Longitudes

Reviews of the exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée, Bordeaux

As the ‘4.543 billion. The matter of matter’ exhibition concluded on January 7, 2018, at the CAPC musée in Bordeaux, we finished archiving all the social media posts visitors, the museum and ourselves have published – see our Wakelet feed below – since research phase to the exhibition itself, and below share the most relevant print and online reviews.
Wakelet collection of the "4.543 billion" exhibition.

December 8, 2017: Tom Jeffreys highlighted the exhibition in his "Looking Back: Paris" roundup for frieze magazine – illustrated with two works included in the show by Nicholas Mangan and Alexandra Navratil.

"A little less academic, but no less rigorous, was ‘4,543 milliards’ (4,543 billion), curated by the Barcelona-based Latitudes (co-founded by frieze contributing editor Max Andrews) at CAPC, Bordeaux. Subtitled ‘The matter of matter’, the exhibition provided a material, geological and political response to the building’s former life as a warehouse for colonial commodities and, by extension, the complex entanglement of culture, money, politics and ecological impact. Marble from Trump Tower (Amie Siegel’s "Strata", 2017) was exhibited alongside partially-burnt documents rescued from a fire at the Bordeaux municipal archives and a 1939 mock invitation to the ‘Museum of Standard Oil’, actually MoMA’s new building, issued by the then-publications director, Frances Collins (unsurprisingly fired soon after). Combining archival materials with work by 30 artists, big ideas with specificity and nuance, this was exactly the kind of exhibition I would want to return to again and again. If the selection of the next artistic director the Venice Biennale were a democratic process, I’d be voting for Latitudes."


November 28, 2017Frank Browning, Paris-based Contributor to the Huffington Post author, and former NPR Correspondent, reviewed the recently opened retrospective of Beatriz González and concluded his article with a short mention:

"Meanwhile, around the corner at CAPC there’s an intriguing assembly of stones, papers, paintings, photographs and projections that unite geo-physics, sculpture, and art history, including the conversion of the building itself from a one-time commodities warehouse into its current life as a museum.

Entitled “The Matter of Matter,” [missing "4.543 billion" years, the age of the Earth, and the first part of the exhibition title] it includes the work of 30 artists, assembled and mounted by a Spanish team, Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna. They call themselves Latitudes [wrongly published with two "T"]; they aim to excavate the world we inhabit daily, be it through the history indigo mining in Mexico and southern France (vital for fine pottery and coloring bluejeans) or oil extraction in Venezuela, gas infused sculptures or open pit diamond mining in southern Africa. All that we do, all that we eat, all that we create derives from one form of excavation or another. Simple truism as it may seem, Latitudes takes us into the intimacies of our relation with this earth and calls us to meditate on our physical and aesthetic relation to the steadily warming round rock that is our home."




September 20, 2017: Emmanuel Labails of RCF Radio did a 9-minute interview with Pedro Jiménez Morras, Head of Press of CAPC, who discussed the premises of the exhibition and some of its works. (Listen between minute 4:39 and 13:36).

August 19, 2017: Bea Espejo's ‘Cambio de tiempo’, on the Spanish national cultural supplement Babelia, in El País newspaper begins:

˝A ese pensamiento geológico del tiempo conduce la exposición 4.543 millones. La cuestión de la materia en el CAPC de Burdeos. La muestra aborda obras de arte, colecciones e historias culturales con relación a procesos ecológicos y la escala geológica del tiempo. En total, más de 35 artistas que dan valor a las discontinuidades, a las derivas y a las ausencias. La muestra almacena el tiempo como una batería almacena la energía. Y lo hace en varias capas de lectura. Una de ellas es el tiempo que lleva Latitudes, la oficina curatorial de Mariana Cánepa Luna y Max Andrews, trabajando en este proyecto, seguramente el más complejo y ambicioso, aunque esta investigación en torno a las complejas relaciones entre la ecología y el arte contemporáneo está en la base de todos sus proyectos desde 2005. Aquí no pueden ser más rotundos. Abordan la cuestión de la materia desde el lado más inmaterial, que es la memoria. Para ello, estudiaron a fondo el contexto de la ciudad bajo un programa de residencias del museo. Hablamos, pues, de un proyecto de investigación, algo que se traduce en cada pequeño gesto que recoge la muestra, y que lo expande todo. De ahí las relaciones de algunas obras con el departamento de zoología de la universidad (Ilana Halperin), el Museo de Bellas Artes (Stuart Whipps, o el préstamo de Alfred Roll), así como los muchos documentos y objetos que se incluyen de los archivos Métropole, de la Gironde y la colección geológica de la UFR Sciences de la Terre et de la Mer, de la Universidad de Burdeos.˝




July 12, 2017: Catherine Darfay's ‘Le CAPC remonte le temps’ on the local newspaper "Sudouest", was the first feature. The article was illustrated with a with an image showing Amy Balkin's ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009) chartering the daily price of carbon dioxide emissions allowances in the world’s largest carbon market —a changing value documented in this blog post.


RELATED CONTENT:
  • 4.543 billion. The Matter of Matter” exhibition
  • Archive of social networks posts related to "4.543 billion"
  • Photo gallery of the exhibition 
  • CAPC website (French, English, Spanish) http://www.capc-bordeaux.fr/programme/4543-milliards
  • Cover Story—December 2017: "Tabet's Tapline trajectory" 4 December 2017
  • Alfred Roll's 1878 "The Old Quarryman" exchanged with Alfred Smith's "The Grave Docks" (1884) in the exhibition "4.543 billion" at the CAPC musée 3 November 2017
  • Cover Story—November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth" 1 November 2017 
  • 15 November 2017, 4:30–8pm: 'The Return of the Earth. Ecologising art history in the Anthropocene' study day at the CAPC musée, Bordeaux 24 October 201
  • Cover Story – July 2017: 4.543 billion 3 July 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2017: S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps 1 May 2017
  • SAVE THE DATE: 29 June, 19h. Private view of the exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux 30 May 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2016: Material histories – spilling the beans at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux 10 May 2016.
  • Second research trip to Bordeaux 16 July 2016

Progress of Amy Balkin's ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009)



Installation of Amy Balkin's ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009) on the opening day, 29 June 2017. Photo: Latitudes/RK. 

Throughout the course of the ‘4.543 billion. The Matter of Matter’ exhibition at the CAPC musée in Bordeaux, the work by Amy Balkin (Baltimore, Maryland, 1967. Lives in San Francisco) ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009) charted the daily price of carbon dioxide emissions allowances in the world’s largest carbon market, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The numbering system was manually updated every morning to show the price in Euros of an entitlement to legally emit one metric tonne of CO2. Polluters—power plants or factories—receive or buy emissions allowances at auctions and trade them as needed to minimize costs.

A product of the increasing dominance of the finance sector and the expansion of financial derivatives that emerged in the 1970s, the carbon market ‘fix’ has abstracted the qualitative problem of climate change mitigation into a commodity market based on a molecule treated as the singular cause. There is a trend towards emissions that can be lucratively ‘avoided’, while there has been little effect on structural fossil fuel dependence. In this perspective, global warming is a market failure that can be corrected by governing the atmosphere via an economic instrument with no real material or historical reference.

Balkin's piece was presented alongside works by Pep Vidal, Lucas Ihlein, and Lara Almarcegui, all focusing on humans' calculations and quantification of nature and its progressive abstraction.

—Latitudes 

(Text from the exhibition guide)

4.543 billion. The matter of matter’ took place between the June 29, 2017 and January 7, 2018 at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain, Bordeaux, France.



General view of room 8. Photo: Latitudes/RK.


Work by Lara Almarcegui (wall) and Pep Vidal (floor). Photo: Latitudes/RK.


Prints by Lucas Ihlein (wall) and part of a tree by Pep Vidal (floor). Photo: Latitudes/RK.


Below a sequence of all the social media posts (mostly from Instagrammers, more on this and other works on this Wakelet feed) showing the ongoing flux of its price—which has ranged from 4,84 Eur per tonne of CO2 during the installation of the piece, to 4,93 Eur on the opening day (29 June 2017), to the last picture on record showing a whopping 7,76 Eur per tonne of CO2.

We would like to thank the KADIST in San Francisco for having given us the opportunity to, after years of corresponding over email, finally meet Amy during a residency in September 2015. Her "Incidents of Travel" day on several locations in and outside San Francisco (download the specially-commissioned itinerary here) was invaluable towards the conceptualization of this exhibition.




Installing ‘Today’s CO2 Spot Price’ (2009). Photo: Latitudes for @capc 



Taken on 2 July 2017. Photo: Latitudes. 



Image published in the Sudouest newspaper on 12 July 2017 showing 04,98 EUR/tC02.


Taken on 13 July 2017 by Hélène Lucien. 


Taken on 16 July 2017 by Adriano Pedrosa. 


Taken on 2 August 2017 by Lena Joreis. 


Taken on 19 August 2017 by Semi-Sans.


Taken on 22 August 2017 by Mads Freund Brunse.


Taken on 12 October 2017 by Tomas Mendizabal.


Taken on 17 October 2017 by @Margareth.


Taken on 20 November 2017 by @matlegall. 


Taken on 2 November 2017 by @Elénie. 


Taken on 30 November 2017 by @mllelahaye 


Taken on 1 December 2017 by @mommou.elle 


Taken on January 7, 2018, the last day of the exhibition, by exhibition coordinator Alice Cavender. 


RELATED CONTENT
  • 4.543 billion. The Matter of Matter” exhibition 
  • Archive of social networks posts related to "4.543 billion" 
  • Photo gallery of the exhibition 
  • CAPC website (French, English, Spanish) http://www.capc-bordeaux.fr/programme/4543-milliards
  • Cover Story—December 2017: "Tabet's Tapline trajectory" 4 December 2017
  • Alfred Roll's 1878 "The Old Quarryman" exchanged with Alfred Smith's "The Grave Docks" (1884) in the exhibition "4.543 billion" at the CAPC musée 3 November 2017
  • Cover Story—November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth" 1 November 2017
  • 15 November 2017, 4:30–8pm: 'The Return of the Earth. Ecologising art history in the Anthropocene' study day at the CAPC musée, Bordeaux 24 October 201
  • Cover Story – July 2017: 4.543 billion 3 July 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2017: S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps 1 May 2017
  • SAVE THE DATE: 29 June, 19h. Private view of the exhibition "4.543 billion. The matter of matter" at the CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux 30 May 2017 
  • Cover Story – May 2016: Material histories – spilling the beans at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux 10 May 2016
  • Second research trip to Bordeaux 16 July 2016


    Cover Story—January 2018: I'll be there for you

    Latitudes' home page www.lttds.org

    The January 2018 Monthly Cover Story "I'll be there for you" is now up on www.lttds.org – after this month it will be archived here.
     

    "Camille Orny and Magda Vaz’s exhibition for the Sala Petita of Barcelona’s La Capella will open on 23 January—it is the last of three projects that Latitudes is mentoring during the current season of the Barcelona Producció grants." Continue reading  

    Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepage and feature past, present or forthcoming projects, research, writing, artworks, exhibitions, films, objects or field trips related to our curatorial activities. 


    (Above and below) View from "Artengo2000", exhibition by Camille Orny and Magda Vaz at the Sala Petita in La Capella. Photo: Pep Herrero / La Capella.

    Below the text written by Latitudes, mentors of the project:

    "Bringing the format of the miniseries into the Sala Petita, Camille Orny & Magda Vaz have created a drama-documentary for six screens premised on the story of a group of five flatmates—including semi-fictionalized versions of themselves—who have struck a sponsorship deal with a corporation known as Artengo. In one reality Artengo is a sub-brand of the sporting goods retailer Decathlon dedicated to racket sports, yet in another reality, it is an arcane Russian-American multinational corporation. The series begins with a dream in which a flatmate is haunted by the Artengo-branded socks that the flatmates have agreed to wear at all times as part of the sponsorship deal that in return sees them receive occasional deliveries of unbranded food and a discount on their gas bill. Artengo2000 is a cumulative narrative: each installment is comprehensive and distinct, while each is grafted onto the body of the series, with certain elements and plot lines that link across.

    Artengo2000 hinges on possible spiritual advancements and psychic disorders caused by shared living and by being obedient brand ambassadors. We witness the transformation of a communal flat into a laboratory-like space governed by the unwritten transactions entailed in lifestyle sponsorship and company patronage. Although the drama takes us to Montjuïc, the W Barcelona hotel, and to the Arenas shopping centre, and other branded flats, the Artengo apartment itself is the core psychological location. Yet in contrast to the breezy comedic and romantic adventures of the flat-sharing television series Friends (1994–2004), the Artengo apartment fills with irrational drama, distrust, deranged dreams, and doppelgängers. The flatmates become more like guinea pigs in a pioneering space station, afloat in a void at the limits of corporate ethics, loyalties and interpersonal relations. Characters include Camille and Magda’s flatmates Manu and Laura, a washed-up professional tennis player, and a supposed Danish-Catalan man named Borja with an academic interest in the introduction to Barcelona of novel and more covert forms of whole-life sponsorship.


    Artengo2000 takes place in a familiar but twisted world in which gig economies, collaborative work and service sharing appear to have developed in even more perverse ways. A brand called Little Bits makes an appearance—a sort of mutant Deliveroo based on micro-tapas. As Orny and Vaz have suggested, their shared flat drama imagines the bizarre incompatibility of a kommunalka (kommunalki were multi-family communal apartments encouraged by Lenin as a response to the housing crisis after the Russian revolution of 1917) set in a near-future where neoliberal and Silicon-Valley logic wields even greater power. Here the so-called ‘sharing economy’ of coworking, or online platforms such as BlaBlaCar and Airbnb, is evidently not representative of an altruistic fantasy of entrepreneurship or dynamic community cohesion, but is a symptom of evermore precarious socioeconomic circumstances. Giving up some personal space is part of the experience of sharing a flat, yet it allows a lower cost of living. However, the sponsorship deal that the flatmates are signed up to exacerbates their sacrifices to extremes. The work-life balance has not been blurred, but completely collapsed, as the flatmates renounce their intimacy and subjectivity in commodifying themselves for the Artengo brand.

    Where the vast majority of television narrators strive for neutrality and self-effacement, as if viewers are supposed to ignore the fact that the story is coming through a mediator, Orny and Vaz’s storytelling, and the Artengo2000 world of homemade myth-making, is far from straightforward. It incorporates numerous doubtful narratives, both onscreen and offscreen. Film genres such as the Western, or the film noir, routinely passed through a kind of four-stage metamorphosis, media scholars have suggested.1 In the first stage, conventions were established and isolated. In the second ‘classic’ stage these conventions reached equilibrium and were mutually understood by makers and audiences; the third stage saw formal and stylistic embellishments. Finally in a ‘baroque’ stage, the embellishments were accented to the point where they themselves became the substance of the work. Yet whether television series have followed the same logic is moot, particularly in an age where gathering in the living room to watch the latest hit show at the scheduled time has long been a thing of the past, usurped by viewers binge-streaming multiple episodes. Moreover, is it not the case that Artengo2000, much like David Lynch’s surreal crime drama Twin Peaks (1990–91), was already born congenitally baroque?

    While Artengo2000 is steeped in cinematic theory and the study of genre, more plausible still is that it comes at us not only through a filter of American television, and series that have experimented with the medium of the episodic drama in often darkly-comic and self-referential ways, such as Seinfeld (1989–1998), Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000–present), and Louie (2010–15). Artengo2000 has also filtered through many diverse influences related to what critic Jordi Costa has identified as ‘post-humor’ in Spain, including YouTube channels and self-made web series from the likes of Canódromo Abandonado, Pioneros Siglo XXI, and Venga Monjas.2 Yet why does a series ‘happen’ when it does? Was the fanatical following that built around the supernatural detective series The X-Files (1993–2002), for example, in some way a Bill-Clinton-era phenomenon, a result of psychohistorical factors at work in 1990s America? And why do we now see a return of Twin Peaks (2017–) just at the same time as we see Artengo2000 emerge in Barcelona? Appropriately, asking more questions that providing answers, we offer no more closure than a typical episode of either." 

    Latitudes 

    Mentors of the project. Text written for the exhibition and available in English, Catalan and Spanish.


    1 See Thomas Schatz, ‘Hollywood Genres: Formulas, Filmmaking, and The Studio System’, McGraw-Hill, 1981.

    2 See Miguel Iríbar, ‘El posthumor, la tortilla deconstruida de la risa’, http://www.jotdown.es/2014/12/el-posthumor-la-tortilla-deconstruida-de-la-risa/



    RELATED CONTENT:
    • Archive of Monthly Cover Stories
    • Cover Story – December 2017: "Tabet's Tapline trajectory", 4 December 2017
    • Cover Story – November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth", 1 November 2017
    • Cover Story – October 2017: Geologic Time at Stanley Glacier 11 October 2017
    • Cover Story – September 2017: Dark Disruption. David Mutiloa's 'Synthesis' 1 September 2017
    • Cover Story – August 2017: Walden 7; or, life in Sant Just Desvern 1 August 2017
    • Cover Story – July 2017: 4.543 billion 3 July 2017
    • Cover Story – June 2017: Month Light–Absent Forms 1 June 2017
    • Cover Story – May 2017: S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps 1 May 2017
    • Cover Story – April 2017: Banff Geologic Time 3 April 2017
    • Cover Story – March 2017: Time travel with Jordan Wolfson 1 March 2017
    • Cover Story February 2017: The Dutch Assembly, five years on 1 February 2017
    • Cover Story January 2017: How open are open calls? 4 January 2017

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    Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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