Bamboocene: Memories of Synchronicity will be presented at Myymälä2 gallery by the visual artist Monika Czyżyk in August 2020. This multi-year media project was commissioned by the municipalities of Wanjian and Shangcun, located in Anhui province China. It was created in cooperation with the Institute for Provocation, a studio art residency located in Beijing, and the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design.
The exhibition features a docufictional film project called: I Want to Build a Rocket. The film shot on location in China, Finland and Poland explores several themes including community revitalization, touristic gentrification, ecological fictions, synchronicity, bamboo species and international space programs. The idiosyncratic film is delivered as a multivocal travelogue with songs, collaborative performance art, experimental animations and documentary elements coexisting together. The project questions whether the folk cultures will metabolize these global changes and flourish? Transform. Or ultimately disappear? Scenes also touch on the unique bamboo flowering which happens at the same time all over the world irrespective of their geographical location and climate as long as they were derived from the same mother plant.
The 75 minute loop will be embedded into and accompanied by mixed media sculptures under the title: Geographies of a Lonely Pole created both in Beijing and Helsinki’s Vartiosaari island. The organic materials explored in the installation include inscribed bamboo species gathered from China, Finland and Netherlands. The bamboo has been recycled from Czyżyk’s earlier show at C5 gallery in Beijing. Newer bamboo coming from the Netherlands is originally used as a food source for the guest pandas at Ähtäri Zoo. The pieces playfully reference the 1st bamboo self-propelled, ground crawling fireworks and rockets called “Earth rats” created in China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 CE).
For the exhibition Czyżyk has invited the media artist Torsten Zenas Burns to create two digital print projects related to the looped film and sculptural works. The 1st a reimagined collaborative graphic novel project called: THE BAMBOONAUT CLUSTER. A series of non-linear drawings that follows a bamboo entity and allies (both dead, alive and somewhere in-between) researching and manifesting tools from ecological fictions, sequential art history and experimental cinema all in the hopes of rewilding the planet. The 2nd is a photographic catalogue project documenting Czyżyk’s docufictional film project, I Want to Build a Rocket, from its origins in China through its most recent scenes created in Finland.
Monika Czyżyk (b.1989, PL) is a visual artist and filmmaker living and working in Helsinki, Finland. She is a graduate of the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts and the Helsinki University of the Arts. She relocates and participates in hybrid socio institutional formations seeking out topics and materials created within these collaborative communities and later translates them into forms of moving image, installation, photographs, performance. Her research interrogates the changing face of alienation in contemporary society and global communities of women. She has been experimenting with various forms of moving image. Her experimentations with the camera tend to culminate in short films that oscillate between fiction and documentary. Since 2015 she has been working with Torsten Zenas Burns on the series of videos and performances called Monstersweet. She shown her work internationally in group and solo exhibitions, in Finland, Poland and China. Czyżyk was a resident of Institute For Provocation in Beijing, African Artist Foundation in Lagos/Nigeria and Signal Culture in Owego/NY. Her videos have been screened at WRO 2017 Biennale: DRAFT SYSTEMS, Wroclaw/Poland, Union Docs NYC/NY, November Film Festival, London/UK, EMAP 2016: The 9th Ewha International Media Art Presentation, Seoul/SK.