Transmission towers disguised as pine trees broadcast a near-infinite inventory of obsolete items in the new installation titled Post hoc by Auckland-born artist Dane Mitchell. “The work isn’t intended to be a moral lesson, it’s an elegiac recalling of the past,” says Mitchell, who will be representing New Zealand at this year’s Venice Biennale. “My hope is that it will allow for people to consider the superabundance of bygone or overlooked things that sit below this present moment.”
Obsolete instruments, abandoned parishes, destroyed artworks, recessions…
The inexhaustible aural list will emanate from “trees” situated outside Sant’Elena Catholic Church, the IUAV University of Venice and the Civil Hospital. Mitchell specifically chose sites that represent the history of human knowledge, as a way to show that ongoing progress relies on the ever-presence of obsolescence; there is no forward without a past.
In this film, cinematographer Adam Luxton follows Mitchell to the factory in Guangzhou, China where the communications towers were created. “I felt like I had finally seen the real planet earth; a sprawling generative environment endlessly pumping out material,” says Luxton about his visit to the industrial plant. “This was the moment I realized how powerful the superabundance of Dane’s list was.”
The New Zealand Pavilion will be based at the Palazzina Canonica—the former headquarters of the Institute of Marine Sciences—from 11 May to 24 November 2019