The Hellstrom Chronicle
Dora Budor, Anders Clausen, Tobias Madison and Kaspar Müller, Dennis Oppenheim, Mai-Thu Perret, Suzanne Treister, Susanne M. Winterling, Young Girl Reading Group
July 2 – August 6, 2016
The exhibition The Hellstrom Chronicle - a title borrowed from an US-American quasi-documentary - brings together artists engaging with concepts of nature and layered narrative formats, employing methods of science fiction, documentary, or film noir.
The Hellstrom Chronicle, released in 1971 and honored with an Academy Award, depicts the life of insects in then state-of-the-art-macro and slow motion shots. The most decisive feature of the film, however, is its narrator, a paranoid scientist leading the viewer through his dystopian vision of a world overtaken by insects. Over the course of the film, his role gets more and more unclear: is he there to add a little bit of excitement to the wildlife footage? Or is the laboriously filmed imagery of these little creatures merely the background for the nervous disintegration of the protagonist?
The exhibition focuses on two main issues of the film; mannered, exaggerated storytelling leaving the viewer in doubt about the content presented, and the way in which different understandings of “nature” provide foils for contrasting formulations. Every concept of nature is paired with an interpretation necessary for any relationship towards it, triggering projections and eventually turning into a mirror staring back at the viewer. This modus operandi has a long tradition, and the exhibition also includes literature from its history.