Omega and (Anti-)Decay Atlas

Northing Space, Bergen
2nd April – 25th May 2022

In collaboration with Norwegian translator Eirik Senje, sound designer Sola Wang and graphic designer Victor utne Stiberg

“Omega and (Anti-)Decay Atlas” takes its inspiration from a subculture called Danmei (literal translation: “Aestheticism”). Danmei as a genre, originates in China but is inspired by similar subcultures in Japan and the west, and has gained a large following over the two last decades. Its main manifestations are large amounts of online novels about male homosexual romantic/erotic relationships, written and read mostly by women.

Taking Danmei as a starting point: a subculture that negotiates gender roles through an almost perverse fetishization, the individual works in the exhibition seek to create a speculative narrative, or future scenario, surrounding gender roles and the hierarchies in-between them. “Omega and (Anti-)Decay Atlas” envisions ways in which bodies and identities could have functioned, as a means to make clear the inherent hierarchy, that is always present in the politics of identity. The works can be seen as five different chapters in a novel, starting chronologically from our contemporary society and ends up in a distant future.

Integral to these future scenarios is the politics of decay, and the negative attitude of most contemporary societies towards what is thought of /misidentified as “decay”: to position the process of decay on the so-called “outside” is to actually pass it on to more vulnerable regions and populations. Instead, “Omega and (Anti-)Decay Atlas” starts by embracing that entropy and decay is at the core of who we are. By looking closely at our fear and denial of decay and heterogeneity, the exhibition explores the possibility of not only talking about decay within the framework of art and aesthetics, but also from the perspective of it as a universal and inevitable force of ecology and politics in our society. The works in this exhibition are especially invested in the ambiguous zones between order and chaos, between the collapse of old orders and the formation of new ones and between being and becoming, where organics and artificialities come together as indefinite life forms.

Documentation: Jacky Jaan-Yuan Kuo