Tipping Point, 2015
Artipelag konsthall, spring 2015
Deus ex machina, from the Greek theos ek mēkhanēs, means “god from a machine”. The term was originally used in Greek theatre, in which actors representing gods were suspended by ropes on a mechanism above the stage. At the end of the performance, the gods would come to the rescue or create a divine intervention that influenced the ending of the story. In modern usage, deus ex machina means an event or force that salvages a seemingly hopeless situation.
In the performance installation Tipping Point, the audience meets a giant mobile placed in a dark room. The mobile consists of tilting arms from which platforms and counterweights are hung. The platforms are peopled by actors whose movements cause the mobile to rock. The counterweights are a slowly melting iceberg and a large black dot. The people moving on the platforms take on different roles; the weather god plays on the machines of old-fashioned theatres that were used to create the noise of wind and rain. The meteorologist in the middle of a parabolic antenna is receiving information about the following day through a number of weather instruments. On one platform is a vulnerable person in a state of flux, changing clothes according to the weather, while another person sits listening to the weather report on a stone formation in a diorama-like section of forest. The performance is a loop that cycles every 15 minutes.
The relationship and balance between man, machine and climate is a theme that Bigert & Bergström have worked with throughout their artistic career. Tipping Point is an attempt to develop this physical reasoning so that we can expand the discussion of climate change and methods for dealing with it. We need an unexpected force or event (good or bad) that can change the focus of the predicted climatological development – a deus ex machina.