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Die Mimik der TethysPalais de Tokyo, Paris, 2019


Die Mimik der Tethys, Boje from Studio Julius von Bismarck. A site-specific kinetic installation featuring a suspended high-sea buoy silently floating in space in mimicry of the hypnotic motions of ocean waves.


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Die Mimik der Tethys, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2019



In perpetual motion, sometimes calm, at other times sudden and fierce, Die Mimik der Tethys (The Expressions of Tethys) reproduces the movements of a buoy that Julius von Bismarck and his team anchored in the Atlantic Ocean off the French coast. The buoy at sea continuously transmits movement data via satellite, setting in motion the eight electric motors and cable winches connected to its suspended double – now silently gliding overhead along three dimensions of the exhibition space. Alluding to the Greek sea goddess Tethys, the heavyweight pendulum functions as a barometer of nature’s moods as expressed by the ever-changing rhythms of the ocean swell. Flying seemingly weightlessly through the air, 'Die Mimik der Tethys' transforms the space into an otherworldly experience, virtually immersing the viewer in the depths of the sea.

Interested in human's perception and representation of nature, von Bismarck reminds us of buoys’ function as civilisation’s outposts at sea, questioning the object’s raison d’être at sea. Buoys send out a set of digital signals which cannot be perceived by human senses. As a metaphor for the streams of data in which both ocean and civilisation are immersed today, von Bismarck's installation challenges the romantic representation of nature as a place untouched by humans.



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Die Mimik der Tethys, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2019

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Die Mimik der Tethys, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2019

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Die Mimik der Tethys, Atlantic Ocean (Bay of Biscay), 2019 | Installation at SEM-REV test site: high-sea buoy, inertial motion sensor, 2019

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Die Mimik der Tethys, Atlantic Ocean, 2019

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Die Mimik der Tethys, Atlantic Ocean, 2019

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“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.” (Julius von Bismarck, 2019)