Troika “No Sound of Water” Espacio Arte Abierto / Mexico City

January 4, 2022

Troika is a collaborative contemporary art group formed in 2003 by Eva Rucki (Germany, 1976), Conny Freyer (Germany, 1976) and Sebastian Noel (France, 1977). For more than two decades, Troika has sought to challenge our perception of the world. For the exhibition “No Sound of Water”, they present two works that together form a hostile and desolate landscape that, although it could be thought of as part of a fictional ecosystem, could become reality as a result of various destructive human actions. Far from enunciating an ecological discourse or moral, the exhibition focuses on the problems caused by technological, capitalist and industrial advances and the impact they have to such a degree that they cause a new geological era (the Anthropocene) and the eventual decomposition of the Earth.

“No Sound of Water” consists of an industrial processing machine that refers to extractive technologies. Through an upper channel, the structure works like a cascade of salt in constant movement, as if it were an infinite hourglass, to the point of becoming uncontrollable: the salt spills through the room, accumulates in the crevices of the floor or even in the folds of the visitors’ clothes. With salt as the central element, the piece proposes an alternative reading in which this mineral is not only an element of human and natural extinction but, is also responsible for creating an era based on non-organic intelligence and synthetic biology. The very title of the piece alludes to the total absence of a key and organic element such as water.

On the opposite side, the video “Terminal Beach” takes place in the middle of a desolate and impoverished territory where the only thing that can be seen is the last tree on the face of the earth and a robotic arm that constantly hits the trunk of the tree with an ax. The harshness of the atmosphere is reinforced by an acoustic background made up of the sounds of lightning, solar winds and geomagnetic storms, captured as radio waves by the British Antarctic Survey. The metaphor of the video is compelling: we are destroying the world that sustains us and every advance of technology, capitalism and industry is also a step towards extinction.

“No Sound of Water” is part of an artistic and research project that Troika has developed over ten years: “Untertage” (which, due to its translation from German, means “under the earth” or, literally, “under the day”), which puts salt as the agent of cultural evolution, that is, as the key component of the tools without which human civilization would not be what it is now. Thus, salt also becomes the protagonist of the drama that is world domination.

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