Ecology & temporality: a look ahead at Sonic Acts’ 2022 Biennial exhibition, one sun after another

, 28 September 2022

In Hyperobjects: Philosophy, Ecology, and The End of World, Timothy Morton asserts that hyperobects— something made by nature or humans that exists on a colossal scale—remain imperceivable except during times of ecological crisis. Tracing these crises is the focus of Sonic Acts‘ exhibition, one sun after another, which runs from September 30 to October 23 across three venues in Amsterdam. The exhibition is part of the Sonic Acts 2022 Biennial, including live music, workshops, and installations.

Erik Boomer, ‘GAUGE’ (2022). Image courtesy the artist + Sonic Acts.

one sun after another takes place during a time haunted by questions on climate economics in Europe. The summer of 2022 was one of the hottest on record for the continent, where droughts deprived rivers and resurfaced hunger stones made to warn centuries-old societies of impending famine. Fires sprout across the continent, and European energy security is at risk due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Although certainly unintended, these events relate to the exhibition’s focus on scaling the impact of industry and politics on global ecology and time.

There are two aspects of Morton’s hyperobjects that are particularly relevant to the theme of this year’s Sonic Act’s biennial exhibition; nonlocality, that hyperobjects interact across massive geographies and timescales; and temporal undulation, that they defy our perception of space and time. Viewing climate change as a hyperobject means that its beginnings and implications span many eras and regions that might appear seemingly unrelated. Thus, Sonic Acts’ exhibition focuses on making connections within its vast nexus.

Louis Braddock Clarke & Zuzanna Zgierska (2022). Image courtesy the artist + Sonic Acts.

Keeping with Morton’s nonlocality and temporal undulation, the exhibition will guide attendees through various ecological situations. one sun after another follows Louis Braddock Clarke and Zuzanna Zgierska‘s ‘Hard Drives from Space’, where a meteor shower deposits stones into the ground of Inuggit Nunaat (Northern Greenland) before they’re taken unrightfully for exhibitions in New York and Copenhagen. Maryam Monalisa Gharavi and Sam Lavigne trace remnant data left by the American oil extraction industry, while Seline Buttner‘s ‘Meiosphere’ examines how machinic intervention can mimic tactile sensations felt on forested landscapes. Erik Boomer‘s ‘Gauge; unearths how ice structures change with flowing tidal movements.

What’s evident is that with the opening of one sun after another comes a two-fold gesture. First, viewers should not necessarily take the exhibition works individually but in totality as a broader yet deliberately incomplete representation of climate change that has occurred, is happening, and continues – even beyond the program’s scope. Second is the purpose of Sonic Act’s research, creating awareness about the magnitude of climate change through the exhibition’s design and themes. A quote on a life science blog interpreting Morton reads, “The more data we have about lifeforms, the more we realize we can never truly know them.” While the true scale of a global climate crisis is impossible to grasp, one sun after another seems poised to create a stronger connection. 

Sonic Acts’ 2022 Biennial exhibition, one sun after another, takes place from September 30 to October 23 at W139, Zone2Source in Amstelpark, and Het HEM in Zaandam. Purchase tickets to the exhibition and biennial via Sonic Acts website.