La Levadura y el Anfitrión
On the screen: Anywhen, 2017, video, duration 10:42 min
On the ceiling: My Room Is Another Fish Bowl, 2016, Mylar balloons, dimensions variable
La Levadura y el Anfitrión
From October 26, 2017 to February 11, 2018, Museo Jumex presents Philippe Parreno: La Levadura y el Anfitrión (The Yeast and The Host), the artist’s first exhibition in Mexico.
One of an influential generation of artists emerging in the 1990s, Parreno has pioneered new forms of art through collaboration, participation and choreographed encounters where “the exhibition is conceived as a scripted space, like an automaton producing different temporalities, a rhythm, a journey, a duration.” For Museo Jumex, Parreno presents an expanded proposal over two floors, using musical notation, weather patterns and living organisms to trigger sound, video and lighting conditions within the gallery. In La Levadura y el Anfitrión, new, existing, and re-edited works or motifs are combined and overlaid to produce different realities that emerge as an ever-changing composition.
La Levadura y el Anfitrión (The Yeast and the Host) is an experimental world constructed of temporal events (films, sound, light) orchestrated and directed by a host—a woman or a man moving throughout the gallery spaces. At the heart of the exhibition on the second-floor gallery, a yeast colony is bred in a bioreactor in a control room. Connected to a computer, these micro-organisms adapt to events triggered by the human host, who might decide to change the sequence of light and sound, to play a film or a musical composition on the piano. In response, the yeast sends back information to systems which change lighting conditions or soundscapes contained within the museum. The system also scripts the events on the first-floor gallery where a marquee, inspired by the luminous structures that overhang the entrances to movie theaters, bristles with lighting that modulates in generative sequences. Commissioned for Museo Jumex, the marquee is presented in an environment that seems to answer its changing patterns through sound and movement choreographed with the worlds evoked in the gallery above.
Moving through the exhibition are Ann Lee, an animated manga figure who tells the story of her strange existence in a new 3D version of Parreno’s iconic film, now titled Anywhere (2017), and The Crowd (2015), a group of 300 people moving as one under collective hypnosis. Both appear as apparitions on screen between the alien worlds of C.H.Z. (2011), an uncannily dark artificial environment Parreno constructed to simulate the conditions of life outside our own galaxy, and that of a cephalopod in Anywhen (2017). At work in the galleries are human operators who guide the visitor through a virtual space in one moment, and through piano recitals at another, mediating the intersecting realities.
By turning the control of the show over to the hosts as well as natural and algorithmic systems, Parreno’s work explores a realm that lies between the human mind—the host that choreographs the exhibition—and other spectral forms of intelligent or emergent matter and activity.