by Johannes Heldén
Tr. by Kirkwood Adams, Elizabeth Clark Wessel, & Johannes Heldén
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Release Date: May 1, 2017
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I turn to Astroecology and its Encyclopedia when the weight of the actual world grows heavy, and I need to be surprised, or puzzled, or refreshed.
— Ursula K. Le Guin
A vision both nostalgic and premonitory. A transmigration of the mundane, decay upon decay, read as imminent luminescence.
– David Sylvian
begins from an eschatological place: the world as we know it is ending, and this cosmic ending can be witnessed in that most intimate and privileged of places, the private estate.
finds us in a real house and a real garden, surrounded by endlessly meaningful details, arranged with the precision of a Twin Peaks-like murder mystery. In a series of filmic visual frames and corresponding textual notes, Heldén offers a poetics that twists the organic (plants, pets, decay and growth) and the inorganic (drones, data systems, AI) into each other as a kind of avant-garde Mobius strip. A dazzling intertexuality unfolds: Inger Christensen’s indexical impulse meets Hayao Miyazaki’s surrealism, Chris Marker’s stark montage meets Robert Smithson’s iconography, Ursula LeGuin’s social investigation meets Norbert Weiner’s theory of cybernetics. In letting the reader-viewer get “stuck in the stream of evolution” over and over again, Heldén brings us to profound unanswerable questions about the origins of the universe: its processes, systems, and vanishing species of creature and thought.
Johannes Heldén is a visual artist, writer and musician. His work deals with artificial intelligence, ecology, poetry, science fiction, sentience and interactive narrative structures. He has published twelve books, most recently Astroecology (2016) which was published in three languages and made into an interdisciplinary performance at The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, and a digital artwork published by Bonniers Konsthall. Heldén was the recipient of the Åke Andrén Art Prize in 2015 and the Evolution project won the inaugural N. Katherine Hayles prize in 2014. He has published four music albums, most recently System (Irrlicht), and seven digital online works of poetry and visual art. His work has recently been shown at ISEA in Vancouver, Broken Dimanche in Berlin, Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Inspace in Edinburgh, Moderna Museet Stockholm, UB Center for the Arts Buffalo, The Fifth Moscow Biennale, The Media Archaelogy Lab/University of Colorado, Volt in Bergen, ICIDS Istanbul, NIMK in Amsterdam, Dome of Visions in Copenhagen, UKS in Oslo among others. He is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts, Hawthornden Castle et al. Follow him at
Photo by Martin Vallin
Posted by Elizabeth Clark Wessel, February 4th, 2017.
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