Thinking Through Skin
(2021)

Mimetic Aural Study
Materials: Four-colour print on blueback poster paper.
Dimensions: L 350 x W 1600cm.

Reflective Aural Study
Materials: Vegetable dye on cotton.
Dimensions: L 350 x W 1600cm.

Resuscitated Aural Study
Materials: Dye sub print on polyester.
Dimensions: L 300 x W 1600cm.

Thinking through Skin is an installation exploring the future of colour and image production.  It takes us into a profoundly responsive realm in which the traces of ancient life-forms share space with experiments in colour and resuscitated materials, all in order to rethink how we see, and resist representation.

Cephalopods perceive landscape through their skin. They chemically and emotionally respond in a way that allows them to become their context (becoming part of a rock, a coral, a cave, a colour, a texture). They have also survived as a species for hundreds of millions of years, making them infinitely more sustainable than any human technology. To contemplate them is therefore to contemplate deep pasts and futures. Condorelli asks: “Our everyday language knows that we think in a bodily way. We understand the primacy of seeing things in the flesh, do we not?”

Comprising a curtain, an awning and images inset into the gallery walls, Thinking through Skin uses an invented technology that mimics cephalopod ability to alter its skin displays. Taught by a combination of language and Condorelli’s Chromatophore colour studies, the images produced have been deployed across fabrics, walls and curtains, both animating the installation and providing structures to host other artworks.

As part of the work of animating these pieces -through movement, through light, through sound- the curtain is automated to open and close following a script and reveals different patterns depending on light intensity.

Included in the installation by Céline Condorelli are items from her personal collection, artworks by Anna Barham, Revital Cohen and Tuur van Balen, Isa Genzken, Agnieszka Kurant, Delphine Reist, Ben Rivers, Cauleen Smith and specimens from Nottingham City Museums. Hannah Catherine Jones was commissioned to make a soundtrack for the installation, which composes the rhythm of light, image and movement throughout the gallery.

All images for Thinking Through Skin prepared by Neurovague (James Langdon)

See a tour of the installation here.
See E-flux announcement here.

Thinking Through Skin was commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary, as part of Our Silver City, 2094.

Thinking Through Skin, exhibition view, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Thinking Through Skin, exhibition view, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Mimetic Aural Study, detail, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Resuscitated Aural Study, detail, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Thinking Through Skin, exhibition view, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Thinking Through Skin, exhibition view, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Thinking Through Skin, exhibition view, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Mimetic Aural Study, detail, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Resuscitated Aural Study, detail, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Reflective Aural Study, detail, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Resuscitated Aural Study, detail, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Thinking Through Skin, exhibition view, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
Resuscitated Aural Study, detail, Nottingham Contemporary. Photograph by Stuart Whipps.
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