Work / Art

Humans since 1982 collect the uncollectible concept of motion

Traversing art, design and technology, the artist duo known as Humans since 1982 is in fact, founded by two artists born in the year of 1982. Bastian Bischoff and Per Emanuelsson met as postgraduate students at HDK Göteborg. Upon realising a shared curiosity to make sense of the world through art and design, the pair began collaborating; creating an array of hypnotising and experiential installations which combines engineering with playfulness and meticulous process.

Most famous for their time-based installation A Million Times at Changi, 2014-2018, the artist duo is known for their subversion of trivial objects. Currently exhibiting their latest projects Collection of Motion: Waterfalls and Collection of Motion: Rockets at Art Wuzhen in China until 30 June, the artists continue to explore the notion of “collecting the uncollectible”. In conversation with It’s Nice That, the Stockholm-based artists further explain: “With our work, we imitate and reflect on the ‘act of collecting’ both as a gesture and through the eyes of the collector.”

Together, they imagine a fictitious collector who is from the near-future and who collects motion. Interested in what this act says about this person and their time, the artists assess how collectors are often drawn to certain properties of their collectibles rather than the object itself. “Collecting the uncollectible (which is motion in this series) shows a desire for the inconceivable, the ephemeral,” says Bastian and Per. “Our work hints at this fictitious collector who has the urge to not only possess static objects, but also ephemeral moments. And this reflects on us today, we have a desire to record and store moments on our phones; to display and share them.”

In the two new installations exploring the collection of motion through waterfalls and rockets, Humans since 1982 astutely communicate their ideas through the screens of multiple smartphones placed on ordinary black shelves. The team animated waterfalls to run timelessly and without a sense of place. “We wanted the waterfalls to be extracted from their context, focusing on the motion and not the environment,” the artists continue.

Unpacking the essence of a waterfall, Per and Bastian assess how it is the speed, volume, light and reflections of a waterfall which can be artificially recreated to bear an uncanny resemblance to a waterfall. “These visual simulations are distinct in that they do not flow continuously but repeatedly start and end, capturing the idealised form of a waterfall.”

For Humans since 1982, good ideas can’t be forced. They implement certain routines in the studio to facilitate the flow of thought across a variety of disciplines. Taking the time to get together one morning every week to share inter-disciplinary ideas, the studio values its members overlapping knowledge and culture to add diversity to its ideas. As for the founders of the studio, the creatives take one week per month to research and develop new ideas. They hang sketches of the best ideas on a wall, and if the idea is still hanging there after three months, it is taken further. “An idea has to stand the test of time” concludes Per and Bastian.

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Humans since 1982: Collection of Motion: Waterfalls

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Humans since 1982: Collection of Motion: Waterfalls

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Humans since 1982: Collection of Motion: Waterfalls

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Humans since 1982: Collection of Motion: Waterfalls

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Humans since 1982: Collection of Motion: Rockets

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Humans since 1982: Collection of Motion: Rockets