Artist Talk - Medientheorie: Thomas Feuerstein
May 8, 2018, the Vienna-based artist Thomas Feuerstein will give an artist talk and present his latest art project: CLUBCANNIBAL:
Transubstantiation in the Age of Cellular Economy.
CLUBCANNIBAL takes us into the recesses of
a new materialism where the human body and its tissues are subjected to radical sustainability. The cannibalism of the future
will not derive from amorality or dark evil, but from the principle of autotroph resource utilisation. Autophagy is no longer
metonymic with the savage, the uncivilised, and the pre-modern; instead, it is the ethical imperative for a post-human world
and reflects the desire to attain a paradisical state of self-containment. CLUBCANNIBAL tells a story that oscillates between
science fiction and horror, utopia and dystopia. The project connects sculptures, drawings, and literature with biochemical
processes in which human liver cells are cultivated, fermented, and distilled into alcohol.
The liver cells reference
the ancient practice of divination by liver or hepatoscopy. The organ that was once deemed the seat of life becomes the exhibition’s
point of departure to read humanity’s future in the context of a cellular economy. Transubstantiation — the “real” conversion
of bread and wine into flesh and blood in Catholic liturgy — takes on a new meaning. CLUBCANNIBAL is based on the ongoing
project PROMETHEUS DELIVERED, first exhibited at HaL in Berlin (2017) and ERES Foundation Munich (2018).
Feuerstein studied art history and philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, and received his PhD in 1995. From 1992 to 1994
he was co-editor of the magazine Medien. Kunst. Passagen. In 1992 he founded the Office for Intermedia Communication Transfer
and the association medien.kunst.tirol. In 1992 and 1993 he was active in the research commissions of the Austrian Ministry
of Science on art in electronic space and art and architecture. Since 1997 he has had assignments as a lecturer as well as
a visiting professor at universities and art academies.
Thomas Feuerstein’s work bridges the interface of applied
and theoretical science and his projects combine complex bodies of knowledge from philosophy, art history, and literature
with biotechnology, economics, and politics to create artistic narratives. His projects examine the interplay between individuality
and sociality, research on “molecular sculptures”, formulating the aesthetics of entropy, and developing a “daimonology” of
cultural processes. His artworks comprise installations, processual sculptures, drawings, radio plays, bio art, and net art.
Some of the crucial aspects are the interplay between verbal and visual elements, the unearthing of latent connections between
fact and fiction, as well as the interaction between art and science. For his purposes, Feuerstein has come up with an artistic
method he calls “conceptual narration.”
The Guest Lecture Series of Professor Ingeborg Reichle’s lecture course
Speculative Biologies: New Directions in Art and Biotechnology is an informative and stimulating opportunity to hear from
distinguished artists about what’s going on in the emerging fields of bioart, biodesign, and speculative biology. The Guest
Lecture Series also helps our students to build their networks of contacts. Speculating about how “life” and “nature” could
be in the near future is an apposite cross-disciplinary approach to rethink collectively how we want our future to be and
what kind of aspirations will be possible or even probable under the auspices of turbo capitalism and mass consumerism.
Our guest lectures are open to all.