Schering Stiftung Project Space | Kunstmuseum Thun
2015 | 2017
Created in collaboration with musician Sergio Krakowski, Smoking Mirror
explores a space left open by scientific research into altered states of
consciousness. It has been known for some time that specific frequencies,
derived from measuring electrical potentials across the whole brain, are
linked to varying states of consciousness, such as attentive and dreamy
states. Although occurring naturally, such states can be induced through
external techniques like meditation or hypnosis. The artists make their
contribution into induced heightened states by mixing synchronous
light and sound stimuli with reflective objects, inspired by the English
mathematician, astronomer, astrologist and mystic John Dee (1527–1608)
and his collection of magic objects and optical devices. Smoking Mirror is
their interpretation of altering consciousness through stimuli designed to
push us into our own unexplored space
The Speed of Light
Kunsthalle Winterthur | Galleri SPECTA
2013 | 2015
Composed by three telegraph keys connected by steel cables, several metronome pendulums and antique monocles, “The speed of light” presents a poetic reconstruction of an apparatus designed to measure the speed of light, using an early telegraph system. It promotes a reflection about the materials and concepts involved in the transmission of information and the obsession with measuring.
Galeria Anita Schwartz | MOT International
2010 | 2014
The Mechanical Unconscious
The exhibition space resembles that of an empty and abandoned albeit fully functioning laboratory. The works are mechanisms; at first sight, they are utterly anachronistic. The scene possesses a dreamlike quality. But what type of experiment is there in unceasing execution if the mechanisms appear to have taken on a crazed, disordered life of their own as redress for their utilitarian obsolescence, disobliged from their corresponding function the irrational revenge of the machines? How could we have kept up our relationships to these strange things for so long? This thing that, up until a while ago, had been a telephone what is it now? A curious object, possibly, but no more. In Chaplin's Modern Times, man struggled with enormous mechanical machines. Nowadays he does not even do that. The thing that threatened Charlie has hidden itself. It has vanished from sight to become possibly even more threatening. So this exhibition suggests the drawing of a parabola: the sonorous evocation of mechanical life through contemporary technology. The digital signs, the synthesized voices and the electronic noises that ring incessantly and madly mimic the paraphernalia of sound that surrounds us, like a continuous, insistent and fruitless prayer to the mechanical unconscious. The litany of sounds would awaken those mechanisms, bring them back from their sleep, restore them to existence and remind us of alienation, yet these noises also happen to be the infernal din of that which we call progress, which gives life while simultaneously annihilating it.
text by Paulo Venancio Filho
Created by visual artist Otavio Schipper and musician Sergio Krakowski, the installation consists of a dialogue between old-fashioned telegraph machines, synthetic voices and telephone sounds. Recorded with the assistance of software for the visually impaired, the voices read scientific articles, academic theses, codes in abstract languages and long lists of numbers in several languages. The telegraph machines and an old incandescent light bulb are activated by the voice rhythms according to the sound level in the room.
Otavio Schipper’s installation for the exhibition space
of a single object: an antique wooden elevator cabin suspended from the
ceiling. Installed as an open chamber, and hanging high in the space
as if caught in midmotion, the object arouses associations with the old
Paternoster cyclic elevator system — characterized by its slow, continuous
looping movement, similar to the counting of rosary beads. The elevator
is a popular cultural trope, heavily charged with a myriad of associations:
ascendance and transcendence, as a “vertical corridor of death”, as a
connecting link between different realms (real and illusory, the conscious
and the subconscious), as a reference to the age of modernity and the urge
to expand vertically, exemplified by the futuristic concept of the “space
Presented here as “unhinged” and displaced, the elevator cabin in die
raum suggests a predominantly subjective experience of time and space.
Using one object to speak about others, the installation cites the “thought
experiment” or Gedankenexperiment in theoretical physics, which posits
hypothetical scenarios that allow for qualified assertions regarding the
nature of time and space.
Through the presentation of ready-made objects such as antique telegraph machines, tuning forks, eyeglasses, elevator cabins and electric poles, Otavio Schipper’s work connects past physical worlds with our present mental landscapes. The realms of imagination become present in installations that deal with the perception of time and the cultural memory of objects, leading to the questioning of boundaries between fiction and reality. In Schipper’s installations, the spectator often experiences a spectrum of sensations, from enlightenment to nostalgia. Elements of hard science and technologies from different periods lead the viewer into territories more closely associated with dream states and imagination dives, instead of a systematic organization of knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
Otavio Schipper (Brazil, 1979) holds a degree in Physics from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and has received the 2015 Fellowship from the Akademie der Künste Berlin.
The artist has presented the installation Smoking Mirror at the Kunstmuseum Thun (Switzerland) in 2017 and at the Schering Stiftung Project Space in Berlin (Germany) in 2015. He has shown his work at the exhibition Demo:Polis at the Akademie der Künste Berlin (Germany) in 2016 and at the exhibition Dessiner l’Invisible, organized by Fondation Mindscape, in Paris (France) in 2015.
In 2014, Schipper has presented the installations Mechanical Unconscious at MOT International in London (UK), Pocket Landscape at Galeria Millan in São Paulo (Brazil), and Elevator Music at Project Space die Raum in Berlin (Germany).
He participated in the following exhibitions: The Wizard's Chamber (Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland, 2013), Nova Arte Nova (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil RJ / SP, Brazil, 2008), and Arte Brasileira Hoje (Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil, 2005). In 2013, he presented the installation The Trial, developed during his time in residence at Residency Unlimited, New York, USA.