Nikolaus Gansterer’s expansive practice of mapping, performative visualisation and cartographic representations explores the accumulation of interrelated and often ephemeral phenomena and processes that constitute the specific atmosphere of a place. Interested in perception at a body-mind level, Gansterer charts what he calls a ‘four-dimensional’ map, taking into consideration three-dimensional space and adding the fourth dimension of time, which he plots through changes of matter across durational intervals.
In Sympoiesis Observatory (2019), located in Kalba Ice Factory, the artist creates an atmospheric installation of large-scale mobile sculptures, diagrammatic floor drawings and a sound installation of processed field recordings—all elements of a sympoietic ecology*. A central piece of this ‘living system’ are two heliostats, mirrored devices that reflects a stable shaft of sunlight at a set target, which turns along with the daily rotation of the earth. Gansterer uses heliostats in this installation to redirect sunlight coming from the roof so that it transforms the indoor space into a chamber of light and shadow.
The artist inaugurates the expanded cinema experience of his installation with a performative activation that resonates with its many micro-movements and changes registered through light, wind, temperature, material, insects and birds. In addition, a collection of the artist’s site-specific graphic and sonic recordings of the ice factory’s atmosphere are on view along with an essay film made in collaboration with Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and Martin Siewert.
* Sympoietic (collectively-producing) systems do not have self-defined spatial or temporal boundaries. Information and control are distributed among components. The systems are evolutionary and have the potential for surprising change. Since they cannot be identified by boundaries, sympoietic systems must be identified by the self-organising factors involved in their generation. (M. Beth L. Dempster, A self-organizing systems perspective on planning for sustainability, thesis, University of Waterloo, Canada, 1998.)
Synopsis of the film essay "Reflecting Relational Traces: Desert Ice Factory, 2019"
Cinema made of sun, wind, heat and other non-human agencies, found on the site of a ruined desert ice factory in Sharjah. Through the watery lens of the ocean the film meditates upon the traces of relations between materials and forces at play in a specific space, observed and recorded in abstract microscopic detail. Capturing the atmosphere of the place in extreme close up, amplified by field recordings turned into a composition by Martin Siewert, with a voiceover by Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll.
Sympoiesis Observatory, 2019 is a site specific installation with found materials, mirrors, bamboo, wood, wire, wild bee hives and a soundinstallation with Martin Siewert and a video essay in collaboration with Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll with music by Martin Siewert and Michael Thieke.
Curated by Claire Tancons, part of the Biennial platform "Look for me all around you"
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation at the 14th Sharjah Art Biennial, 2019
Special thanks to Daniel Bemberger for assistance and the SAF technicians and SAF team.
Support by Phileas Art Foundation and BKA - Arts Council Austria
- “Sharjah Biennial 14 is raising the emirate’s cultural cachet”, Tom Seymour, in: Wallpaper Art, 21.03.2019
- "The Downward Spiral: Sharjah", Dean Kissick, in: Spike Magazine, 13.3.2019
- "Leaving the echo chamber, Looking back at the 14th edition of the Sharjah Biennial", Anna Seaman, in: Hadara Magazine, 06-12/2019