Maria Peters


Project-Statement PARALLEL Vienna 2023

Exhibition review of Dr. Gunter Bakay:

Peters' ironic remarks on the still status quo

The general theme of the project is the dissolution of the world as we know it: the transformation of ways of living and working as well as of biological life forms. Humans, animals, plants―everything can become the object of genetic, mechanical or digital manipulation or otherwise fall victim to the great transformation. In any case, the terrestrial future has become more unpredictable than ever before, or rather we have never before been so painfully aware that it is completely unpredictable and probably no longer planable. And that naturally triggers fear. Great fear. Panic!

One of these fears is, for example, that of the "Great Blackout", the definitive power failure, as it has been apocalyptically described in Marc Elsberg's book of the same name or in the TV film made from it: We are becoming murderers in a few days, and cannibals soon after...
Maria Peters takes up this fear with a wink and produces a newspaper completely without electricity. The text is written by hand, the pictures are painted and the screen printing is done by sunlight. The "Newport Island Press" brings news completely analog. Independent of electricity, and as subversive as a decent cellar print shop should be...

The articles in the 1st issue of the Newport Island Press take up two topics that have to do with possibly upcoming transformations:

1) The UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena = UFOs), which celebrate a large revival in the USA since about two years, leading up to congress hearings. Whereby it is not at all clear, how reliable the reality is, which is behind it. Whether one has to do with extraterrestrials or with terrestrial life forms which exist simply in other dimensions. Or with something completely different.
In any case, the creepy question arises whether we are really the most highly developed species or whether we will soon be replaced in this role or simply wiped out.
And if it's not the UAPs, maybe it's "the AI" that's enslaving us...?!

2) The more and more spreading "Deep Sea Mining", the extraction of raw materials at the bottom of the sea, could create the desire to want to live down there forever (as an aquatic-cool paradise). To this end, humans could be genetically optimized in such a way that they no longer need artificial oxygen because they have gills again―just as those creatures from which we are descended had millions of years ago. Maybe there is something to the thesis that ontogenesis recapitulates phylogenesis, as Ernst Haeckel said in his "Allgemeine Morphologie" (1866). Possibly there is still enough fish in us (the enigmatic fetal disposition to gill arches!) to make something out of it.
Subordinated human specimens would then have to live further above on the desolate surface of the earth and would be allowed to go down only sporadically to clean or to bring the garbage up...
To be above would be punishment, and migration and escape would then be vertical and no more horizontal movements.

The large size oil painting, titled "The Big Transformation", provides the name for the entire exhibition, showing homunculus scurrying around terribly importantly, seemingly unaware that it is precisely their restless scurrying that is driving the transformation. Mobility, communication, work, entertainment.... ―everything is becoming a driver.

And the transformation is already visible, too! Is that another bear you see there―or is that another giant sloth, like the one that was wiped out in no time after the arrival of Homo sapiens in South America and is now returning as a replicant?
And also the octopus may not be missing. Some believe that it will one day conquer the earth's surface, swinging elegantly from branch to branch with its tentacles and certainly could even operate computers.
As a distinctly fashionable animal, he inspires not only children, but also posthumanist intellectuals and subject philosophers. He fascinates with nine brain centers, which belong to an individual, but can contribute relatively independently to a lively discussion among themselves. So what is still an I, a personal identity, anyway? Or will we soon have to say goodbye to this cherished habit, because we are nothing else (and this increasingly so) than a scurrying collective that buzzes through our skulls?

In any case, "The Big Transformation" is a tremendous dance―one that you can dance with great fear and with your knees shaking, or with great pleasure and with great joy in the inconceivable creativity of the universe.

Maria Peters has chosen the second option!

Dr. Gunter Bakay, Vienna September 2023