Eternal Return



Eternal Return

Lundahl & Seitl and ScanLAB Projects.


Eternal Return* consists of three intertwined art works, a book* and the physical and virtual representations of them. Looking through wireless VR goggles shows you the world as a digital point cloud universe that works in the same way as elementary particles. The sculptures and functional objects are reminiscent of a theatre left deserted at night. Every object, each with its own origin, flows in different layers of time: a railing from the Titanic walkway is held up by the weight of a 3,5-billion-year-old microbial mat, a 3D printed door handle floats in mid-air, a Victorian headboard, a chandelier, a desk and a sound-proof door from the Steinway piano workshop.

A mixed reality installation in the form of an art exhibition.

Created to exist as stand-alone objects, each artwork always remains virtually linked with the others, even at a distance, such as in different exhibitions. The presence of invisible artists adds qualities of human touch by choreographing the experience and movement of visitors in 3D realised audio and architecture scans.

Philosophically, but also in practice: Eternal Return deals with how the nature of being is entangled with consciousness. What is: real, imagined and perceived? Appropriating different art forms and methods such as staging, choreographed movement, sculpture, change in temperatures, spatialised sound and 3d-scanned architectural point-cloud environments and objects, game-play and temporal structures from music and film, Eternal Return is part physical objects, part virtual reality. Conducted by a musical score*, the hand of an unseen guide opening doors in-between cultural institutions which might result in a collide of narratives and unsayable lifeworlds of historical pasts.

When we are inside an art exhibition, most people accept the concept that art can be a representation of the world, rather than the world itself, but what happens if the exhibition immerses you and becomes your world, if only temporarily. Eternal Return is a physical exhibition installation with port-holes, lenses and objects sometimes aligning, sometimes not, with its virtual extension.

In life outside of the museum, it is harder to accept that reality as we experience it, is what philosopher of mind Thomas Metzinger terms 'a mental stage set'.

In Eternal Return we can enter the stage set of the world at night, looking at it from the outside as a collection of objects. We can also enter the objects and see this world from within from a first person embodied perspective and with a new awareness that incorporates the illusions, the glitches and the projections of our own perception, as part of our reality.

The visitors first meet a cool temperature in the gallery. Carefully choreographed, they enter the exhibition. The see a physical though incomplete, outer shell of a world: a landscape of worn-out colourless objects and shapes that at first impression appear as fossile imprints. The objects are frost-coated molds from historical buildings interiors: from the museum, the cinema and the theatre. They induce the image of a metaphorical excavation site for ideology, culture and its mediums. Paradoxically, the site might also give a subtle futuristic touch, that could be correlated to the life-preservation process of cryogenics, or human embryos frozen for IVF procedures. Why is this? The visitor will eventually be greeted by an archivist guide who explains that they have entered a simulation archive collecting the fleeting nature of subjective experience and past times. By choosing a headset the visitors enter an experience at a random past space and time.

* Book by Malin Zimm

* Eternal Return by Lundahl & Seitl (SWE) and ScanLAB Projects (UK) is a STRP co-production.

* J. S. Bach’s Fugue in A Minor BWV 543 written for the organ, arranged by Liszt for piano, is performed by Cassie Yukawa-McBurney.

Dramaturgy by Rachel Alexander.

Performers: Pia Nordin, Lena Kimming & Sara Lindström.

ScanLAB Projects team: Matt Shaw, Max ńĆelar, Soma Sato, Manuela Mesrie, Reuben Carter, Jacques Pillet, Will Trossell, Dorka Makai.

Lundahl & Seitl