The duo, in their latest project for Forum 052, draw on the biotech databases used to investigate plant growth behavior under different climatic conditions. One conclusion some people draw from the current environmental crisis is that biotechnology should serve to modify agricultural crops to allow them to cope with changing conditions. Yet, Hesse and Wakil’s hybrid sculptures highlight a very serious problem intrinsic to this technology. However useful big data and genetic engineering may be for combatting our climate emergency, their infinite permutations harbor countless risks, since it is impossible to foresee their full effects on the natural world. Hesse and Wakil’s work calls into question humanity’s ability to alter and improve on nature. It also explores the creative potential of data- and technology-based flora. The resulting 3D objects defy categorization as either simply natural or artificial.
The exhibition also displays the models used to design the twin sculptures featured in "Westpark Clouds" (2017). For this commission, residents of Munich’s Westpark district were offered the opportunity to participate in the creation of a community sculpture. This involved 3D scans being taken of the participants in poses that they chose for themselves. They all received a small 3D print portrait in the form of a bust in return. The artists subsequently used some of the data to create a life-sized aluminum sculpture of two groups of people. They melded together individual portraits in a collage through a modeling process involving superimposition, resizing and distortion to create a fusion of the realistic with the abstract.
For the opening event on October 22, the artists and curators will be present in the exhibition between 2 pm and 6 pm.
The exhibition is curated by Rudolf Scheutle, Photography Collection, and Nadine Isabelle Henrich, Fellow “Museum Curators of Photography” Program, Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation, Essen.