The exhibition Rhizomatic Spell focuses on the notion of xeno-magic which is not produced by a human, but an algorithm. Digital technologies are tools for extending and improving the ability of the human brain. We used to think that they had “dis-enchanted” our daily life, but on the other hand, because of them, the world has become even more symbolic than before. By keeping the title in Korean, 리좀적 주문, I am turning towards the East and further to Asia, where in medieval times humanity situated the origin of the world and where the center of the globalized world is now. Asian cultures today have inherited diverse and mysterious cosmologies, symbolism and traditions which are alive even today. At the same time, these countries are leaders in technology development.
In 2013, Timothy Morton published the book Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality where he discussed a new materialism and speculative thinking from a non-human perspective (an object-oriented ontology /OOO/). Morton argued that causality is not mechanical nor linear, but rather a “secretive affair” – an open secret. Realist Magic, respectively a causality, is purely aesthetic. The magic is in our perception, how things interact between themselves and humans – and how machines behave towards humans and among themselves. Technology produced magic is therefore xeno-magic(the prefix “xeno” comes from Greek, meaning alien or strange, other than human) which we experience in our everyday life. Magic, or Greek mageia, is creating a cause from a distance (or action at a distance) – where the causality is not linear as Morton says but, in my opinion, rhizomatic. Its agent of globalization is the internet and cloud which can be labeled as seno-magic. We experience xeno-magic from the moment we open our eyes in the morning thanks to the alarm set up in our iPhone (which already knows when to wake us, because the algorithm has observed us), when withdrawing from an ATM machine, gazing at any advertisement delivered in front of our eyes or heading to the date we have because of the Tinder app. All of it is a spell cast by algorithms on our human and deeply profane life. Xeno-magic straightens and empowers our daily rituals to the point that is not clear if we are its initiators – or puppets on a stage.
The core of the exhibition is the short movie Information Skies (2016) by the Dutch collective Metahaven followed by Suzanne Treister’s works from the project Hexen 2.0 (2009-11), a series of tarot cards depicted in a capitalist and technocratic mirror. The exhibition will introduce the meditative Ligature Drawings (2020) by Tauba Auerbach who poses the question whether the artist is an industrial machine of its own kind. The New York based artist of Iranian origin, Morehshin Allahyari, will present her 3D modeling of mythologies from the project She Who Sees the Unknown (2016-2018) and Boris Ondreička in his Chant of Forest (2019-2020) opens the wilderness of the woods through the aesthetics of black metal.