Die Mimik der Tethys (The Expressions of Tethys)
is a high sea buoy, that is suspended in space and moves synchronously to another buoy in the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. Continuously transmitting motion data via satellite to its relocated double, the information guides eight electric motors and cable winches, which precisely reproduce the buoy movement in the ocean. The buoy functions as a hypnotising machine that inevitably leads to the idea of waves lapping around inside the exhibition space, creating an ocean in the minds of people.
“The ocean itself is not that easy to grasp. From a conventional point of view, it usually only consists of a horizon line. I focus on pure movement that creates a far more direct connection to the ocean than any image or webcam could. You inevitably understand the ocean as a character—you feel the whim of the wild water that can potentially hold your life in your hands. Most people lack such existential experiences with the sea. Buoys function as outposts in the sea. They are like space probes—external ambassadors that represent our human existence without our actual presence. They send information from distant places, and at the same time, they place information from us there.
Our idea of what we see as nature is a human construct and culturally conditioned and, therefore, subject to historical fluctuations. The ocean used to be the wild, the indomitable. I play with the traditional images of nature from the Romantic era—the rusty buoy that dances lonely on the sea is definitely romantic, but this picture no longer works with our current understanding of nature and the crises of the sea.Today we regard the ocean as a victim of our actions. We are the perpetrators polluting it with micro-plastics. The ocean, in turn, shows us its potential threat from tidal waves and rising sea levels. Refugees die in the sea. It is this new ocean that ripples through the exhibition space.”
Text: 'Studio Berlin', exh. cat. Berghain/ Boros Foundation (ed.), DISTANZ, 2020