Itziar Barrio

Itziar Barrio: "Let Us Go Back to the Beginning". Solo show at Salt Galata, Istanbul, Turkey. 23.05 > 29.09.24

Let Us Go Back to the Beginning is a new iteration of Itziar Barrio’s Material trilogy, comprising film-based projects and newly commissioned sculptures that explore the intersections of technology, labor, identity, and matter.

How do scientific breakthroughs transform our understanding of what it means to inhabit this world? What is the social function of technology, both as a product of human labor and as an agent shaping collective perception? Drawing on these questions, Barrio weaves together discourses from various fields, including astrophysics, anthropology, and robotics engineering, with speculative narratives that address the interplay between social constructs, cultural values, and the production of “objective” knowledge.

The first part of the trilogy, A Demon That Slips into Your Telescopes While You’re Dead Tired and Blocks the Light (2020), looks at scientific discoveries charting the course of technological progress and astronomical phenomena at the edge of human perception. It probes into the notion of planetary imagination through astronomical studies that seek to materialize the indeterminate or non-visible. Employing video and robotic sculptures, ROBOTA MML (2019-ongoing) follows the etymological origins of the term robot, first used in Karel Čapek’s science-fiction play R.U.R. (1920). The characters of this play, set in a factory where robots are built to alleviate human labor, are repositioned in a contemporary context sensitive to the function of the body, identity, and gender. The final chapter, Particle Matter (2021), presented in the Salt Research space, is a materialist inquiry into manifestations of the micro, incorporating audio recordings from the anechoic chamber at Nokia Bell Labs (New Jersey, USA) with images of dust, pollen, steam, smoke, and various geological events. Produced with the collaboration of sound artist Seth Cluett, the video highlights the interactions between seemingly distant or opposing forces. Site-specific interventions accompanying the first and second chapters spread across Salt Galata.

Let Us Go Back to the Beginning is a multilayered exploration of the material world, scientific inquiry, and the sensory dimensions of lived experience. The exhibition expands on the idea of communal existence and how bodies constitute the locus of memory and perception. The entanglements between human, non-human, and machine-driven come to the fore, prompting a reflection on the constructed nature of our social realities.

Let Us Go Back to the Beginning is programmed by Fatma Çolakoğlu and designed by Emirhan Altuner from Salt. Accompanying public programs will be announced at saltonline.org and Salt’s social media channels.

Tags: exhibition