Who were the first creatures to ever fall in love? In her most recent adventure into the occult, artist Marguerite Humeau and a team of collaborators are seeking out the biological origin of our most scientifically mystifying emotion. From a recent solo exhibition at Palais to Tokyo in Paris to an artist residency at Manifesta, the European Biennale of Contemporary Art, Humeau has been on a quest to unearth the story of how we came to experience the inscrutable feeling of romantic love.
Now, exclusively for POSTmatter’s New Mythologies issue, she presents her latest reconstruction of her findings in the form of a digital poem.
Written by Toke Lykkeberg Nielsen, the poem ruminates on our contemporary modes of existence in relation to Humeau’s recent Manifesta exhibition, in which she and Mathias Bürki, an expert in autonomous systems, developed an artificial mating ritual between a pair of male and female cynodonts. Set in an abandoned engine room at ETH Zürich, the robot-like pair roam around the space, emitting mating chants from their artificially constructed vocal tracts, releasing synthetic hormones that frenetically reenact the three stages of love (lust, attraction, long-term attraction) and search for each other despite the odds.
Here, descend through the infinite scroll and find yourself enveloped by the text of this curious digital poem. Designed by graphic designer and art director Benjamin Penaguin, the scroll is accompanied by the sound of Hurrian Hymn 6, sung by the synthetic voice produced by Humeau with her collaborator Pierre Lanchantin from the Machine Intelligence Laboratory for Manifesta.
Working together to obstruct a traditional linear reading, the independent visual, textual and audio stories, layered atop one another, evoke a sensual display of love, its origins and its synthesis.