Miriam J. Carranza
Cosmic Dissociations (Express)
27.04. — 09.05.2018
eingeladen von Leon Hösl & Michael Wonnerth-Magnusson
als Teil des unabhängigen Ausstellungsprogramms Pappenheimgasse 37

Eröffnung: 27. April 2018, 19h
Ausstellungsdauer: 28. April - 09. Mai 2018

Mit einem Text von Lena Katharina Reuter.


Öffnungszeiten nach Vereinbarung
leonhoesl[at]gmail.com / michael.wonnerth.magnusson[at]gmail.com

17k dislikes: I think they are jealous of dolphins
Digitised data enables carrier independent data transformation and enduring structural fluidity even
after publication. This not only means that digital content is liquified, but above all, it points to the
obsolescence of the solidity she had learned and understood as a priori assumptions of forms and
knowledge. In actuality, these forms are malleable shapes whose movements and lines of sight can
be traced. This implies a fundamental ontological change that is taking place in the digital and the
real. Everything is fluid. Her environment slips out of her hands and drips like viscous oil from her
fingertips. Her private context, her emotions, objects, and words melt and become her everyday
floating base.
The last days of RnB singer Aaliyah Haughton’s life are spent on a boat. A white catamaran is sailing
across the deep blue sea near the Bahamas, on deck are a dozen dancing women wearing white
clothes. “Rock The Boat” produced in 2001 is her last music video. While filming she works on a
deserted beach, dances repeatedly on the boat, and dives into dark waters disguised as a mysterious
mermaid. One day later, Aaliyah and the crew die in a plane crash. On that very same day, a major
German newspaper announced: “DVD usage is on the rise!”
In the song, Aaliyah’s female narrator gives her lover instructions – accompanied by hypnotic, wave
like rhythms – on how she wants to be sexually satisfied. She dives, loses herself while drowning, and
finds support again on her boat. In the supposed contradiction between emotion and tactical sex,
authenticity and reality, water becomes the metaphor of her sexuality. During this process, the
protagonist retains control by creating a safe place in the Atlantic Ocean: a catamaran. This
metaphor behaves like the term circlusion does to its antonym penetration. Circlusion allows a
different perspective on sex and the understanding of it. It does not refer to body parts, instead to
how they are interpreted. It permits a concentrated questioning of power positions and relationships
within sexual structures: passive/active and bottom/top are bombs filled to the brim with liquid,
ready to burst.
The swimming trainer Terry Laughlin developed a teaching method for crawl swimming, which he
baptised “Total Immersion.” The method is based on a low-energy calm swimming style, which
results in her swimming posture becoming balance through efficient movements and concentration.
She is able to move vastly and consistently through the water with minimal effort. The immersive
potential of the inner life of her feelings equals a jump into the water just the same. This is also akin
to how she experiences her sexuality and her sexual encounters. Every feeling predefines new
competition situations and her swimming movements affect the structure of water similarly to
aggregate changes. What is remarkable about states of aggregation is that they change through
movement. No matter which state they are in, the particles move continuously. When the
movement leads to fluctuations in forces of gravity and kinetic energies, the substance changes from
one state to another. Water morphs from ice to liquid and back again, or liquid moves so fast that it
dissolves into air. Ultimately, the element of water is identical in all phases. According to the
psychological emergence theory, every perception can be separated into elementary sensations,
however subjective perception is not merely the sum of these sensations. Sensations merge
together creating new connections with specific features, which in turn forms perception. For
example, water is liquid, although no atom has this property. Similarly, her emotions behave in
countless forms of existence and states of aggregation; her fears and inner anxiety do not share the
same origin, yet they solidify together into kilometers of frozen surfaces.
Aaliyah lives and works in a SeaWorld facility in Orlando and is one of many well known, replaceable
show dolphins. The present understanding of entertainment and leisure is characterized by a
consumerism that claims it is appreciating the natural behaviour of living creatures when in fact it
abuses people and animals alike under the label of amusing biopower. Here the dolphin smile is one
of many deceptions of nature. The anatomy of their faces simulates a constant smile, a false
happiness which benefits marketing. This smile serves as the basis for the steady growth of a
multi-billion dollar captivity industry. Trapped in a tank made of glass, in a completely reduced and
externally regulated environment, the liquid water becomes the guarantor of unstoppable stress for
these intelligent mammals possessing self-awareness. Constant pressure, debilitating boredom, and
the fact of having no choice leads to self-harm and suicide. In online comments, disappointed visitors
complain that the “New Dolphin Show” is an average show experience and that in the previous
season their consumer hearts were beating much higher.
During a presentation of the beta version of Windows 98 software, the Blue Screen of Death has its
most infamous appearance. On April 20th, 1998, while Bill Gates presents the new operating
program at COMDEX, the demo computer crashes with a blue screen. “That must be why we’re not
shipping Windows 98 yet.”
Windows Operating Systems come to a halt when critical system errors occur, becoming completely
submerged in flashy chroma-key-blue. The blue screen replaces the user interface, error information
is communicated to her, some of her data is lost. The blue light becomes the reservoir for her loss of
control. What the blue screen is to her, the water tank is to Aaliyah. Yet the destructive power of the
Blue Screen cannot negate its constructive capabilities. Dense chroma-key-blue is often used as a
productive blank space over which virtual environments can be imagined. It is the productive
potential of this blue that creates immersive worlds, places she can only find in digital geography. In
“Hamlet on the Holodeck,” Janet H. Murray compares diving into immersive worlds with a swimming
pool experience: “The experience of being transported to an elaborately simulated place is
pleasurable in itself, regardless of the fantasy content. We refer to this experience as immersion.
Immersion is a metaphorical term derived from the physical experience of being submerged in
water.” In between destruction and construction, the ambiguity of the blue colour mirrors the whole
spectrum of handling liquidity, and does not only refer to digital worlds. In the real world, this
productive power is more subtle and manifests itself in relationships and gestures rather than in
physical spaces. The construction of simulated worlds is an existential practice fueled by the
unfulfilled desire for complete digital immersion that carries embryonic ideals of infinitely positive
potential. The bridge between the two melting poles of destruction and construction is the
immersive potential of subjective emotions and a collective World Wide Web, which produces
varying beta-versions of Aaliyah.

Text by Lena Katharina Reuter
Translation by Anna Siebold
Edited by Mika Hayashi Ebbesen

previous exhibition
next exhibition