2020

Respiratory event (vapour whale), 2020

Bangkok Biennale 2020, Bangkok, Thailand

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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.

Dane Mitchell ©  2020