Guests to Anicka Yi’s installations typically discover themselves counting on senses they aren’t accustomed to utilizing within the extra visually centered artwork world: scent, contact or style. Her works draw on the generally extra ephemeral however deeply evocative parts that spark reminiscences and associations, to look at “the biopolitics of our senses,” based on the artist.
“I grew up in a really pungent residence, and was very keenly and aware of how odor does begin to create these types of id round these invisible scent molecules,” Yi defined in an unique interview filmed as a part of Art21’s collection Our bodies of Information. “Within the Western world, we actually are inclined to reject very pungent odors as an indication of weak point, as an indication of being extra animal. We’ve got left these odors behind us to a superbly sanitized world the place we management what we will odor and what we will’t—and that’s an not possible method to existence.”
Yi sees this impulse to sanitize the world as rooted in a really human concern of being obliterated from existence. “We go towards nature to attempt to protect and stabilize and management one thing that resists all of that.”
Round 2010, Yi began deep-frying flowers and vegetation as a method of exploring this concern of destruction. She would dip the vegetation in a thick batter that masked each the unique type and scent of the flowers, after which drop them in 300-degree boiling oil, to rework them into a completely new object. “The visible points of it was undoubtedly one thing that I used to be aiming for,” Yi stated, “however the odor of, like, French fries… that was very a lot compelling me to, you already know, fry up a batch of those.”
An identical concern typically follows society’s rising reliance on know-how and machines, from manufacturing facility automation to synthetic intelligence. “We’ve got a really restricted creativeness with regards to machines. We’ve got a variety of nervousness that they’ll exchange us,” Yi stated. “However what if we might relate to them in a extra optimistic method?” This query led the artist to create her jellyfish-inspired “aerobes” collection of sculptures, which took over Tate Fashionable’s Turbine Corridor in 2021–22.
“The machines reply and detect each other by way of high-frequency radio waves. They usually’re capable of detect warmth signatures of tourists,” Yi stated of the works. “Some aerobes are curious in regards to the guests, whereas some are extra shy. It was actually vital for me that they had been unpredictable, and that they’d area and time for their very own evolution. You already know that they’re mechanical, and but they really feel palpably alive.”
Watch the video, which initially appeared as a part of Art21’s collection Our bodies of Information, beneath.
That is an installment of “Artwork on Video,” a collaboration between Artnet Information and Art21 that brings you clips of news-making artists. A brand new season of the nonprofit Art21’s flagship collection Artwork within the Twenty-First Century is obtainable now on PBS. Catch all episodes of different collection, like New York Shut Up and Prolonged Play, and study in regards to the group’s academic packages at Art21.org.
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