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'Ekstasia & Six Last Things' by Louis Morlæ at Royal Academy of Arts, London

This exhibition explores an end-of-world scenario, a speculative future where technology moves towards a convergent moment, seeking transcendance on the fringes of its digital universe. The narrative of the animation is driven by a variety of objects and settings, as the camera is drawn from cosmic expanses to everyday spaces, tracing a journey of entropy from global communication to portable luxury objects. Presented on a unique pill-shaped screen the large projection turns the space into a vehicle, allowing the audience to view the story unfolding as if they were driving towards it.
In addition to the animation, the exhibition features five sculptural works. Each piece is a tactile response to the animated narrative, representing objects that could arise in a world following the events depicted in the video. These sculptures draw from both organic and engineered forms, offering an interplay between the physical and digital worlds and their meeting place in the gallery.
The space is dimly lit, bathed only in the shifting glow of the animation, triggered lights, and occasional holographic bursts. This eeriness is amplified by wheat-pasted newspaper-clad windows, with fragments of the same papers scattered on the floor, adding a sense of unfinished haste to the setting. Yet, amidst the feeling of dystopia, the space is punctuated by moments of humour, colour, and light.
In this exhibition, Morlæ explores the intersections of spirituality and technology, drawing on the ancient roots of mysticism in empirical science to probe into the realm of high technology. This process uncovers themes of the technological singularity and sentient awakening, framing the exhibition as an environment in which objects become self proliferating, forming their own ecosystems and alluding to an alternate, living world that exists beyond the frame of the show.
This exhibition reflects a world in flux, where technology advances at such a pace that even those engaging with the cutting edge can’t stay in front of it. Embracing this temporal quality, the exhibition gives a snapshot of our current moment, inviting the viewer to be transported to a universe that exists on the horizon of possibility.

6.6.23 — 26.6.23

Photo by Andy Keate, Peter Otto

Royal Academy of Arts

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