Andrej Škufca at Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana

Artist: Andrej Škufca

Title: Softshell Creeper

Venue:  Aksioma  –  Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana

Curator: Christina Gigliotti

Hey, hey, hey, listen! In order for this to work, I’m going to need your full attention. You see, you’ve fallen down right in the middle of a petri dish. You’re a human microbe. No one can see or hear you anymore, not up there anyways. I’m gonna try and help you get out without getting hurt, but I need you to cooperate. Who am I? I’m a resident here. The resident pink flamingo, serpulid worm, animal, vegetable, mineral. This happens quite a lot, actually. You know, visitors falling into the jelly forest. Most of them die, but you look pretty agile, I think you might just have a chance. Did you come to this lab on a school trip or something? Anyways, you’re lucky you fell into a rather new experiment. The bacteria are just starting to grow on this sample, so they’re slow and clumsy. They aren’t even a real colony yet! I’m not sure what kind of bacteria they are, but if I were you, I wouldn’t stick around too long to find out. No matter what they turn out to be, they’re usually hungry.

Take a minute to get your bearings. Did you notice how soft everything is? That’s because we are in a constant state of transformation. Hardened formations only limit us. It is the pliable, squishy goop that encourages life and activity. Some might call it sentience, even. Did you notice its breath? It, here, us, me. We’re breathing – not the way you do, of course. The jelly absorbs everything. If you don’t keep moving, it will absorb you too. Keep walking, don’t touch anything for too long or you’ll get pulled in and become a part of it. Unless that’s what you want.

If Jerry Seinfeld were a bacteria he, might say, ‘What’s the deal with rugged individualism?’ It doesn’t really exist, you know. Humans are so weird.

I’ll get you out, even though I think you should give in. You just have to follow the sound of my voice.

The exhibition Softshell Creeper presents itself as an ever-expanding, over saturated territory of plush capriciousness. The canopy of a hype-stormed alien creep fills the exhibition space with a brightly colored series of a morphing, non-clickable infrastructure that harbors a parallel agency, composed of strike zones and attacks. Inside this reality, which is “more landscape than artifact”, artificial and organic forms blur, as the viewer navigates the uneven, volatile terrain. Making reference to the specific narrative structure of video games and their oft-times gradual unfolding of information, the exhibition explores how this knowledge is propagated and established within these realms. In physically processing any unknown context, there is a heightened sense of fear and instability that comes with the necessity of making instant judgments and decisions. Whether or not the ambiguous, approaching Softshell Creeper is friend or foe, remains uncertain.

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