Artist Statement
Aether & Einstein / Magasin III / 2016

In the exhibition Aether & Einstein I am looking at natural science from different perspectives, suggesting that science and metaphysics are not only a dichotomy but involves a wider spectrum of interrelated phenomena, and that art is a valid tool for presenting these matters. The title is partly a poetic way of describing this. It also points to the concept of ether/aether with its sliding meanings whether it is used in theosophy, physics or daily language.

In the exhibition there are two central pieces pointing in these different directions; Xylem Floem and Astral Flight Adapter. Xylem Floem (the transport systems for water, nutrients and chemical information in plants) is a large plant installation where I am conducting an acoustic experiment on the root systems of the plants, referring to research in bioacoustics and evolutionary biology where tests on maize plants confirms that plants can communicate and respond acoustically with high frequent clicks produced in the root system. I am exposing roots to sound with the frequency around 220 Hz in separated water filled containers attached with contact microphones The plant roots are recorded and the results (if any) are to be analysed during the exhibition period.

The other installation, titled Astral Flight Adapter is placed in the opposite axis. Based on a small paper model, made with a center shape that could be read as the spiral of an inner ear, the five-meter-high construction still has the light feeling of paper and cardboard. This corresponds with the intent of the model as an imaginative apparatus, listening for signals, open to other forms of communication, from the plants or from parallel dimensions.

Placed around the two central installations are drawings, paintings, videos and sound. Different understandings of plant life are presented through scientific research, modified into musical scores with the chemical language of plants transposed to sound. Nature studies of flora with plant pigments and various mappings of plant perception including an acoustic pseudo scientific plant experiment from the 70s. The time-laps microscope video of ferns in motion together with a magnetic, inorganic dance of iron filings are scaling the elements down to particle physics in works like Cloud Chamber and The War of the Worlds, where the subatomic particles in motion and interaction collides with the invisible forces of occult chemistry. Results of the unconventional methods of exploring microcosm are present in Ockulta Legeringar (Occult Alloys) with symbols from Occult Chemistry (1908), by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater. This composition is made of elements in the periodic table and organized as a graphical score. Interpreted as a recipe, it would make a toxic highly radioactive concoction.

By tracing these ideas I have come across esoteric and other trans-disciplinary fields like theosophy. I have found interest in the key figures, the impact their work has been on the legacy of modernism and cultural currents until this day. In these works I am using different ways of seeking knowledge, whether it is scientific empirical, estimative mathematical or clairvoyant theosophical. I find my creativity in the cross connections and gaps.

Albert Einstein once said that there are two ways to live; either everything is a miracle, or nothing is. I have a strong sense that these are not the only two options. In fact, I am convinced that these are not the only two options.

Christine Ödlund, Stockholm 2016