Monthly Archives: June 2012

Nico Joana Weber

The balance of matter (2008-2011)

two-channel digital video, PAL, 16:9, sound, 45 min 

Opening: Friday June 8th, 19:00

Open: June 9-10th, 12:00-16:00


Nico Joana Weber’s two-channel installation The balance of matter is a filmic journey conceived between 2008 and 2011, linking inherently different places from Bolivia and Brazil to Switzerland and England. The common thread is transformation, which becomes a tangible experience through the flow created by the symmetry of the two channels. The calmly breathing scanning gaze travels through real and imagined deserts, rainforests and black holes, encountering the cities of tomorrow, finding absence and traces of civilisation, finally arriving at geographical dislocation and a sense of timelessness.

The title refers to the scientific term ‚balance of matter’ which describes a calculation to inventory material inputs versus outputs in a process system. Seeing that it is impossible to monitor all the processes of interchange in an ecosystem simultaneously, the balance of matter’s goal is to arrive at a condensed trial balance that sheds light on the situation as a whole. Having no beginning or end and various openings for associative links, The balance of matter’s method is indication rather than completeness, attempting at a distillate of creation, a poetic glimpse of the state of civilisation. Its nondualist simultaneity poses questions of progress and modernity, becoming and entropy, and the relationship between nature and man.

To a large extent compiled of footage filmed on a yearlong journey, the work is an endeavour to connect the gathered experiences of different modernities and landscapes with the familiar context of civilisation. Sparked by the discovery that in Aymara, one of the Bolivian indigenous languages, there is no word for ‚progress’ (a word that can’t possibly be missing in the language of western civilisation), the artist upon her return specifically travelled to places around Europe to complement her material filmed abroad. Slowly the work became a rhizomatic network speaking about a simultaneous existence of places and complex relations rather than simple oppositions and different worlds or cultures. In the process the familiar became strange and the formerly foreign started to mirror in the known.

Nico Joana Weber, born 1983 in Bonn, Germany, graduated from Goldsmiths College, London, in 2008. She is currently completing her postgraduate studies at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne.