The Initiate (You) & The Mystics (Them)

3 piece organic intermedia installation // 1st part: 2 spherical terrariums inhabited by two ants colonies with 2 projections on the spheres and the floor; 2nd part: 1 automatic slide-projection with recorded sounds from a sound performance; 3rd part: 1 film projection  // 2013

The Quartier am Hafen Poll in Cologne presented from Sept. 28th until Oct. 18th 2013, within its annual exhibition-programme, an interdisciplinary installation by Gonzalo H. Rodríguez und Kuai Shen, curated by Anne Mager.

The starting point of the installation “The Initiate (You) & The Mystics (Them)” are two of the most complex and, from a Darwinian point of view, successful social models in the animal world: ants and human beings. The social structure of ants has been an object of interest and fascination throughout the history of humankind, whether as a model of social harmony and collectivity, in a positive sense, or as the total lost of individuality, in a negative sense. Periodically, the human individual has been trying to understand the function of social life through utopian dreams (or nightmares) of collectivity, projecting them into complex animal societies, above all ants. This recurrent association is taken by Rodríguez and Kuai Shen to be reformulated as a ritual event, which looks for the return to nature: the transformation from human to animal. With this in mind the artists played with different elements of biological research, anthropology and ethnographic film in a three piece “The Initiate (You) & The Mystics (Them)” where living ants, projections, and sounds mix up in a relational scenery.

This project was kindly supported by the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Cultural Affairs Office of Cologne .