Alpha Centauri* is an experiment in two parts with students from the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm and the State Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart.
The work is oriented around two levels of the Künstlerhaus, which have been repurposed as living spaces, ateliers, and an environment activated by, and defined through individual and collective making. In the period of living and working together, a total work has been produced, parsing out the conflicting dimensions of control/frame and out of control/unpredictability.
In this chapter of Alpha Centauri, developed in collaboration with Abel Auer, with Leon Dürnay, Janis Eckhardt, Juliane Gebhardt, Hyunjeong Ko, Evgenia Kosareva, Lea Lenk, Jaewon Park, Tzusoo and Helen Weber, the students continued with the setting and parameters developed by the first group. Through both responding to, and developing their own shared logic, the space was radically reconceived and new works were produced, others altered or removed. A core focus of the discussions and sessions held throughout this process were connections between the rooted and material, and its relations to the hidden, obscure and unknowable, explored from a series of perspectives. From ethnobotanist, author and lecturer Terence McKenna’s thinking around reality as hyper dimensional, to Paul Thek’s work with the material and the contingent, to questions of intention and attention in artistic making. Within the group, a shared speculative fiction took form, the notion of the ‘Metabosch’ – an unfolding set of associations moving between the phantasmagoric world-making of Hieronymus Bosch, to a narrative of a corporate and quasi spiritual brand, ‘the Metabosch’, and life within its paradigm. It is a concept, which as the setting materialised, also acquired darker, and at times apocalyptic undertones, looping back to associations between corporate culture, ecology and black holes.
Alpha Centauri is a project testing out the possibilities and limits of the institution as host, and the processes involved with generating an environment with material and intangible layers. And is in the process, focused on living with qualities of sociability, discord, and the transformative in the teaching and making of art.
The project was convened by Annika Eriksson (Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm) and Fatima Hellberg (Künstlerhaus Stuttgart)
*Alpha Centauri is the star system closest to the Solar System. Researchers have sought to verify the existence of an Earth like planet in the Alpha Centauri using transits – a slight dimming in the star as the planet passes by has been detected – but no additional, conclusive evidence.
Part I of Alpha Centauri was realized by: Maiken Buus Andersen, Izabel Färnstrand, Salad Hilowle, Sonia Sagan, Oscar Kaleva Karlsson, Vida Lavén, Mari Mattsson, Linnéa Ndangoya Palmcrantz, Emilie Palmelund, Levi Sebton and Jesper Vesterlund