In the Place of the Insect,

as an Echo of Itself

2021, Site-specific Installation

Esplanade of the Casino de Montbenon,

Lausanne, Switzerland.

Production of the LUFF 2021

Tree, anti-frost cover for plants (around 400 m²), cicadas recorded sound, paver concrete blocks with QR code

Displaced signs of captive behaviour written in the paradoxical sense of listening to oneself, clearly hearing another. Heterotopias and notions of becoming.

Animals emit signs. Animals emerge as creatures characterized by their ability to last, to remain, to survive. Let us observe the periodic cicadas, their lifecycle, their resurrection from the earth, their metamorphosis into winged form and their voice. The life of a cicada begins as one of the eggs laid in the bark of a tree. A nymph cicada hatches, falls to the ground and tunnels into the earth to live underground for up to 17 years. One warm night, in the designated year interval, all the instars tunnel to the surface and make their way back to the tree. A split opens along the back of the nymph’s skeleton and it pushes its way out - an exoskeleton known as exuvia is left behind. It completes the molting process overnight and in this vulnerable, whitish post-shedding form will wait for its new body to harden and darken. The cicada will fly, sing, mate and die in a few weeks. 

Bizarre transformations, non-present forms, a phantom accomplishment with a consistent voice. Physic pre-objects, non-objects, hyper-objects in a post-functional creation for a trans-biological long-lasting voice. Where is its place in the phonosphere? Is it a somatic voice or immaterial? Any voice echoes its somatic origins, but this one ultimately escapes the confines of the bodily form. The cicada embodies the paradox, the riddle of the voice, both symptom of the body and a triumph over physical matter. It can be a meta-physical voice, not in the sense of being beyond the realm of the physical, but in the sense of involving another materiality, beyond or below that located in the spatial-temporal reality. It is its own material logic, meta-physical corporeality, associated with the seductive song of the Sirens, semi-human, semi-animal, semi-goddesses. Cicada represents the paradox of carrying the voicing beyond death: mortal in its phenomenology, immortal in its sound, mourning of procrastination. [1] 

Species of time, taxonomies of belonging, phototaxis, phonotaxis, metamorphic trans-species in synchronous emergences, pulsating chorusing attacks from the transcendental nowhere. Strange coincidences, some humans call them synchronicities. The risk to an individual who remains synchronized is less than the risk to one who breaks synchrony. There is safety in numbers; there is a hybrid process taking no-place in cicadas’ chorusing, decentralized circling in the mind. As if they know that their audience lives online.

Towards an impossible search for an identity, a return to the previous future era, a passage to the existence, a captive behaviour to freedom, an opening of temporality, and placelessness. Caught in the cycles of extinction and reanimation, refugees from bodies and senses. Into this perpetual, semio-spheric, semi-tonal, semi-embodied endgame where residues still meet, organisms seek to form an open closure to externalize their interiority.

Coexistence continues ​in a non-present form in periodic phases.

[1] Pauline A. LeVen. Music and Metamorphosis in Greco-Roman Thought. Cambridge University Press, 2020. Chapter 3 - Cicadas: On the Voice p.79-106.

When the Muses, goddesses of the arts, were born, an ancient race of men sang non-stop until they died, after which they transformed into cicadas.