Photo reportage from the exhibition 'Mules' at kim? Contemporary Art Centre

February 22, 2017
Author Echo Gone Wrong

1_STA0945_fotoAnsisStarksMules is a teleportation of the exhibition Moles developed collaboratively for the Museum for Photography in Berlin, as part of the ongoing series Seen By between the University of Arts Berlin and Kunstbibliothek der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin.

Moles are creatures that live underground and in the dark for much of their lives. In the vocabulary of spies, a mole is an agent who has infiltrated an enemy network and operates there undetected, gathering and delivering information. For the keeper of the beautiful greens of the golf course, the mole is a pest to be kept at bay.

In teleportation, things get leſt behind. Moles turn into Mules, traditional pack animals made up of two different gene pools: a horse’s and a donkey’s.

According to Charles Darwin this hybrid “possesses more reason, memory, obstinacy, social affection, powers of muscular endurance, and length of life, than either of its parent species”. The long history of mule-human relationships evolves around transport, carrying things from A to B, and as such becomes part of a set of stories without Heroes, described by Ursula K. Le Guin as story “full of beginnings without ends, of initiations, of losses, of transformations and translations, and far more tricks than conflicts, far fewer triumphs than snares and delusions; full of space ships that get stuck, missions that fail, and people who don’t understand.” On occasion it collapses into the human-mule, carrier of illegal contraband, who more than anything avoids being seen.

Yet being seen is not always revealing. For the untrained observer, maggots are the psychic teleporters of the animal world. You may think they all look the same, but something stunning and unpredictable will emerge from each of them.

Exhibition on view till March 12.
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Photography by Ansis Starks