Our bodies are coral reefs teeming with polyps, sponges, gorgonians, and free-swimming macrophages continually stirred by monsoon climates of moist air, blood, and biles.
─ Alphonso Lingis, Animal Body, Inhuman Face
Throughout history we have been particularly inclined to mark the difference between ourselves and our environment in a set of, sometimes more and sometimes less flattering oppositions. As soon as the possibility presented itself, we have been eager to modify, exploit and subordinate the world around us, sneaking into the genetic codes of others to create new life forms. Through these assembling and disassembling processes, we have created new life forms with which we interact as creations with no social or cultural space. While these have been subject to constant re-configurations, being human has been ascribed a sense of wholeness ─ bodies as closed and defined systems, at times fashionably and aesthetically upgraded, other times simply lacking.
Environmental changes, sixth mass extinction and health crises have brought to light this incongruity. We are shown something that has always been here: there is no unity, we are in constant interaction with others and between ourselves. This interaction goes deeper than multitudes of wholes acting, reacting, adding and subtracting. These connections occur between complexes, syncretic bodies, both biological and technological — not one single entity but continuously permeated with others. We thus expand the notion of human and non-human bodies and beings, uncovering new understandings of interconnections between agents in a multitude of agents. Between hollow, permeable bodies. Porous beings interacting with other porous beings.
These artistic proposals do not intend to persuade us to recombine our bodies into cross-species, chimeras or cyborgs. Rather, they open a possibility to rethink our interconnections with non-human nature. In its title, MARRIAGE OF STATES* evokes the historical term, emphasizing diplomatic efforts to achieve a higher cause by means of exchange between bodies charged with symbolic differences. It shows that the cross-species of human and non-human living beings, as well as machines, gradually emancipating from human agency, is political. As visitors we are invited to experience the possibility ─ or even inevitability ─ of reconsidering our values and understanding of the importance of these correlations and our alienated attitude towards the non-human in order to create a more biosphere-friendly cohabitation and co-evolution.
Curators: Jurij Krpan (Kapelica Gallery, Slovenia), Klara Petrović and Luja Šimunović (KONTEJNER, Croatia)