No Sound of Water

Fundación Arte Abierto, Mexico City

12 November 2021 – 19 May 2022

For No Sound of Water, Troika has transformed art foundation Arte Arbierto into an immersive,
constantly changing environment that introduces complex questions around shifting perspectives,
different forms of cognition, emerging biological and machine intelligence.

The exhibition forms part of Troika’s ongoing project and exhibition cycle Untertage. Meaning
‘below the earth’, or literally, ‘under the day’, Untertage takes shape as an elaborate ecosystemic fiction: its protagonist, salt, takes centre stage as an agent of cultural evolution, the critical component for the tools without which human civilisation could not have developed as we know it.

Steeped in dysphoric anxiety about a not-too-distant future in which our planet has become
unliveable, this paranoid alternate reading casts its protagonist into the role of a genocidal and ecocidal mastermind, the creator of a new geological epoch of anorganic intelligence and synthetic biology once all organic life has ceased to exist. After having coerced humanity into mining and refining it, developing flint into arrows and quartz into microprocessors, salt brings about a new age of silicate-based ‘life’.

Visitors find themselves in a charged space between two works; one is materially present to the point of being uncontainable, the other is confined to the realm of digital unreality. Both process or are processed by silicates — be it in the form of table salt or silicon chips.

No Sound of Water (2021) is a constant torrent of salt that relentlessly conveys large quantities of table salt into the upper level of its framework and then rains a steady stream back down.

Terminal Beach (2020), a 4 min long computer animation, shows a forlorn and depleted
landscape with a single tree – the last tree on Earth. A robotic arm covered in long, black, swaying fur is rhythmically applying an axe to the trunk of the tree to the sounds of space weather recordings that were captured as radio waves by the British Antarctic Survey at its Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The acoustic backdrop of the exhibition, the atmosphere of the gallery and the changing light continuously affects the conditions of the exhibition’s environment allowing for an experience that is in constant flux.

Troika are working through and making accessible ways of seeing and sensing that may represent actual alterity: if our world is ending, how do we cross over and become alien? How do we invite the shock and the pleasure of alterity in view of our own annihilation?

Eva Wilson