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Respiratory event (vapour whale), 2020

Bangkok Biennale 2020, Bangkok, Thailand

Respiratory event (vapour whale), 2020

Aluminum, steel, venturi vaporizer, fan, electronics, magnetic stirrer, fiberglass, synthetic ambergris, natural ambergris
Dimensions variable (replica sperm whale 4000mm x 2000mm x 1800mm)

Respiratory event (vapor whale) is a literal attempt to vaporize a sperm whale — in which the fragrance of the whale is dissipated over the cityscape from a rooftop.

From formal air-duct-like vents a hybridized aroma made by the artist is vaporized continuously throughout the exhibition. The fragrance is a combination of synthetic ambergris and natural/actual ambergris produced in the belly of a sperm whale.

Alongside the two petroleum-coloured air-ducts rests a replica life-size sperm whale skull — still in its transportation crate — produced in mainland China by a company specializing in the production of replica skeletons for museum displays.

The work reveals a bleak truth: the distance between synthetic and natural is collapsing. Whales have become 'sentient toxic events' — declared as such due to the exorbitant amount of pollutants they consume in a life time. In this sense, the replica and the whale alike are creatures of late-capitalism, and, like the fragrance, entangle our synthetic and natural worlds.

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