Contributions by 0(rphan)d(rift>), Ursula Biemann, Ccru, Kodwo Eshun, N. Katherine Hayles, Francis McKee, Margarida Mendes, Jussi Parikka, Mariana Silva, Jennifer Teets, Jason Waite
Matter Fictions addresses fiction as a mode of producing reality as well as the significance of matter—animal, vegetable, mineral, hybrid—beyond binaries. Recounting a partial history of our relation with matter, the eponymous exhibition at Museu Coleção Berardo (May 4–August 21, 2016) explored how the crossover between cosmological narratives, spatial revolutions of concrete poetry, and hypertextual and territorial fictions might impact our understanding of human agency in a time that calls for action on climate change and technocratic policies. This companion reader features contributions from participating artists and like-minded writers that address the scope of this project as it exceeds the frame of art and the exhibition into the realm of nonhuman ecologies, ontologies, and temporalities.
The texts are oriented around the four threads that structured the exhibition. The science-fiction approach to the ethics of code and digital space is addressed in the texts by Kodwo Eshun of the Otolith Group, Ccru (Cybernetic culture resource unit), and N. Katherine Hayles, and the excerpt from 0(rphan)d(rift>)’s 1995 novel Cyberpositive. Contemporary psychogeophysics and the material realities of the digital are explored by Jussi Parikka’s text and printed drawings throughout the book based on Joana Escoval’s sculptures on electromagnetic conduction. The hybridity of contemporary bodies and rituals is contextualized by Margarida Mendes’s essay on agribusiness and GMOs. And the critique of technocratic and extractionist environmental policies is represented by Jason Waite’s text on Fukushima and artist statements by Ursula Biemann and Mariana Silva. The contributions from Jennifer Teets and Francis McKee straddle all four threads—Teets’s through a reflection on the ongoing series at Museu Berardo, The World in Which We Occur, which she organizes with Mendes, and McKee’s through a newly commissioned work of fiction. - Sternberg Press