Climate Pandemics - Dark Euphoria at MAK - Museum of Applied Arts / Vienna

Climate Pandemics - Dark Euphoria
Kerstin von Gabain & Ivan Pérard

curated by Marlies Wirth

for Vienna Biennale for Change 2021: Planet Love. Climate Care in the Digital Age

28 May - 3 October 2021

MAK – Museum of Applied Arts
Stubenring 5
1010 Vienna

Photography: © / MAK 

Kerstin von Gabain, Ivan Pérard 

The exhibition Dark Euphoria takes science fiction literature (climate fiction) as a starting point for artistic reflection. It plays with the genre's ability to link environmental themes to the experience of living in another world as if we were a part of that world and thus to evoke more intense emotional reactions than simply reading information about the causes and effects of climate change. 

Two Vienna-based artists have been invited to develop new works for the exhibition. In her sculptural works, often molded in wax or gypsum, Kerstin von Gabain examines (human or animal) bones hinting at the use of fossil bone findings to sequence the aDNA (ancient DNA) of long-extinct species. As part of her artistic praxis, she also constructs miniature models of birdhouses or functional buildings and other objects of everyday use. Ivan Pérard creates filigree 3D print sculptures whose forms suggest fragments of mysterious, organic machines from a high-tech future. The artist is interested in the theory that molecular nanotechnology can replicate itself (Grey goo scenario) and in the process outweigh the biosphere, resulting in “ecophagy,” the annihilation of all life on earth. 

Dark Euphoria looks at our present from another time, suggesting a world in which social inequality, out-of-control technology, recurring pandemics, and the climate crisis have finally culminated in an apocalyptic event. Subtitled “Dark Euphoria,” the exhibition insinuating the “thrill” [angstlust] that fictional and mythological doomsday scenarios may arouse. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a climate-fiction short story.
Audio track for the short story Dark Euphoria read by Vincent Lyssewski