Ways of Being: Speculative Scenes Regarding Laura Põld’s Installation for viennacontemporary 2023
Text by Gary Markle
Scene One – Belonging
July 2023. Climate-crisis summer. She is at a lake in the mountains of Upper Austria, about to take a swim. She enters the deep cold water. After some time, her body begins to relax visibly. In water, She can move and glide in a way not possible on dry land. She lifts her gaze from the lake’s depth to the peaks of the mountains and the verdant meadows connecting them. From the water, She sees the mountains, the trees, the raspberry brambles and their thorns, and light, light, light. And claims a state of belonging in this (foreign) land. In this place, She recognizes the origins of her recent imaginings. Here, in this lake encircled by mountains, She finds her work’s meaning. Earlier, in her studio in Tallinn, she created layer-by-layer, more-than-human canvases made of green-hued bioplastic. She sees these skins as sheets of algae composed of wool and broken eggshells, among other things—a oating island to support her ideas. Algae is a perfect metaphor for the worlding involved here, for it belongs to a material classification that is not fixed; The kingdom Protist to which algae is assigned is a catchall category for a range of organisms best defined by what they are not.