Equipment-space (2021)


Lucas Glenn and Mat Glenn
Installation, dimensions vary.


The following essay was written by artist and educator, Holly Ward, and was originally printed in the exhibition catalog published by Lake Country Art Gallery.

As with all of todays' living creatures, Mat Glenn and Lucas Glenn’s lived experiences simultaneously straddle the seemingly incompatible spheres of the physical and the virtual, the natural and technological, the ‘real’ and the simulated.


As contemporary subjects, our corporeal existence anachronistically bounds us to our physical environments, however mediated this experience and this environment might be. Performing wage-labour, crossing geographical terrain via combustion engines, consuming genetically modified plants and animals; daily interactions and activities are mediated by human systems that have completely transformed direct engagements with the physical, or ‘real’ world. And yet we rely on our bodies and on these natural systems entirely. While technocrats like Elon Musk may want us to believe otherwise, there is no viable life on Mars. We have only the real world.

But what is the ‘real’ world? When the distinctions between innate and artificial intelligence are increasingly difficult to discern, when ecosystems self-regulate in response to human technologies, when the rate of change for both ‘natural’ and virtual systems seems to be increasingly immeasurable, any attempt to distinguish between the ‘authentic’ and the constructed, the ‘natural’ and the unnatural, merely reflects an arcane or nostalgic world-view. The simultaneity of mass extinctions and Quantum computing seems to indicate that what exists is a hybrid, increasingly complex system currently in a state of accelerated change. Just as certain physical phenomena cannot be ascertained by human consciousness, these rates of systemic change have seemingly accelerated beyond that to which Human cultures can (or are willing to) adapt. In other words, today’s ‘real world’ is, in fact, a ‘wicked problem’1.

In Equipment-space, Mat Glenn and Lucas Glenn’s creative outputs recognize this wicked problem through a series of polymorphous strategies that articulate their perceived location in this contemporary context. Sculptural assemblages merging the human and non-human, animal and vegetable, digital and analogue, explore themes central to their work such as precarious labor, ecosystems, technological interfaces and hybridity.

Equipment-space locates our (both human and non-human) collective immersion in this hyperspace between the real and the virtual. Sculptural assemblages featuring humanoid figures, fossil-fuel powered vehicles, live plants and computer-generated fantasy worlds address the circular logics of the neoliberal technosphere (wherein ‘limitless growth’ of resource extraction and alienated labor confront the material limits of bodies and environments). Equipment Space asks us to consider the physical, material and conceptual boundaries of our worlds, the limits of our experiences, and the possibilities of our collective future.



Notes:
1The term wicked problem refers to:
…a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. It refers to an idea or problem that cannot be fixed, where there is no single solution to the problem; and "wicked" denotes resistance to resolution, rather than evil. Another definition is "a problem whose social complexity means that it has no determinable stopping point". Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_problem, last accessed Mar 7, 2021