part of Organ Vida - International Photography Festival

September 9 - September 20, 2017

The French Pavillion, Zagreb Croatia

conversation between Luja Šimunović + Anouk Kruithof @ Vizkultura, Croatia, published 18-09-2017   
English PDF

Text by Lea Vene  
Documentation photos: Borko Vukosav

Dismembered synthetic bodies, smooth and sleek artificial hybrid forms unveil themsel­ves partially. Only casually protected with a soft adhering cover, they do not allow us to completely explore their structure. Initially barely familiar shapes actually reveal traces of human presence. Prostheses, walking sticks, crutches and bandages hint at objects made to relax, comfort, support or heal us. Our bodies reduced to medical objects as a material reference to our way of coping with malfunctioning and degradation.

Mutated anthropomorphic forms inhabit the fragments of seemingly natural, rocky structures that have been carelessly cut off from a much bigger natural origin, then further glazed, adding to its texture a smooth, shiny and colorful coating. A soft protective cover for dismembered body­-structures is materialized out of the ephemeral and seductive flow of images. Images of environmental disasters, found or bought online, are printed on latex, plastic and rubber anti-slip mats in order to unveil an underlying non­-human shape.

Those anthropogenic images of natural catastrophes are appropriated, dissolved and transformed into objects. Aerial views of oil spills, toxic waste dumps, various other immense environmental disasters symbolize contamination at large, the human effect on environment. Even though these images depict irreversible and non­ reasable damage, they are extremely aestheticized. 

In that sense, as T.J. Demos noted, those constructed images emphasize awesome visuality and support the technological apparatus of advanced capitalism that has created environmental problems in the first place. Further, he claims, they form an edited selection of visuality that reinforces the premises of the Anthropocene.

Anouk Kruithof positions her new work ‘Ego, Eco, Crescendo’ in a world seduced by alienated images that have lost their integrity. By appropriating the anthropo­centric visual language, she examines the human­ nature relationship as one entailing contamination, displacement, mutual alternation and, finally, normalization. Her alternative post anthropocentric view tackles human nonhuman relations percei­ved through resilient practices similarly described by Donna Haraway in her concept of Chthulucene: ‘The unfinished Chthulucene must collect up the trash of the Anthropo­cene, the exterminism of the Capitalocene, and chipping and shredding, and layering like a mad gardener, make a much hotter compost pile for still possible pasts, presents, and futures.’ 2 The untouched natural ideal is being severely tampered with so as to reveal an unpredictable and estranged vision of the human ­nature bond.

1 T.J. Demos, Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today, (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2017.) 37.

2 T.J. Demos, Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today, 88.