Pandora’s Ecstasy invites humans into the future, into a world where they have become extinct. It does so through the logic of myth, which allows us to experience beginnings and endings collapsed into the same sea of time. Entering Pandora’s Ecstasy, you step out of yourself–your ego, your mind, your present–to enter an ecstatic state. Ek-stasis means, “to stand out, aside,” and refers to all types of displacement. The state of ecstasy, or “being outside oneself,” suggests moments where we feel deeply touched, lifted out of ourselves. Humans find ecstasy in religion, but also poetry, music, dance, sex, drugs, or sport. Pandora’s Ecstasy suggests that we can find ecstasy in mythology.
The Pandora myth is often told to explain where evil comes from, or as Hesiod tells it, “why life is hard.” It cautions humans against disobeying the gods – or else. However, as we see it, Pandora was merely a pawn in the fight between the Titans and the Olympians. She was fashioned as a punishment for Epimetheus’ lack of foresight. The installation, Pandora’s Box at Het Nieuwe Instituut (May 18 – September 15, 2019), explored the nature of unheeded warnings, a lack of vision for the future, and of the unknown consequences of our actions –in particular with respect to the damage wrought by toxic microplastics and other synthetic materials. It enfolded this myth with human attempts to technologically dominate the material world, and suggests that—as our era of extreme climate change warns—these attempts may very well bring about human extinction.
Pandora’s Ecstasy, at Onomatopée, allows human visitors an inspired glimpse into their own extinction, one which lacks the apocalyptic anxiety and insistent doomsday rhetoric that has become commonplace in the Anthropocene. Alongside gloomy forewarnings, Pandora’s Ecstasy ushers Pandora’s hope back in. Given a box and told never to look inside, Pandora was unable to control her curiosity and in opening the box, unleashed evil upon the world. All that was left in the box was hope. And yet, the precise nature of hope remains a mystery; is hope a palliative against evils or a kind of blind optimism? Is Pandora’s hope a blessing or a curse?
Humans visiting Pandora’s Ecstasy are summoned from the future to become silent witnesses to Pandora’s revelry and storytelling. Unfolding amidst a ritual celebration, the story of The Time of Dust can be heard simultaneously by progeny and ancestry. Human visitors can employ their hands, arms, and legs and join in the ritual dance to honour the society of the dead for their sacrifices.
Pandora’s Ecstasy is an instalment of the Synthetic Times series: a collaborative and iterative design project that critiques and reimagines human and nonhuman time in relation to modern and future technologies.
Pandora’s Ecstasy is conceived by NON+, consisting of Conny Groenewegen (designer/developer), Maurizio Montalti (designer and hybrid researcher), Adam Nocek (philosopher and design researcher), and Stacey Moran (feminist philosopher and writer).
Special guests contributing to this installation: Silvia Neretti (graphic design), Tomas Menapace (drawings), Wim van Egmond (micro photography / time-lapse video works), and Hanna Valle (video works).
We look forward to meeting you there!
Lucas Gasselstraat 2A
5613 LD – Eindhoven (NL)
October 19 – 27, 2019 (and beyond…)