In my practice as an artist, I constantly return to the dark agency of cosmic and (micro)biological matter. I explore how it may transform, “infect” or enter into symbiotic relationships, that are linguistic, visual, and trans-material in the spirit of Karen Barad. The aim of my work is to offer an outline of what I refer to as a dark enlightenment, by using the ontological and epistemological discourses that humans are entangled in. This text is a manuscript for a performance lecture about bats, viruses, and dark matter, illuminated by a Corona inside Plato’s cave. Similar to and in contrast with the microscopic size of the virus, the pandemic is not here understood as the ultimate disaster, but rather as a footnote in a much vaster narrative that involves a manifold of associated phenomena, related to Timothy Morton’s hyperobject. From the view point of speculative realism, object-oriented ontology, and hauntology, the virus may be capable of hiding future consequences that dwell in our darkened contemporary world. In short, the manuscript may be understood as a contribution to the dark microhistory of an infection. The current version of my work was adapted for online publication, with visual elements of composition.
Timo Menke is an interdisciplinary artist, director, and writer. He lives and works in Stockholm. His practice is driven by an interest for dark objects, processes and methodologies to cultivate a “dark holism” – a new cosmopolitics of the dark encompassing the paradoxical complexity of (w)holeness. Menke is currently working on the long-term project "Making the World (W)hole Again" reflecting our eco-oedipal dilemma – to chase the enemy we ourselves are in order to save the world. Menke graduated from Konstfack in 1999 where he was also an Assistant Professor in the Art Department between 2004-2014.
Keywords: darkness, dark matter, pandemic, materiality, New Materialism, OOO, phenomenology, Speculative Realism, Agential realism
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