Kolbeinn Hugi is a visual artist born in the Arctic Neo-Cryptocolony of Iceland. Animal Internet, his first solo exhibition in Portugal, presents a group of works that speculate on alternative models of coexistence and empathy and possible economies of space, ecology and inter-species relationships. Steaming from ecofuturist references, pseudo-archaeology and Internet culture, he challenges viewer to envision a post-capitalist future where humanity is a constructive part of Earth's ecology.
When Zoocrazy arrived, it had already been years in the making: by the mid 21st century the idea of the Anthropocene directed all efforts of emotional and environmental empathy, but what was missing was everyone else. People shook their heads at anthropomorphism. They hunted, farmed, or kept everyone on a leash. Cyberspace hummed with the silence of animals. Man was dreadfully alone.
“Know thyself!”, philosophers had commanded ever since Socrates and the Greeks. The modern Cartesian solipsism led to an anthropology filled with delusions, for example that the human was fundamentally other than nature, or that there existed a noosphere in which human consciousness alone reigned supreme.
In the 19th and 20th centuries humanity connected the world with trains, commerce and communication and as a result they thought they were in control of capitalism and its tentacular reaches. At the same time, they split the atom and believed they were in control of the natural world. But in the shadow of the mushroom cloud, you don’t have all that much agency; the forests and its mycelium networks watched us in knowing silence. We traded objects of dead plastic instead of talking with animated life.
Once the ability to interface with all our other Terran friends became a reality, the conversations exploded. Humans used to fly kites: they used the wind to approximate birds and their magical ability to fly. Humans dreamed of flying in their sleep. Now of course we know what it means to fly, what birds really feel.
An economy built on ecology. Moore’s law inverted. Dolphins run Virtual Architecture studios scaffolding virtual edifices built with synthesized 3D echo location data.
Airborne interspecies delivery systems run on magnetoreceptive navigation networks. An Anima Mundi that buzzes with chitchat, chirps and interdependent cooperation.
So, when the ultimate act of empathy began to occur, and animal and human brain interfacing by way of the VRging sensory protocols started to become common, Second Nature came into existence. Here the virtual ecosystem allowed for a pluralistic, radically emphatic domain in which animals and humans enjoyed the zoocratic era of the post-anthropocene.