Who Knows What Happened Here
Featuring Miyö Van Stenis & Léa Porré
Placement Produit, 60 rue de la Commune de Paris. Aubervilliers
7/03/2019 - 23/03/2019
“The two works exhibited here use a similar aesthetic to very different ends. La Tumba utilizes VR technology to crack open and re-examine, in a near-forensic way, a literal architecture of power known and feared in Venezuelan society: a prison where political dissidents are detained and tortured by agents of the government.
Meanwhile, Vin Dizen uses the ultra-seductive aesthetics of CGI to create a pseudo-ruin. Ancient fountains baring the noble profiles of lions overflow with contemporary iconography of Hot Wheels™ tires, converging inside a seemingly endless landscape. A permanently Instagrammable pixelated sunset and the low hum of something arcane disarms us, precluding any sense of skepticism. It comments on our obsession and ultimate deferral to “genuine” antiquity; how that desire has turned into its own highly lucrative industry in the age of hyper-capitalism, and has even flickered into the art world through “blockbuster” exhibitions like Damien Hirst’s Treasures from Wreck of the Unbelievable.
Both worlds are grounded in a contemporary desire stemming from the miraculous absence of knowledge—any question the demi-Gods of Siri or Google can’t solve. Where did these ruined objects come from? What really happens in the prison? Because we don’t know, we find ourselves subliminally manufacturing answers in order to satisfy our own need for an explanation.
When the viewer steps into these simulated worlds, she is confronted by these forces. Immediately her brain manufactures possible scenarios that led to the ruination in Porre’s piece, or empathize, in a bodily and affective way, with the fear and trauma of those disembodied witnesses who narrate Van Stenis’ simulated prison. The viewer’s emotional attachment to these digital worlds effectively continues their process of auto-mythologizing, as their power grows with every subsequent re-interpretation.
The title refers to these worlds as some ‘things’ and not some ‘wheres’ as these worlds are in fact immaterial fantasies, a digital alter-verse to be inhabited or gazed upon but never fully accessed. The viewer is held captive by this web of real and fake, hinging between feelings of fear and desire, the glut of visual data offered by seductive computer-generated imagery and the intense isolation of simulated torture chambers.
In a sense, the works are more concerned with the social and psychological response of the viewer than their own authenticity—a flex of power that makes their mythology all the more real. Held up by our desire for reason, they float above the viewer like gods, forever just slightly out of reach.”
i stepped into something strange by Alice Bucknell
La Tumba (The Tomb)
Miyö Van Stenis
Totalitarianism is a global enterprise of enslavement of man. The individual fades before a radical
and collective project. The leaders will stop at nothing to achieve their ends. The state’s policy of
eliminating all possible opponents needs weapons proportionate to the wars it must wage against
these external and internal enemies. In this deadly enterprise, torture is one of the ordinary weapons of
this power, as well as confinement, the multiplication of forced labor camps and extermination or
massive displacement of populations.
Serge Portelli - History of Torture, 2017
Miyö’s Torture Room: La Tumba (The Tomb) is a replica of a torture prison in the heart of Caracas, Venezuela.
Originally conceived as an underground metro station, Venezuela’s best-known and most feared prison is a five-storey cement box located at the headquarters of the intelligence agency. On the top floor of this basement, seven cells of 2 by 3 square meters shelter, in some cases under false accusations, the leaders of the political opposition.
This work is based on real testimonies of those who were there, thus having the conditions of imprisonment, the tortures applied and the psychological deterioration that they underwent.
This work address the idea of fear as a form of domination. In this case, state terrorism: increasing the concentration of power in the executive branch, debilitating the independence and autonomy of the judiciary, restrict freedom of expression and the closure of dissident media, excessive - sometimes lethal - use of force and other forms of restrictions on peaceful assembly, widespread use of torture and horrific conditions of detention, in general, the violation of human rights and the fragile idea of democracy.
Sculpture series and still-frames
2018 - 19
Vin Dizen explores notions of authenticity and the hierarchy of values, and construct a 3D landscape like an abandoned ritual site with fake artifacts.
This archeo fiction combined symbols of blockbuster culture and mystical tradition to form an alternative kind of ritual as an attempt to blur the boundaries of sacred and profane.
The piece is complete by a soundscape made of drone and water droplets.
Following that in 2018 Vin dizen has been completed by a CNC-ed foam sculpture, that is derived from a Roman head fountain, where the god represented is here the Hollywood actor Vin Diesel.
This physical part of the piece explores the relation between myth and commodity.
But, this wall fountain appeared non-functional, out-of use, with its purpose lost, and echoes the fragmentary nature of the museum relic.
The main focus became the image; questioning the representation of the common bad guy, the generic antique fountain - an image of a copy of a vague idea of a distant memory of a schoolbook chapter on Roman architecture.
Miyö Van Stenis
Artist and curator specialized in new media art, currently based in Paris. Her work explores in the technological field: interfaces, operating systems, softwares and devices involved in the Internet as an performative action where the value is the human pursuing the error or the limit but also has a series of projects related to the socio-political crisis in Venezuela. Her curatorial work is centered in the criticism and the aesthetics of new medias/technologies; such as DeOrigenBelico since 2010 and Beautiful Interfaces since 2013 and founder member of the activist group: Dismantling the Simulation.
French artist currently living in London.
Her work deals with the representation of power through politics and question the place of potency in today’s society.
She is currently doing her master degree at Royal College of Arts and Design, London.