Travis Diehl
              In the back of Ballroom Marfa plays Emilija Škarnulyte’s video Sirenomelia (2018)—a short apocalyptic trilogy that explores the ruins of some of our species’ most advanced achievements in physics. A camera drifts, disembodied, through the Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory in Japan. Pieces of CERN’s giant supercollider in Switzerland peel apart as our view rotates through virtual models of the experiments. The longest segment follows a mermaid as she explores the icy waters of a nuclear submarine pen. There is no dialogue, no didactics—only the watery abstraction of (our idea of) what our planet would look like without us. But the average contemporary viewer doesn’t need to be a scientist to interpret these images more thoroughly than a future mermaid. Why? It’s as Brian Eno put it before awarding the 1995 Turner Prize to Damien Hirst: Science has done a decent job explaining its own value to the general public. Art hasn’t. The exhibition “Hyperobjects” takes up the challenge. Where other exhibitions nod to philosophy (a.k.a. “theory”) this one is co-curated by the institution’s director Laura Copelin and an ecological philosopher, Timothy Morton, author of 2013’s Hyperobjects, and originator of the term. A hyperobject, in short, is something finite, yet too large or …

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