Umwelt Belt (US)
Computational cinema (live stream), prosthetic fossil record, and 100 objects essay
Michael Joaquin Grey (US)
Umwelt Belt is a flowing panorama of manmade objects traveling in deep space—a virtual asteroid belt made up of historic media forms. It is a live computational cinema installation featuring a collection of proto anthropomorphic objects (conceptual clay) that create a history stream from our cultural fossil record. Always changing like a river (panta rei), this work is intended to be read as a spatial essay. Computers, televisions, cameras, radios, telephones, satellites, and musical instruments—morphologies that have mediated our view of the world (from the Gutenberg press to the Sputnik satellite to a flash drive) tumble in a mobius strip in deep space. Umwelt Belt is a meditation on the machines humans have made to extend their awareness. The objects together reflect a larger prosthetic body acting almost as ‘stem cells’ to allow us to contemplate our technological becoming and recapitulate our cultural development. The work is a developing sanctuary to catalyze a new perspective on the cultural canon and reflect on our creations and consequences.
For the past thirty years, Michael Joaquin Grey has created a world of objects investigating the development of life, language, and form in complex and natural systems; and how animate and inanimate systems originate and recapitulate natural and cultural history. He has been the subject of solo gallery exhibitions at Petersburg Gallery; Lisson Gallery, London; Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York; Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Brooke Alexander, NYC; Sundance Film Festival: New Horizons; bitforms Gallery, NY; ZERO 1 Garage, Silicon Valley; and Carroll/Fletcher Gallery, London. Recently Grey has had solo museum exhibitions at MoMA PS1 New York curated by Klaus Biesenbach and the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Staatliche Museen (German National Museum) curated by Stepan Weppelmann. Grey is also the inventor of the award winning toy and pedagogical modeling system based on living and complex systems, the ZOOB Play System.