Maelström (2010) is an installation by Roman Kirschner.


Maelstrom as shown during DEAF2012 Exhibition. Photo by Jan Sprij.

Maelström is an installation about fluidification, information and nausea inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. The fluidification of truths and worldviews makes our heads spin, and those who are not dizzy are not well informed. But when one takes a closer look at information, it becomes clear that at a low, material level, it is a process in which forms are continuously transferred into materials and quickly disappear again, albeit on a very small scale. This installation combines these two layers of moving information and sluggish nausea in the form of a continuous drawing in a liquid medium. Just before shapes become evident, they are overwritten or fall apart and disappear. The drawing process moves along the edge of perceptibility, and Maelström turns into an inner mirror of reality in which the visible and invisible, the imaginary and material converge.
After a considerable contribution to epistemology, Gaston Bachelard, a french philosopher, shifted his interest from science to the psychology of imagination. He contrasted rational thought with the imaginary. Thereby he did not discuss so much how the structures of poetic images look like but rather pointed out that these images can move and transform. They are liquid. And they are attached to matter - the four elements in his case. In Bachelard's description of the most important travel of human beings, namely the one between the real and the imaginary, he states that when art takes us to this travel, it is not about the stay in one of the two realms. But instead the journey, the movement, the border crossing and the mutual exchange is what we should pay attention to. The dark line in Maelström is the vehicle of this travel and the border at the same time. It doesn't show us one of the two realms. It shows us the process of trying to make sense, its materiality, its movement, its buildup, decay, turbulences, and fluidity.

Roman Kirschner - Maelstrom from Anti-Utopias on Vimeo.


Sound: Els Viaene

Materials: Magnetite powder, water, glycerine, magnet

A book about the work will be published in spring 2012.

Maelström, the installation, is inspired by Edgar Allen Poes short story A descent into the Maelström.

Funded by: Communauté française de Belgique Arts Numérique and Österreichisches Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur
Partly developed in residency at lab[au].

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