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Opening Hinterland, Part 1: The eyes of the lighthouse

  • Corner College 1 Kochstrasse Zürich, ZH, 8004 Switzerland (map)

Hinterland, Part 1
The eyes of the lighthouse

A TETI Group exhibition in two parts for Corner College

Curated by Gabriel Gee & Anne-Laure Franchette

Saturday, 5 – Saturday, 26 May 2018 (Part 1: The eyes of the lighthouse)

Opening Hours: Wed/Thu/Fri 16:00h-19:00h & Sat 14:00h-19:00h

With works and interventions by Cliona Harmey, Monica Ursina Jäger, Salvatore Vitale, & VOLUMES library

Opening: Saturday 5 May 18:00h

Discussion Friday 11 May, 18h30: Seen Unseen, Salvatore Vitale in conversation with Nadine Wietlisbach

Research encounter 25-26-27 May: Maritime Poetics: from Coast to Hinterland, limited seats, booking necessary, contact

Finissage: Saturday 26 May 18:00h artists talk Light and land with Cliona Harmey & Monica Ursina Jäger

Curatorial text

At the turn of the 1960s-70s, a drastic shift in the representations of nature paralleled an urban revolution that signalled an intensification of global networks. The increasing interpenetration of the natural and the human realms, as well as the increasing realisation of such an interpenetration, has been a characteristic of the rise of a ‘planetary age’. On continental coasts, where the sea meets the land, ports manage the transfer of goods and the balance of offer and demand with heightened efficiency. Such maritime commerce stands as the historical engineering of our global world, accelerated by the adoption of standardised containers in the 1960s. Ships ride anonymously over the sea, the lifting sea, their bellies filled with plastic wrapped merchandise. We appear to see more afar than we used to, through digital devices and virtual fluxes, while crowds fly to distant lands that air technology has made suddenly accessible. And yet, much remains unseen in the eyes of the lighthouse, which blips to bring the sailors safely home – and their goods for the improvement of lighthouse technology in the 19th century was directly connected to mercantile interests – thereby necessarily offering dark passages and suggesting the persistence of blind spots below our promethean visions. Through the lighthouse, we can explore and question the modes of representation of our socio-natures: what is it that we see, that we can see, that we are willing to see and not able or unwilling to look at, in a contemporary age where silvery and golden profusions might well lead to blackened collapses.

If the eyes of the lighthouse can guide us towards an enquiry into our perceptions of 21st century planetary conditions, they might then also shed light on the obscurity which surrounds the circulation of earthly materials, that fuel the light of our cities and the heat of our ever more complex technologies. It is to the blood of the land that we turn the spotlight, to gaze beneath the metal of the discreet gas and oil pipelines, to the construction of roads and canals, the baskets of railways and trucks roaming planes and mountains. We foresee the advanced state of Narcissus, peering no longer to himself in the pool of water, but inward in the woods behind him. And just like the industrial city of Tony Garnier used anthropomorphic features to organise its exemplary functioning, we look at the metabolism of the hinterland to query its desires and its health. For blood’s a rover, to use James Ellroy’s words, and beside the vitality of hybrid wild cities, loom darks shadows whose intentions or rather, projections, must be deciphered to read the oracles of the present …

Text: Gabriel Gee

Image credit: Cliona Harmey, Interior of Poolbeg lighthouse, Dublin, 2017

This exhibition on our website:

Later Event: May 6
Body As a Surface