Pheromone Spa, The Breeder Gallery, Athens, GR, 2022
The Breeder is pleased to present Pheromone Spa, Theo Triantafyllidis’ new solo exhibition, presenting a rich audiovisual experience. Consisting of two performative systems, Bugsim (Pheromone Spa) and Ork Haus, running in parallel, each a distinct world governed by its own rules, each completely unaware of the others existence. Presented at The Breeder Gallery as immersive installations, including sculptural furniture, custom electronics and a homebrew pheromone aroma in collaboration with Labrilena Konstantelou the digital worlds bleed out into the physical emanating a foreboding feeling of entrapment within a system with opaque rules.
In his exploration of social technologies and the communities they enable us to create, Theo Triantafyllidis grapples here with the ethical question of how individuals can assume social responsibility amid the overwhelming demands of the present moment. In a constantly shifting world where the very definition of what it means to be human, what differentiates us from the non-human and how our relationship to our natural environment is changing, the artist proposes new posthuman ecosystems inhabited by hybrid beings as the solution. These worlds, that act as parallel universes within the exhibition, are autonomous ecosystems, systems that function on their own without acknowledging the viewer or any other external factor, creating a polarity between an aesthetically pleasing experience and a feeling of anxiety and isolation.
In BugSim (Pheromone Spa), a precious slice of microscopic life preserved in an intensive care terrarium is contemplating the paradox of environmental repair. Through a moist glass surface and within lush vegetation expands a busy Colony of Ants. Slowly and painstakingly the Ants are working to form a brittle purple mud into a structure they can call home. From this structure grows an entire forest of tiny flowering plants. Branching and blooming in every direction, they are calling to be pollinated by buzzing Honey Bee replicas. All but self-sustaining, this closed terrarium system is engineered to simulate all the necessary natural cycles for the fragile community of organisms. The flow of nutrients, hormones, moisture and temperature constantly regulated under the sound of insects buzzing. An experiment in resilience and entropy carefully monitored by a mysterious figure.
Meanwhile on the lower gallery, a family of Orks trapped in a domestic space perform the rituals of modern life. Ork Haus is a nightmarish vision of the metaverse in which the truly grotesque aspects of working from home and the technology that continues to enable us to do so are the subject of a work that is part live simulation, part experimental theatre. These moments of technologically mediated Ork domesticity, though in many ways mundane, are elevated in their monstrousness to symbols of the contemporary human condition. Surrounding the live simulation is a sculptural hand built furry sofa for the audience to sit on and a series of fabric wall works, co-created with an Artificial Ork Intelligence and presented here in all their uncanny logic.
With very special help by:
Pheromone Spa Diffusers ~ Polina Miliou
Fabric Works ~ Joana Loka
Ork Couch ~ Nathan Carey
Ceramics ~ Sealed Earth Studio
Photography by Thanassis Gatos