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Allora & Calzadilla

July 13, 2016 – October 9, 2016
Tues-Sat 13.00–21.00, Sun 11.00–19.00

Alt, Bomontiada, Tarihi Bomonti Bira Fabrikası, Birahane Sokak No: 1, Bomonti, Istanbul


This exhibition features two video installations by the duo Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla: ‘The Great Silence’ (2014) and ‘Apotomē’ (2013). These two works focus on the roots of signification and reflect upon the sensory universe that lies beyond human grasp. Exploring the boundaries between what ‘is’ and what ‘is not’ the two films consider how that threshold is made perceptible by the ‘one’ who chooses to construct it.

‘The Great Silence’, a three-channel video installation, focuses on the world’s largest radio telescope in Esperanza (Hope), Puerto Rico, which is also home to the last members of an endangered species of parrots, Amazona vittata. Allora & Calzadilla collaborated with science fiction author Ted Chiang on a subtitled script in the spirit of a fable that ponders the possibilities of communication as well as the irreducible gaps between living, nonliving, human, animal, technological and cosmic actors.

The single channel video ‘Apotomē’ features the singer Tim Storms, who is credited as having the lowest recorded voice in the world, intonating a subsonic version of a concert played in 1798 for two elephants brought to Paris as spoils of the Napoleonic Wars. Storms sings while walking up and down aisles of taxidermy specimens in the storage room at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris until he finally arrives at the elephants’ skeletal remains. With his voice reaching octaves so low that animals only as large as elephants can hear it, he recasts a historic attempt of interspecies communication through music, in a register that probes the human threshold between the audible and the sensible.


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