October - December, 2019
Gr_und / Berlin
Views of LN2 VAPOR duo-show @ Gr_und, Berlin. Tunnel: steel, tarpaulin and luminescent spray (1500 x 400 x 250 cm), sleeping bag, basin, mist maker and immersible led, polyurethane foam sculptures and pipes, drip device and amplified pads, speakers, arduino programming, insulated tanks, neons, leds and UV lights, fan, air pump, water and powerade, QR inkjet prints.
The coming tech brotopia: a meet-up’s worth of uploaded consciousnesses embedded into the furl and ripple of everything that is, for all the forever there’ll be. Brin and Bezos long-boarding gravitational waves; Ma and Zuckerberg spit-balling over a blackhole; Premji and Page tweaking some water planet compounds to see who gets there first.
Fucking kill me, you might think. They probably will, to get there. If not outright annihilation they’ll leave whatever’s left of the rest of us to rot – or not rot, depending on how much of us by then is chip and titanium rather than flesh and gristle.
Step into the tomb-tunnel of LN2 VAPOR, a duo-show by Benoit Ménard and Théo Pozoga, and you tip into a version of this palo-alter reality. The sculptures that form the polyurethane vertebrae of the show are iceless cores corkscrewed out of future (ransacked cryogenic facility), present (survivalist’s techno-bunker) and past (Lascaux caves on ketamine). Every timeline riddled with vanity and hubris, the privilege of our magnificent nows. LN2 is liquid nitrogen, the extreme cold making it the perfect cryogenic fluid. What we call “cryogenics” is actually “cryopreserving”. The future is pickled.
Friends from highschool, LN2 VAPOR is Benoit and Théo’s first collaboration, they’ve been sculpting and plotting for months. But as I watch, now, 10 days before the show, they are still compositing and editing, animating and deleting. Sometimes they talk – thick French accents; sometimes nothing but hours of gestures, power tool murmuration. I’m writing about a show that’s not yet finished, a future that might not be how I write it. Can you see acetone dissolving polystyrene? If not here then another dimension gets to smell that. This idea of collaboration, of kinship, of banding together to make what can be made from this planetary massacre – that’s the hope pitted through this show. The suggestion that maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t have to go this way.
Stand inside a blackhole and you’ll see the back of your own head, light looping in on itself. The universe is not a ball but a donut: set off that way and you’ll end up right back where you started. Liquid, common in Benoit’s work, trickles through articulate piping, the guts of the sculptures, tapping out onto contact mics that create loops and reactions in Théo’s soundtrack. No footstep is let off the hook. We are shitting plastic into our children’s lungs.
Remember this as you reach the center of the tomb and know what it feels like to slip down into a sleeping bag. To zip it almost all the way up. Remember the patterns of a dying, starlit forest projecting through the walls of your tent. Remember everything you can before it’s time for us all to make the final decision: go under; or vaporize. (Martin Jackson, 2019)