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Empedocles’ Ghost at KRÆ syndikatet: Exploring science and mysticism’s forgotten relationship


Empedocles’ Ghost at KRÆ syndikatet: Exploring science and mysticism’s forgotten relationship
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 4, 2019, 5:00pm - 8:00pm 
Location: Warehouse9, Copenhagen
Artist Talk: Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 6:00pm 
Closing: Thursday July 11, 2019

Curated by Sean Noyce

Artists: Naja Ryd Ankarfeldt (DK), Michael Carter (US), Jenalee Harmon (US), Alexander Holm (DK), Larry and Debby Kline (US), Sean Noyce (US), Camilla Reyman (DK), Samuel Scharf (US), Katya Usvitsky (US), and Melissa Walter (US)

Performers: Sensorisk Verden (DK), Mycelium (DK), Hydra/Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology (DK), Family Underground (DK), 30 Negari (DK), and Orchid Domain (DK)

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” — Albert Einstein

KRÆ syndikatet and Noysky Projects presents Empedocles’ Ghost, a week-long exhibition and series of performances featuring works that explore the relationship between science and mysticism. Empedocles’ Ghost is a collaboration between artist-run galleries KRÆ syndikatet of Copenhagen and Noysky Projects of Los Angeles. Empedocles’ Ghost is Noysky Projects’ first off-site, international exhibition, which opens at Warehouse9 in Copenhagen.

Scholars have ruminated on the connection between science and spirituality for thousands of years, applying folk pedagogy to explain the complexity of the world. The Greek philosopher Empedocles was one of the first to formalize this concept, stating that the foundation for all matter consisted of earth, wind, fire, and water. Respectively, Buddhist, Egyptian, Babylonian, Hindu, and Chinese scholars also drew connections with the four elements, emphasizing the universal nature of this concept.

But with the widespread implementation of the scientific method, science and religion separated, leaving folk practices like alchemy and esotericism to decline precipitously. The fallout from this schism has fostered the rise of literalism, pitting the definitive logic of science against the ascribed doctrine of religion.

Many of the works in Empedocles’ Ghost reconnect the fields of knowledge with that which is mysterious: Melissa Walter mines from her work as an illustrator for NASA, referencing near-fictional concepts like string theory, dark matter, and gravitational lensing, while Michael Carter’s interactive sculpture based on the methods of the ancient Egyptian harpedonaptai (“rope stretcher”) aligns the earth-bound viewer to the celestial bodies with great precision.

Some link the technology of today with the supernatural: Sean Noyce’s video projection renders data visualizations from sound frequencies of an ancient Greek funeral song, while Jenalee Harmon’s laminated transparent sequential photographs are an ode to time, space, speed, and technology of the Futurists that subtly allude to the hidden entities behind those forces.

Others reference Empedocles’ contribution to science and philosophy: Debby and Larry Kline’s large format pen and ink drawings of the four elements contain the visual language of illuminated manuscripts, while Samuel Scharf’s sculpture alludes to Empedocles’ himself, who was said to have committed suicide by throwing himself into Mount Etna; Scharf playfully invites viewers to toss a period-styled sandal into a ring of cobblestones, loosely referencing the active volcano.

Earlier Event: June 29
Later Event: August 10
Artists for Artist (a benefit)