Catalogue "The Gates of the Sun and the Land of Dreams", 2017

THE POTENTIAL OF COGNITION IN THE MATTER

ALJOSCHA BETWEEN THE POLES OF ARTISTIC RESEARCH AND TRANSHUMANISM


Paradoxical bio-futuristic objects seem to vegetate in the historic rooms of the Palace, every object claims its space and visually connects itself to the surrounding architecture. Vivid and playful, full of glorified sensuality and merriness, the sculptural installation in the Domed Hall of Benrath Palace evokes the impression of a flowing movement. Its complex morphology which unites concave and convex elements, takes up the dynamic baroque architectural language of the Palace. A creative-performative potential dwells in the appearance of these objects which, due to their presentation, evokes an intensive aesthetic experience in these late baroque palace rooms.
In the course of years, Aljoscha has been experimenting with the matter and in doing so he has developed a number of creative possibilities in complex forms. Working with colours, Aljoscha found his own creative technique in the artistic process from filigree drawings to painting, a technique which manifests the basic understanding required for his concept. In an interview he remembers the early days of bioism when he remarked that “something always grew on [his] colour palette.”1 Thus, these colour formations created by coincidence developed from the matter in the production process: “Working, dipping, applying and mixing the colours with my brush, I created most interesting three-dimensional structures on my palette. That is how I had the idea of transferring this phenomenon to sculpturing.”2
Not only did Aljoscha’s creative idea of bioisms, objects as models of the future, spring from that discovery, but also a repertoire of experimental practices of artistic research established itself that tries to analyze materiality from the angle of its effective power.
Artistic research expresses itself in numerous practices and artistic gestures that refer to the process of production, as artistic research is a performative achievement.3 Looking at the process of production, meaning while Aljoscha is creating his objects, one is bound to nd that experiments matter on a large scale. Experiments are regarded as the hub of material and conceptual work that connects artistic and scientific practices.4
Driven by his creative curiosity, the artist lets himself in for the experiment for every future piece of work: with a fine brush he transforms small amounts of acrylic colour into filigree sculptures. This gesture might be reminiscent of growing crystals. What matters is his completely intuitive and researching procedure which turns out to be explorative experimenting and the designing of an idea without a definite goal.5
In the process of creation, his objects are given a shape that is constructed from the infinite range of possibilities the matter itself is predestined for – thus the sculpture appears in the material. Using this technique, Aljoscha manages to compose a high degree of detail and ultimately a futuristic design.6 Despite a huge number of associations that are triggered by his objects, no concrete earthen patterns can be found. It is not about creating new interpretations of an existing nature, but about creating new aesthetic concepts, even identities. In this process, the experiments present themselves as an innovative and unique act of invention that cannot be reproduced and whose potential ranges up to the installation of new sectors e.g. experimental music.7
In that sense, Aljoscha coined the term bioism as an autonomous direction with the discourse of BioArt which is connected with the altered concept of physicality with regard to the distinctive activities of the matter: the artist hopes that one day his objects will be alive and autonomous.8
Recently, a kind of view has established itself in the philosophical discourse of natural sciences and the humanities that puts its focus on the distinctive activities of the matter. Additionally, a Leibniz-age is predicted that works as a materialized informatization according to the motto of “resilience in the matter”.9 Since the omission of the man-world-conflict, that used to position the spiritualizing man in opposition to mere physical nature for a long time, the common difference of man and nature has begun to totter. Since we have moved away from anthropocentrism, a subdivision of ethics which puts man alone in the centre of the world due to cognitive capacities, our paradigms of thinking are beginning to change.10
For centuries the cultural idea of matter was coined by a classical paradigm of design: human intelligence alone controls the material and thus reduces it to a passive role and practically makes it the recipient of its idea.11 Artists and engineers regarded it as a mere raw material and a feature of things for further processing. With the rise of synthetic biology and other life sciences and the technological developments in the fields of physics and computer sciences, the concept of the body changes, as the focus moves to the action potential of matter.12 Now an active and performative matter as an activity that is not static but that carries information in itself is made mention of; these codes, genes etc., have a direct impact on the shape of the respective matter and at the
same time react to its environment. Wolfgang Welsch explains: “Every smartphone user today [...] knows that inorganic materials carry intelligent potential within and it’s not smart to insist on the exclusiveness of human intelligence, but to combine it with other intelligent potentials.”13
Latest revelations in the area of life sciences influence the range of artistic actions massively in the sense of transhumanism. While biology describes and watches, synthetic biology works on the design of new life forms. BioArt, which is heavily influenced by methods of natural sciences, is revolutionary with regard to the tasks it challenges itself with: Create a new self-awareness and relation to the world with non-human organisms as well as new identities. It’s not about the depiction of an issue but about becoming reality, about the realization of the innovative.14
Aljoscha’s objects as models of future life forms refer to these discourses exactly. From the microscopic level to a man-nature-culture, he sees his objects in a permanent interaction with the world via ultra-networking. The physicist Karen Barad shares his view: „Every single body, not only the human body, materializes and becomes relevant through the step-by-step intra-activity of the world – its performativity.”15 Aljoscha crosses the line of materiality, with his design he exaggerates any humanoid design vocabulary as well as any natural and social dichotomy. Intertwining interdisciplinary competences in his artistic work and realizing performative kind of knowledge including matter in his objects, Aljoscha eventually crosses the line of the aesthetic.


1 Vgl. Schmidt-Junker 2008, S. 137f.

2 Ebd.

3 Badura 2015, S.68.

4 Ebd., S. 135.

5 Ebd., S.106.

6 Borowski 2008.

7 Hierzu Welsch 2016. S. 45 sowie Badura 2015, S. 135f.

8 Schmidt-Junker 2008, S. 135.

9 Wolfgang Schäffner: Immaterialität der Materialien, in: +Ultra. Gestaltung schafft Wissen 2016, S. 27.

10 Welsch, 2016. S. 7-9.

11 Wolfgang Schäffner: Immaterialität der Materialien, in: +Ultra. Gestaltung schafft Wissen 2016, S. 27.

12 Hauser 2014, S.173.

13 Welsch 2016, S. 44.

14 Hauser 2014, S.175f.

15 Barad 2012, S. 42f.

Anna Pomyalova