • the Rooftop Garden Burial site where a few lucky decomposers get to consume the remains of deceased humans.

This version of the installation features a newly released eyePhones operating system. It is Version 3.0 of the low-tech VR headset designed to help you become comfortable with the feeling of moths drinking your tears. Place your head inside the VR headset as you listen to the first-hand account of a scientist describing moths drinking his tears. Focus your attention on the moths as they flutter around your head and imagine them landing, sipping and enjoying the salt-rich liquids that surround your eyes.

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy
The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is an artist-led think tank launched in 2010 by Cathrine Kramer (NO) and Zack Denfeld (US) that examines the biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems.

Their mission is to:

  • map food controversies,
  • prototype alternative culinary futures and
  • imagine a more just, biodiverse & beautiful food system.

The Center presents its research on the organisms and environments manipulated by human food cultures in the form of public lectures, research publications, meals and exhibitions. Since 2013 they have been joined by the artist Emma Conley (US) and collaborated with scientists, chefs, hackers and farmers in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Working between and beyond the life sciences and gastronomy the Center has been published in WIRED, Science, Nature and Gastronomica and exhibited at the World Health Organization, Kew Gardens, V&A Museum, Science Gallery and others.

Header Graphics: “To Flavour Our Tears” by Center of Genomic Gastronomy.


Annie Hägg

Meta.Morf 2022 – Ecophilia / K-U-K – Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst / Exhibition May 6 – August 14 /
Curator: Zane Cerpina / Co-curator: Espen Gangvik

PsXCare / 2021

Annie Hägg [SE]

PsXCare takes place in a fictive future where the border between the digital and the physical is blurred, shifting between filmed and animated material.

The work portrays a feeling of alienation related to cities and constructed spaces. A feeling that stems from living in a time and place where everything is designed for specific purposes, hence steering your attention and needs much like in a video game. According to German philosopher Hartmut Rosa, alienation is a direct effect of what he calls modernity’s backside; social acceleration, often experienced in a fast-paced city environment.

Nature, either designed in the form of a city park or growing freely as a forest, is commonly seen as a place of relaxation and restoration. A place of freedom if you will. The video considers what role public spaces intended for leisure hold in society, both digital and physical, such as parks or online gaming platforms. People who spend a lot of time in nature and people who spend a lot of time in fictional digital worlds are often viewed as escaping what the rest of us are living through. But is gaming really an escapism today?

In a lecture by Hito Steyerl, Why Games? Can People in the Art World Think? She describes how people have thought historically that games or forms of play are just a form of ”emancipation from the tyranny of management and labor” – a performed escapism. However, and this she points out later, games are not purposeless from either a societal or personal perspective. According to Steyerl games function as a sort of behavioral training for people because they ”present the platonic ideals of how people thought humans should act and think”. Many video games are in fact functioning the same way as labor does, you perform a task, you receive 500 points. Actions steered by scores.

PsXCare is partly made within a Playstation game called Dreams, a so-called sandbox-game where the players themselves create environments and modes to play with, compared to games that come with fully formed content. Dreams without players is nothing more than a game engine, an empty shell, so players are customers and at the same time co-creators (only unpaid).

The character in PsXCare wants to escape society, or at least has a strong longing for leaving, and becomes absorbed by a game while looking at 3D-renders on her computer of a soon to be built park in a well-funded area, longing for the simple, nature-bound life portrayed. However, she doesn’t reach the pristine nature that often defines open-world games such as extraordinary mountain views, deep forests and vast meadows, but a small piece of land comparable to a city

park. Here she performs a digital way of park maintenance, picking up trash to keep her score at a sustainable level. This can be read as an allegory of countries’ systematic outsourcing of labor, e.g. placing dirty work such as pollution-heavy industries in other countries so as to not have to deal with your own issues.

The labor-focused narration is a comment on a new type of economy, an economy that dismantles the idea that games aren’t labor. So for a long time, games have only mimicked economic systems upon which modern society is built, as described by Steyerl. While today, many games are economical systems themselves with the expansion of cryptocurrencies. One can breed imaginational creatures, sell them as tokens and via these sales pay your rent and buy your bread. A currency development that isn’t new per se, but for the first time available to anyone with an Internet connection, highlighting how the world is and has been for a long time steered by imaginational sums of money that never touches the hand.

While games themselves often take place in beautifully curated landscapes, seemingly untouched by the human hand, the servers needed to keep these worlds going are consumers of nature, dependent on natural resources to exist. So what’s going on is an extraction of the real to create the fictive, a tree for a tree?

We often talk about the digital and the physical as something separate, the video strives to narrate a reality where these concepts are naturally connected and where common ideas about what is work and what is play are being challenged.

Annie Hägg
Annie Hägg, born in Växjö, Sweden, received her Bachelor in Fine arts from Oslo National Academy of the Arts in 2021. Hägg’s work focuses on the constructed and designed aspects of modern society both from a social, economical and environmental point of view. Her practice includes storytelling as a way of articulating how characteristics of contemporary changes affect our perception of reality and emotional states, how they manifest in the mind and the body.

In her recent solo exhibition at Amaze gallery in Stockholm she exhibited the video PsXCare together with replicas of objects found in public places in the city. The use of replicas is a recurrent theme in her work, a copy-paste style that imitates a digital presentation of information. By extracting objects from their initial environment and curating them into a new context, she both highlights and alters their meaning.

Hägg’s work stretches towards multiple directions simultaneously, in accordance with her own fabricated connection and logic. These fabrications often point towards societal developments through an emotional and playful perspective, commenting on the complexity of knowledge and reality.

Header Graphics: “PsXCare” by Annie Hägg. Video Still.


Frank Ekeberg


Meta.Morf 2022 – Ecophilia / K-U-K – Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst / Exhibition May 6 – August 14 /
Curator: Zane Cerpina / Co-curator: Espen Gangvik

Ingenmannsland / 2019

Frank Ekeberg [NO]

In his 1924 poem Stå vakt om naturen (Keep Guard over Nature), Norwegian poet and environmentalist Theodor Caspari (1853-1948) calls for “a shining `No-man’s-land ́” where “the creator is quiet” and natural forces roam. He warned against the threat posed to mountains, waters and forests and their inhabitants by “ill culture” and “fumes and roar of machines.” A no-man’s-land refers both to land undisturbed by human activities as well as to areas of conflict. The ambiguity of the expression reflects the discrepancy between the Norwegian myth of nature as plentiful, unbreakable and accessible, while at the same time it is subjected to fast-paced, destructive extraction and exploitation.

Ingenmannsland (No Man’s Land / Niemandsland) is a constantly changing, speculative soundscape highlighting issues of deforestation, resource extraction, habitat loss, species extinction and natural vs. artificial life. The installation is based on field-recordings made in old-growth forest that has been a constant for many hundred years and contributed to the Norwegian identity of closeness to nature, processed to reflect a contemporary reality of fragmentation and rapid change. The focus is in particular on the rainforest that once covered much of the west coast of Norway. Only scattered fragments remain of the rainforest today, and it is now on the red-list of endangered habitat types. 80 percent of the coastal rainforest has been lost only in the past 100 years, and it is predicted to disappear completely within the next five decades. Despite numerous warnings of species decline, loss of biodiversity and the importance of trees for carbon capture and storage, only 5 percent of Norwegian forests are currently protected, and only 3 percent of trees are older than 160 Years.

The sound material in Ingenmannsland is for the most part recorded in coastal rainforest areas in the southwest of Norway, using conventional as well as unconventional microphone techniques. Some sounds are easily recognizable, like bird calls, water dripping and rustling of leaves in the wind, while others are recordings of sounds that are normally not heard, like insects gnawing on logs and sounds of the inside of trees moving in the wind. The recordings are meticulously edited so that each component of the forest soundscape can be independently controlled and manipulated.

The installation starts off as quite a rich soundscape with sounds of birds and insects integrated with sounds of wind in trees and of water streams. Over time the sounds of wildlife gradually diminish, and many go extinct. As the day of the exhibition progresses, the sounds of birds and insects are reduced to a point where about 80 percent of the initial sound material is gone. This number reflects the assumed percentage of species that have been exterminated since the beginning of humanity, and also coincides with the percentage of the Norwegian rainforest that has been lost in the past 100 years. When a tipping point is reached, sounds start to reappear, but these are different – more static and artificial, as if we are entering another reality. The soundscape becomes a speculative environment based on projected future scenarios, and asks questions such as: What happens when forests disappear or dry out? Can our natural environment be replenished? Will it be replaced by artificial life? Is this the function of biomimicry?

Frank Ekeberg
Frank Ekeberg is a transdisciplinary artist, music composer and researcher working in the intersection of art, science and technology. He received an undergraduate degree in music from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) before he went on to pursue a master’s degree in electronic music at Mills College in Oakland, California, where he studied composition with Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Curran, and a PhD in electroacoustic music composition at City University London, UK, under Denis Smalley and Simon Emmerson’s tutelage. Ekeberg’s work explores issues of ecology, time, spatiality and transformation, with a particular focus on nature spaces, ecosystems and the interplay between human and non-human worlds. His research-based approach often involves collaborations within as well as beyond the art field. He has composed and designed sound for concert performance, dance, film, theater, radio plays and intermedia installations. His work is widely presented in festivals, exhibitions, concerts and conferences around the world, including venues such as Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany; The Peale Center in Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland; Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, Germany; Foggy Bottom Sculpture Biennial in Washington D.C., USA; Seoul Arts Center, Korea; multiple times at the International Symposium on Electronic Art, and many more. Ekeberg was awarded the 2017 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, and is currently Research Associate at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., USA. Most of the time he lives and works in Trondheim, Norway.

Header Graphics: “Ingenmannsland” field recordings by Frank Ekeberg.


Maren Dagny Juell

Meta.Morf 2022 – Ecophilia / K-U-K – Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst / Exhibition May 6 – August 14 /
Curator: Zane Cerpina / Co-curator: Espen Gangvik

The Party (variation 2) / 2021 – 2022

Maren Dagny Juell [NO]

A surreal post-apocalyptic home party placed in an undefined future where the location is fluid. This work focuses on 3D printed replicas of various household plastic objects, common in 2012, which take on a new role in an imagined post-plastic future.

The party-host guides the party participants through a fragmented story about and relationship with objects. Re-enacting a home party, in a world where this is not possible or relevant. Questioning ideas around Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) and current collection and valuation of artifacts.

In addition to the film, a sculpture made of 3D printed objects was placed on display in the middle of an arboretum (in an archival research forest) at the University of Biosciences (NMBU) in Norway. The plastic objects are printed in PVA, a material made of corn that composts when exposed to nature. In this way everyday household objects can be thought of as a new temporary collection from the Anthropocene (human) era, but perishable and compostable.

For the new iteration, exhibited at Meta.Morf 2022: Ecophilia, the objects are literally composting in a pile of soil in the gallery. In this way, Maren aims to examine people’s unconscious consumption habits and rituals. As well as the hierarchical relationship between man, nature, and objects.

Host: Iselin Shumba
Man: Aslak Juell Kristensen
Women (from right to left):
Sarune Bartuasuite Kaupiene
Kuya Bae
Andrea Fritsvold
Yvonne Layne

Written, directed, edit, and graphics: Maren Dagny Juell
Director of photography: Mattias Pollak
B Photo: Annicken Aasheim
Light: Jon Andre Hakavåg
Sound recording: Rune Baggerud
Sound designer/composer: Arild Iversen
Colourist: Fredrik Harreschou
Makeup artist: Kristina Kvam
Production manager: Hanne Rivrud
Production assistant: Miriam Hald
Commissioned by KORO Norway
Supported by Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond and Nofofo

Maren Dagny Juell
Maren Dagny Juell (1976) is based in Ski, Norway, and works with video, Virtual Reality, and installation.

Maren has an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and has had solo exhibitions at Tenthaus, Atelier Nord, Trafo Kunsthall, Trøndelag Center for Contemporary Art, Podium Oslo and Akershus Kunstnersenter. She has also participated in a large number of group exhibitions at home and abroad. Among others at the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Stavanger Art Museum, The Australian video Biennial and Riga Photography Biennial.

Maren co-runs She Will Artspace with Liv Tandrevold Eriksen, and Tone Berg Størseth.

Header Graphics: “The Party” by Maren Dagny Juell. Video Still.


María Castellanos & Alberto Valverde

Beyond Human Perception

Meta.Morf 2022 – Ecophilia / K-U-K – Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst / Exhibition May 6 – August 14 /
Curator: Zane Cerpina / Co-curator: Espen Gangvik

Beyond Human Perception

María Castellanos & Alberto Valverde [ES/NO]

Beyond Human Perception (2020) is a video installation that allows the audience to visualise and compare the reactions of humans and plants to a common stimulus; live music. Erasing boundaries into the communication and understanding between both living beings and by highlighting  the immediate reactions of plants to their surrounding changes.

The installation is the result of several sessions where the brain activity of humans was measured, through the EEG registered wave,  and measuring  the electrical oscillations that are happening into the plants, measured with a sensor developed by the artists, able to detect immediate changes in plants.

Through the use of mathematics, by using the Fast Fourier Transform, humans data and plants data can be compared to each other. This data can also be displayed graphically thanks to an algorithm developed by the artists that allows the audience to see the data through the shape of little spheres that are moving within the geometric shape of a torus. Each little sphere represents each data registered. The graphic representation of  human data and plant data can be seen simultaneously in a video allowing the audience to find patterns by comparing the both living beings’ reactions to the live music.

The installation is composed of two synchronised videos. One video with the concert for plants and humans, and the other one with the data visualisation of two living beings’ responses during the performance.

The work was realised within the framework of the European Media Art Platforms EMARE program at KONTEJNER | bureau of contemporary art praxis with support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.

María Castellanos & Alberto Valverde
María Castellanos and Alberto Valverde (uh513) began working together as a duo in 2009.  María Castellanos is an artist and researcher working at the intersection of art, science, technology and society. Currently she is postdoctoral researcher at Oslo Metropolitan University, in the framework of FeLT Project – Futures of Living Technologies.

Alberto Valverde is an artist and technologist with experience in system design, creation of interactive environments, multimedia and robotics. He worked as associate professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Vigo (ES).

Their joint practice focuses on the relationships between human beings and machines, and in recent years they have centred their research on the sensory boundaries and the creation of complex systems that promote the communication and the understanding between humans and non human beings.

Their work has won awards like VERTIGO STARTS (2017), a prize granted under the aegis of EU-Horizon 2020, an initiative led by Centre Pompidou and IRCAM , Paris, and the Fraunhifer. Gesellschaft, Germany, to foster collaboration between art practitioners and R&D projects. In 2016 they were awarded the Antón Scholarship for Sculpture Research from the Museo Antón in Candás (Asturias). Also in 2016 they were nominated for the STARTSPrize’ 16 at Ars Electronica, Linz (Austria) and the Japan Media Arts Festival, Tokyo (Japan).

Their work was exhibited and performed at venues and festivals such as Ars Electronica Festival (AT), LABoral Art Centre (ES), Athens Digital Arts Festival (GR), Onassis Stegi (GR), House of electronic Arts Basel (CH), La Gâite Lyrique Museum (FR), DRIVE Volskwagen (DE), Matadero Madrid (ES), Bozar Electronic Art Festival (BE), Arts Santa Mónica (ES), Touch Me Festival (HR) MUSAC (ES), CEBIT. Europe’s Festival for Innovation and Digitization (DE).

Their work has been featured in a number of exhibitions, including Jardín Cyborg, at Matadero Madrid, 2019; the solo exhibition Open Environmental Kit at MUSAC –Contemporary Art Museum of Castilla & Leon–, Spain, 2019;  Eco-Visionaries at Hek, Basel, 2018;  Look Forward Fashion Tech Festival, at La Gâite Lyrique Museum, Paris 2017; Human Factor, organised by Ars Electronica at DRIVE Volkswagen, Berlin, 2016; Ars Electronica Festival 2016, Linz; Bozar Electronic Art Festival, Brussels, 2016. /

Header Graphics: “Beyond Human Perception” by María Casellanos & Alberto Valverde.


Marius Presterud


Meta.Morf 2022 – Ecophilia / K-U-K – Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst / Exhibition May 6 – August 14 /
Curator: Zane Cerpina / Co-curator: Espen Gangvik


Marius Presterud [NO]

Video installation (01:06/looped).
Performance by Marius Presterud and Mikkel Dagestad.
Camera and editing by Lene Johansen.

Description: ritual-hygienic cleansing of Oslo Apiary & Aviary’s beeyard (2014-2019), at Losæter, downtown Oslo. Video shown through mourning veil.

We are all at all times surrounded by dead or dying ways of being, which succumbs to that which remains. These unsuccessful stories are seldom part of the discourse in societies built around future-oriented optimism and ideas of continuous growth. In November 2019 it was announced that the beeyard Oslo Apiary & Aviary had been running in downtown Oslo since 2014, was to be demolished because of the expansion of an ongoing city development project.

The video installation GOTH BEEKEEPING depicts the hygienic cleansing of the beeyard, shown through a mourning veil. By pausing on and ritualizing this moment of loss, Oslo Apiary & Aviary uses their own failure systematically to inspect the possibilities and limits posed by our urban habitat. In this way they tell a story about different ways to live and die, in a living and dying world.

Seen in light of the other pieces presented at Ecophilia – sculptures with the potential to house insects or who slowly dissolve money to produce plant manure – the work composition offers a critical commentary to ideas concerning progression, hopes for the future, growth and utopian escapism.

To what degree are our visions of the future made at the cost of connection to the immediate, and to what degree do the development of ‘green cities’ hinder citizen’s self-initiated attempts at ecosystemic change? Which solutions do we lose sight of when we avoid staying with feelings of loss, entrapment and hopelessness produced by our post-sustainable moment?

Materials: Clay, wood, concrete, glass, beeswax, gum, pollen
Dimensions: Varies
Description: Poured cement, smashed glass and sticks foraged from the city, sand from the city beach, candles dipped using beeswax from artists’ own urban beeyard, chewing gum with pollen, bisque burnt clay.

Materials: Heat sculpted PET bottles, water and coins
Dimensions: dimensions vary
Description: The smallest European coin currencies placed in water. The change contain micronutrients plants cannot live without; iron, copper, zinc. Oxygenation happens faster in water and speeds up the release of these nutrients, creating a thin watery manure.

Marius Presterud 
Marius Presterud (b.1980, Drammen) is a Norwegian artist based in Berlin and Oslo. He works across a variety of media; performance, poetry, sculpture and ecoventions. He has toured Europe and been a featured poet at venues in Paris, Berlin and Istanbul, and he has performed in established galleries such as Henie Onstad Art Center, Norway, and Hamburger Bahnhof, Germany. In 2018 he was a debutant at Norway’s 131. National Art Exhibition, Høstutstillingen, and in 2021 he had his first solo exhibition abroad, at Exgirlfriend Gallery, Berlin. Common themes throughout his work are a focus on selfhood, significant otherness and societal health.

Previous to working as an artist, Presterud held positions within the field of project management, program coordinating, curatorial research, music and psychiatry. He received his psychologist licence in 2008 and went on to work in the public and private health sector for several years, before being drawn to art’s didactic and remedial potential, as well as art as a repository for non-commodifiable values. In the period 2014-2019, he worked full-time with his art- and research based practice, Oslo Apiary & Aviary, which he describes as a “Dark-ecological service provider”. He currently works as both artist and group-analytic art therapist.

Header Graphics: “Hibernaculum (Moth-)” by Marius Presterud.


Radical Compromise

Meta.Morf 2022 / Planetariet, Vitensenteret I Trondheim / Screening April 28, 30; May 3, 12, 20, 21; June 11 / Curator: Lars Pedersen

Radical Compromise / 2020

The Radical Compromise project [CZ]

Radical Compromise highlights the issue of European energy in the context of the global environmental crisis. With the exploitation of mineral wealth has come a period of global growth. But there has also been a negative impact and a period of the Anthropocene. Due to the ambivalence of society, the dependence on fossil energy sources is still significant. The implementation of adequate solutions is too slow. Urgent and radical solutions offer room for long-term shortcomings. Therefore, if change is to take place and be effective in the long term, we must not only collectively consider its socio-economic and environmental dependencies, but, above all, take immediate action. We need a radical compromise.

The film comments on the situation through a visual abstraction achieved by using aerial footage combined with electron microscope images of rocks, photogrammetry and digital 3D manipulation of locations. It is accompanied by music supplemented by field recordings, which is reproduced on a seven-channel surround sound setup.

The Radical Compromise project
The Radical Compromise project is a collaboration between Daniel Červenka, Signal Production and Planetum (Planetarium Prague). It is the joint work of a collective of authors consisting of multidisciplinary producer Daniel Červenka, visual artist Marek Šilpoch, composers Trauma & Errol Vitro, digital artist Pavel Karafiát and Planetarium Prague’s chief dramaturge, producer and artist Martin Fuchs. The artists consulted with environmental economist Tomáš Baďura on the issue of strip mines and their restoration. Many thanks for their help also go to Dominik Červenka and František Svěrák, who contributed to the creation of the film.

Martin Fuchs

Daniel Cervenka



Header Graphics: “Radical Compromise” by The Radical Compromise Project.


Yang Zhichao

Meta.Morf 2022 – Ecophilia / Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art / May 19 – July 31
Curator: Zane Cerpina / Co-curator: Espen Gangvik

Planting Grass

Yang Zhichao (CN)

Time: November 5, 2000
Place:  Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai
Process: Two incisions, each 1 centimeter deep by 1 centimeter wide, were made on the performer’s shoulder with no administration of anesthesia. Grass from the Suzhou Creek was then planted in the incisions. The process lasted 45 minutes. 

At 10:00 A.M. on November 5, 2000, on the second floor of No.1133 Suzhou Road, Shanghai where Fuck off was taking place, an operation platform measuring 2000×800×780mm was made. An operational scalpel was incised into my left scapula by a surgeon. Without any anesthesia, the surgeon made two incisions, each 1 centimeter deep by 1 centimeter wide. Two freshly picked grasses from Suzhou Creek were then planted into the incisions. The process lasted for 45 minutes.

Yang Zhichao is one of China’s most prominent performance artists. During the historical show Fuck Off at Eastlink Gallery in Shanghai in 2000, Yang Zhichao was widely recognized for his performance work Planting Grass which embraces pain and introduced direct interventions of his own body. Following the exhibition, Yang Zhichao’s other performance pieces became subject of discussions inside and outside of China, establishing Yang as one of the leading figures in Chinese performance art. His exploration and practice has been described as “a peaceful violence towards the body”. 

Yang Zhichao’s works have been exhibited institutionally worldwide including China Live, Chinese Arts Centre of Manchester, Centre for Contemporary Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2005); Inward Gazes- Documentaries of Chinese Performance Art, Macao Museum of Art, Macao (2005); Art Basel in Hong Kong, Hong Kong (2013); Go East-The Gene Brian Sherman Contemporary A Sina Art Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, New South Wales (2015); Mapping Chinese Art, 1972-2012: Selection from M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong (2021) among many others. 

Born in 1963 in Yumen City, Gansu Province, China, Yang Zhichao was introduced to art when he was 14 years old. Yang studied painting at the Art Department of Northwest Normal University from 1982 to 1986. During college, he collaborated with colleagues to make contemporary dramas, and hosted discussions and lectures of aesthetic of action. After graduation, Yang was assigned to teach painting at a high school in Lanzhou, Gansu Province. His solid academic training and work experience ensured his success in teaching and painting in the traditional sense. However, Yang had always felt that art should not be limited to the medium of academic painting. In 1987, Yang collaborated with his classmates Xichuan and others to create the performance piece Rolling Canvas. In the following years he united local avant-garde artists in Lanzhou, known as the Lanzhou Group to create several performance pieces that were challenging to public perception at that era. Yang’s time in Lanzhou marked the starting point of his long and lonely journey in performance art. Since then, he began to boldly use his body as a medium for art creation, thus challenging the balance between physical “internal cohesion” and social “tension”.

In 2000, his three renowned works Bask, Brand and Planting Grass, gained his performance art recognition and popularity in China and abroad. In 2002, Yang won the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA). Since then, he has completed Hide, Chinese Bible, Tao Te Ching, Ear of Wheat, and the Apocalypse series among others. Yang Zhichao has always used his own body and the various conceptual extensions surrounding the body as an experimental ground for his performance art creations. Yang is not only a pioneer of early Chinese performance art, but also one of the few artists in the history of Chinese performance art who had established a unique system of logical narratives.

Yang Zhichao currently lives and works in Beijing.

Eli Klein Gallery has an international reputation as one of the foremost galleries specializing in contemporary Chinese art and continues to advance the careers of its represented artists and hundreds of other Chinese artists with whom it has collaborated. The Gallery has been instrumental in the loan of artworks by Chinese artists to over 100 museum exhibitions throughout the world. It has published 40 books/catalogues and organized more than 75 exhibitions of Chinese contemporary art at our prestigious venues in New York City. Eli Klein’s gallery artists have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Artforum, Newsweek, and ARTnews and have been on CNN and countless other international broadcasts, publications, and online critical reviews. 

Located at 398 West Street (between Charles and West 10th) in the trendiest part of the West Village, Eli Klein Gallery is just a few blocks from the new Whitney Museum and the commencement point for the High Line. In a landmarked Federal-style row house that enjoys special cultural, historical and aesthetic value to the City of New York, Eli Klein Gallery occupies 3 levels of the building, boasting 13-foot ceilings on the ground floor.

The Gallery was founded by Eli Klein in 2007. During these formative years, it established a reputation for introducing fresh, contemporary, and often challenging works by rising Chinese talents to the western audiences. Now, as the leading dealer of Chinese contemporary art outside of China, Eli Klein actively promotes cross-cultural awareness and investment at the highest level amongst some of the world’s most influential nations.

Header Graphics: “Planting Grass” by Yang Zhichao. Photo: Courtesy of Eli Klein Gallery.