Germaine Koh and Aron Louis Cohen
November 25, 2017 – February 3, 2018
Technologies old and new signify a human desire to understand, interface with and possess the world. Material intermediaries, often supports to human activity, tend to be hidden, made supplementary, or discarded after their intended use. Communication technologies transmit messages, providing conduits and thresholds between interiors and exteriors: between selves, things and worlds. Today, such technologies oscillate between material and deceivingly immaterial. Digital repositories of collective experience and memory—second worlds, second lives– have become mediated aleatory streams for accelerated knowing.
Afterlives contemplates these technologies and their communicative properties, contemporary disconnection from material realities, and the care for materials once conceived as waste. Germaine Koh and Aron Louis Cohen examine and re-form material detritus and the traces of global economies to convey plasticity and potential. Electronic waste, takeaway plastics, tourist merchandise, and the enclosures and supports of industrialized logistics all undergo transformation.Speculating on origins and circulations of these materials amidst a culture of planned obsolescence, they seek to better understand the intersections of energies—time, labour, emotion, power—embedded within late-capitalist experience. Afterlives considers the hidden processes that manufacturing and its related waste often obscure, prompting questions of value, use, and trust in encountering the world.
The mysterious back-end of production reveals political and geographic imbalances in human systems of creation and disposal. Paradoxically, our present access to this information often requires the very processes that are harming others and the world. If external forms suggest what is unseen, and if signal and thing are bound by shared material processes; if plasticity is the capacity to give and receive form—between things, each other, the world—then how might we commune with the material and human world to learn and understand differently?
… How too, might we become something else?
Katherine Dennis. “Afterlives,” print review, Canadian Art, Winter 2018, 137-8.
Adi Berardini, FemmeArt Review
Photos: Scott Massey of SITE Photography