Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Sean Raspet at Various Small Fires


The cultural image of genetic mutation, a shared fear: three eyed fish, double headed calves, glowing cats, turtle ninjas, C.H.U.D.s. Or its potential, Golden Rice, AquAdvantage® Salmon, a cataclysm resistant earth.  Accurate or not, the point is a shared etherous cultural fear/potential, a readymade collective unconscious understanding, and these are artworks reaching in to press the button on this anxiety. They gesticulate a potential, a possibility that is aestheticized, juiced on techno-minimalism, to create a Rorschach test reflecting all the cultural baggage they can muster. They need not, nor shouldn't, produce any function of their possibility, because in good conceptual art fashion they neuter any aesthetic to be replaced with its potential. They are inkblots.
There are already artworks with GMOs, people paint with proteins modified for fluorescence, but they don't do thing we demand of contemporary art, clip the image and provide a space for projection.  (See too: Trevor Paglen) The potential monster in the closet is scarier than the monster that appears; an unfortunate fact for our cinematic universe is that most IRL apocalypse/advancement turns out looking pretty banal, but the fear/potential is pretty spectacular.