[Photos installation: Sophie Pölzl / Photos performance: Eva Würdinger]

With her artistic oeuvre and curatorial practice, Katrin Hornek playfully engages with the strange paradoxes of living in the age of the Anthropocene, that is, the new geologic epoch where the effects of capitalism, colonialism, and extractivism are written into the body of the earth. She asserts a more complex understanding of the entwinement of so-called nature and culture that recognizes that our bodies and cultures are substantially and spiritually connected with other creatures and the elements that make up our world. As an artistic strategy, Hornek follows the stories and traces of the material world into their countless networks to create narratives.

testing grounds is a new, immersive live installation conceived by Katrin Hornek and developed in a collaborative process involving artists as well as researchers and scientists from different fields. The collaboration with Karin Pauer, Sabina Holzer, and Zosia Hołubowska lays a foundation for the work, which addresses a sensitive urgent matter: At stake is the measurable evidence of radioactive radiation around the world as a result of the testing and use of nuclear weapons in hundreds of above-ground tests since 1945. A local soil sample at Karlsplatz, in which minimal amounts of plutonium could be detected, as its starting point, testing grounds follows the permanent imprints left by nuclear fallout in our bodies, in plants and earth archives.

Embedded in an installation that evokes images of decaying landscapes, twice a week three dancers perform a score choreographed by Pauer. A recent scan of the “Baker” crater on the seabed of the former US nuclear bomb test site in Bikini Atoll spreads across the ceiling. On handheld devices shaped like turtles and tortoises, so-called "messengers", texts created by Sabina Holzer and Katrin Hornek provide multi-layered narratives on the subject matter, which enter a subtle, intimate dialogue with specially composed soundscapes by Zosia Hołubowska, while with their movements, the dancers delve into the depths of body archives. Together, the elements of the live installation create a sensual, immersive experience, a test set-up of the embodiment of the unspeakable.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with an image spread compiled by Katrin Hornek and text contributions by Anne Faucheret and Brian Holmes.

Katrin Hornek (*1983, Austria) studied performative art and sculpture in Vienna and Copenhagen. She is a member of the Anthropocene Commons network and teaches at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Department of Site-Specific Art). Recent exhibitions at Ar/Ge Kunst, Bolzano (2022), Kunstraum Lakeside, Klagenfurt (2021), Riga Biennale (2020), Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2019). Awarded the Msgr. Otto Mauer Prize (2021). www.katrinhornek.net

Karin Pauer (*1983, Austria) is a performer and choreographer. The exploration of relations, in-betweens, empathy, and togetherness informs all her works. She negotiates these notions combining embodied choreographic practices with language, visual arts, and live music. Her works have been shown in various Viennese institutions as well as at local and international festivals. www.karinpauer.com

Sabina Holzer (*1966, Austria) works as a dancer, choreographer and author in the field of extended choreography. She is concerned with practices of community, ecology, philosophy, materiality, science fiction and poetry. Her collaborative performances, interventions and texts are shown and published locally and internationally. www.cattravelsnotalone.at

Zosia Hołubowska (*1988, Poland) is a sound artist, queer music activist, researcher, and producer. With performances, sound installations, radio works and soundscapes, they work on topics of queering archives, healing practices, and interspecies intimacy.

Performance: Martina De Dominicis, Cat Jimenez, Mani Obeya, Karin Pauer

[Text: Secession]

©YYYYMMDD All content and design by Daniela Grabosch + Ricardo Almeida Roque unless otherwise stated. Images, Videos and Texts can only be used under permission of the author(s).