- 3 2 1  °F  |  i n   s a r c o p h a g o   
v i v u m   a e r i
-321 °F | in sarcophago vivum aeri, installation view at St. James Hatcham Building G03, Goldsmiths, University of London, Jun 2021
works shown in the image (from left to right): Archive, , Milieu in|ex|térieurand
in sarcophago vivum aeri 1̵̨̥͇͚̽͗́3̵̰̆̈3̵̥̝͈̤̙͕̈͋̀͛͝͝͝͝°̵̤̩̓̇ͅ ̷̲͛7̵͈̃9̵̗̳͔͕̮̻̟̓̈̀̕.̸̗̀̀̈́̐͆̈́͝5̷͇̰͇͉̗̝͑̿1̴̢̡̖͙̓͒͒́̒̎5̴͖͕̗͙̿̍̂̈̑́̈́̒̕͜ ̷̺̿̉͠N̶͉̗͚̍̀͗̀͝͝ ̴̧͉̝̽̊̓͐͠0̷̢̩̥̝̣͔̼̲͐̄͂͗͌1̸͕̈2̶̺̠͍͈͙͍̻͕̾̀̈͊̀°̵̘͗͋͂͛̅͒̌ͅ ̶̺͕̘̱̮̅̍͊̃͛̓9̸̨̩̱͕̥͚̲̩̀̌̄͜͝͝0̴͇͍̲̰͇̩̪̆̍̽̌͝.̷͖͛̓͆͠7̸̡̬͓͎͛́̈͗̓̐͆͗̚9̸͍̦̍7̷̮̯̱͈͖̱̰̓͛͒͛̿̈́͘͘ ̵̢̬̗̣̥̻̭̙͙͋̏͌Ë̴̠̣͚̥̙̣͙́̽͋̑̈̎̌͊ͅ
Sculpture, installation, live art, archive
Jun 2021 (ongoing)

in sarcophago vivum aeri 
2020, June 2021
L175*W60*H50 CM
Microcrystalline wax, glass wax, 390 litres of reverse osmosis filtrated dyed onyx coloured seawater fr
om 133° 79.515 N  012° 90.797 E (undisclosed location)
The transportation of water was temporarily delayed by the global pandemic and the changes in trade policies for export from the EU.
The wax sculpture and icicle suspension could be seen as a single work or as two separate pieces.

-321 °F
May 2021
Dimensions variable (icicles), L47.5*W58*H85 CM (freezer)
Seawater icicles made of water transported from 133° 79.515 N 012° 90.797 E, freezer 
Viewers are free to open the freezer to inspect what is inside.

1̵̨̥͇͚̽͗́3̵̰̆̈3̵̥̝͈̤̙͕̈͋̀͛͝͝͝͝°̵̤̩̓̇ͅ ̷̲͛7̵͈̃9̵̗̳͔͕̮̻̟̓̈̀̕.̸̗̀̀̈́̐͆̈́͝5̷͇̰͇͉̗̝͑̿1̴̢̡̖͙̓͒͒́̒̎5̴͖͕̗͙̿̍̂̈̑́̈́̒̕͜ ̷̺̿̉͠N̶͉̗͚̍̀͗̀͝͝ ̴̧͉̝̽̊̓͐͠0̷̢̩̥̝̣͔̼̲͐̄͂͗͌1̸͕̈2̶̺̠͍͈͙͍̻͕̾̀̈͊̀°̵̘͗͋͂͛̅͒̌ͅ ̶̺͕̘̱̮̅̍͊̃͛̓9̸̨̩̱͕̥͚̲̩̀̌̄͜͝͝0̴͇͍̲̰͇̩̪̆̍̽̌͝.̷͖͛̓͆͠7̸̡̬͓͎͛́̈͗̓̐͆͗̚9̸͍̦̍7̷̮̯̱͈͖̱̰̓͛͒͛̿̈́͘͘ ̵̢̬̗̣̥̻̭̙͙͋̏͌Ë̴̠̣͚̥̙̣͙́̽͋̑̈̎̌͊ͅ

June 2021
Live art
Duration: Continuous
Dimensions variable
Seawater icicle made of water transported from 133° 79.515 N 012° 90.797 E, ceiling suspension, stainless steel cable ropes
The icicle gradually melts over time and drips water into the sarcophagus, which is in sarcophago vivum aeri (June 2021).
The wax sculpture and icicle suspension could be seen as a single work or as two separate pieces.

May 2021
Dimensions variable
Microcrystalline wax, glass wax, crystal glass beaded chains, steel chains, torchlights

May 2021
L119.5*W29.5CM (LED panel), Dimensions variable (bulletin board)
Photographic images on acetate film, giclée print, research articles, news reports on Essex lorry deaths incident and the lawsuit against the cryonic organisation, cryonic organisation brochure, stainless steel laboratory scissor jack stand, double ocular loupe, sand and small stones caught in the steel structure of the IBC, ceiling suspension, stainless steel cable ropes, LED panel, bulletin board

Milieu in|ex|térieur
June 2021
Dimensions variable
(Dark coloured areas on the map at the bottom of this page) Splashes of dyed seawater (transported from 133° 79.515 N 012° 90.797 E) on the floor inside the room and in the courtyard

IBC 1000 K 150.50-UN
May 2021
L120*W100*H116 CM
1000L intermediate bulk container (IBC), 610-litre reverse osmosis filtrated seawater from 133° 79.515 N  012° 90.797 E,  recycled polypropylene nestable pallet

Documentation of an action spanning 6 hours
Single-channel video
21 minutes, looped

Performance documentation
L15.4*W11.3 CM
Polaroid photographs, giclée print

-321 °F | in sarcophago vivum aeri is a body of work in a research project catalysed by the series of events that in their own ways have marked the commencement of the mystifying, surreal era of 2010-2200-, punctuated by several junctures:

I. The cryopreserved head and the subsequent lawsuit against a private cryonics organisation by a Montana man, the son of the late cryogenic scientist whose head has been subjected to the detachment from the esteemed body upon cryopreservation¹

II. The Essex lorry deaths incident on 23 Oct 2019 in which 39 Vietnamese nationals (at first falsely reported as Chinese nationals due to the Asian physical and facial attributes without any official identification) were found frozen to death in the articulated refrigerator lorry they were trafficked in after the freezer had been unknowingly switched on.² After the initial intense waves of shame, it became especially shocking to me because such a horrendous incident has happened in relatively close temporal and geographical proximity to when and where I have been living. And as a person sharing similar ethnic backgrounds, it has left a seemingly irrational but chilling imprint in my mind: it might have been me, if I had been born into a different family, a different socio-economic background, a different country, etc. / with a different fate. 

The work is in the form of the reflection of the aforementioned intermingling strands of real-life events turned clues that have underscored and perhaps trans-spatiotemporally informed each other in the parallel of their visceral, tragic aftermaths, both of which were caused by the processes of cryopreservation and/or refrigeration. Engineered to preserve goods (refrigeration) and human bodies for potential revival (cryopreservation processes used in cryonics) in a more technologically advanced era, cryopreservation and refrigeration in these cases ironically became what prematurely ended lives or possibly deprived one of any chance of living another.

'-321 °F' in the title refers to the approximate temperature that biological constructs susceptible to damage by uncontrolled chemical kinetics are cooled to using liquid nitrogen in cryopreservation. The works in the installation feature the condensation from the immaterial to material (or the other way around), from events to material evidence / vestiges, from the real to the parafictionalised, in a deranged crepuscular speculative homemade laboratory environment (adapted from a self-contained religious space with a high vaulted ceiling) that possibly belongs to an absent renegade scientist. The lab is perhaps set up to study the objects concocted from a mixture of sci fi canons, rhetorics of weaponry and weaponisation (specifically the weaponisation of ice/water elaborated in the next section), interfacing with neogothic lores, mythologies, and the biotechnological sublime, which underpins and mystifies the aforementioned strands/clues and the entanglement among them.

In -321 °F (May 2021) and 1̵̨̥͇͚̽͗́3̵̰̆̈3̵̥̝͈̤̙͕̈͋̀͛͝͝͝͝°̵̤̩̓̇ͅ ̷̲͛7̵͈̃9̵̗̳͔͕̮̻̟̓̈̀̕.̸̗̀̀̈́̐͆̈́͝5̷͇̰͇͉̗̝͑̿1̴̢̡̖͙̓͒͒́̒̎5̴͖͕̗͙̿̍̂̈̑́̈́̒̕͜ ̷̺̿̉͠N̶͉̗͚̍̀͗̀͝͝ ̴̧͉̝̽̊̓͐͠0̷̢̩̥̝̣͔̼̲͐̄͂͗͌1̸͕̈2̶̺̠͍͈͙͍̻͕̾̀̈͊̀°̵̘͗͋͂͛̅͒̌ͅ ̶̺͕̘̱̮̅̍͊̃͛̓9̸̨̩̱͕̥͚̲̩̀̌̄͜͝͝0̴͇͍̲̰͇̩̪̆̍̽̌͝.̷͖͛̓͆͠7̸̡̬͓͎͛́̈͗̓̐͆͗̚9̸͍̦̍7̷̮̯̱͈͖̱̰̓͛͒͛̿̈́͘͘ ̵̢̬̗̣̥̻̭̙͙͋̏͌Ë̴̠̣͚̥̙̣͙́̽͋̑̈̎̌͊ͅ (Jun 2021), 

Ice is sourced for its amorphous quality, ubiquity, malleability, and its transition of states (from liquid to solid) as a requisite for its weaponisation. Seeing that ice (specifically the icicles in the two pieces mentioned, made from frozen seawater transported from 133° 79.515 N 012° 90.797 E) is unsuspected and 'invisible' (between transparent and translucent), and yet a lethal, untraceable weapon, this references and gives new meaning to the notion of ‘be like water’ in the rhetorics of duelling, martial arts, and liquidation (in terms of both killing and business assets, often used as exit strategies— exiting the present, the [corporate] body, etc.). 
To a certain extent, procedural biotechnological bodily oriented processes by their symbolic function are not just ‘used/abused’ in closed wards, but exists outside the much perused context of medical institutions as well in the more subtle, ubiquitous forms of state/publicly-sanctioned brutality. Alluding to the biotechnological processes of cryopreservation, water/ice as weapons, and the act of putting a stake through the heart in the subjugation of the 'other' in neogothic lores, the work parallels the futility of bodies, the resistance against, and the defence of them on the larger scale, revealing and integrating with its Sisyphean cycle. (How do we resuscitate bodies in perpetual open season?)

in sarcophago vivum aeri (Jun 2021), part of the installation -321 °F | in sarcophago vivum aeri, is a container-process-sculpture, a manifestation of the notion that the sea has been in some way a gigantic collective sarcophagus. Composed of the crystallised remains (S H E A R, Feb 2021) of ceromancy (a form of divination of possible Celtic and Ancient Roman origins; the process of ceromancy in this piece was conducted in the seawater within the sarcophagus. The seawater within was transported from 133° 79.515 N 012° 90.797 Eand mirroring the landscape formation of inland seas (or mostly enclosed seas, oftentimes territorial waters or part of the world's exclusive economic zones), the piece becomes the nexus of interwoven time and potential futures, straddling the transcription of the material-semiotic relation, word play in metaphorical constructs, and the in-process inspection of something/sometime/somewhere exceptionally grim. The spiritual syntaxes of augury, ceremony, and obsequies embodied in the materiality of white translucent wax and the process of transporting water (Torque | Pt. I & II, May 2021) from 133° 79.515 N 012° 90.797 E using an IBC (intermediate bulk container) -- paralleling the movement and displacement of bodies carried across continents and waters -- coagulate in the middle, as a tribute, a metaphorical resting place beyond time, an inversion of the relation between a vessel and a body of water, and the intensive signification of the notion (the sea as a collective sarcophagus) that has haunted me throughout all this time. In ◑ 133° 79.515 N  012° 90.797 E | pt. I & II (Mar 2021) and subsequently  (May 2021), the first few iterations of this body of work, white translucent wax pieces made from ceromancy (its process echoes the motion in which bodies fall into water) are chained onto polypropylene nestable pallets (often used in transporting goods and IBC water containers) and illuminated by LED and torchlights, alluding to the aftermaths of search parties and carcasses found in and brought out of water. 

The existent pieces in the body of work -321 °F| in sarcophago vivum aeri are made in the development of a (speculative) 3-to-5-year or ongoing commitment to becoming a cryogenic lab assistant and then a cryogenic consultant to a transcontinental syndicate involved in human trafficking so as to ensure the survival of trafficked humans in cryogenic containers via the carefully regulated process of cryopreservation³ or cryosleep, in a sustained gesture of care and empathy that is also legally, politically, and ethically complicit, and complicit due to its inextricability from my own ‘otherness’.

Exploring the sacrality of the liminal space between life, death and beyond, necropolitics, and the continual questioning of my own positionality as a maker, a person with a peripatetic personal and family history imbued with generational diasporic trauma, the work is a reflection of the trajectories and struggle of bodies victimised by ideologies, in transgression, across systems of governance, bodies of water, the surfaces of the dark waters of nation-state promises and collective longing for a community and identity in perpetual becoming, all of which have been aided, prostheticised, sabotaged, and/or eternalised by technologies and the technoscientific imaginary. It is a dedication to all the bodies that have been found and lost in the sea and beyond, the diasporic, and ‘us’.


¹Jessa Schroeder, ‘Arizona Cryogenics Firm Sued for $1million by Dead Scientist’s Son’, Mail Online, 10 September 2018, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6149939/Arizona-cryogenics-firm-sued-1million-dead-scientists-son.html; James Gordon, ‘Son’s Legal Fight for Dead Dad’s Frozen Head against Cryogenics Firm’, Mail Online, 19 January 2020, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7903137/Sons-legal-fight-dead-fathers-frozen-head-against-cryogenics-firm-preserving-it.html. Updates on the Alcor v. Pilgeram case: 17CV05172 September 18, 2020. Trellis. https://trellis.law/ruling/17CV05172/Alcor-Life-Extension-Foundation-vs-Karl-E-Pilgeram-et-al/20200918c20645 October 23, 2020. https://trellis.law/ruling/17CV05172/Alcor-Life-Extension-Foundation-vs-Karl-E-Pilgeram-et-al/202010235184.

²‘Irish Company Confirms It Leased Trailer Found in Essex’, RTE, 24 October 2019, https://www.rte.ie/news/world/2019/1024/1085287-migrant-deaths/; ‘Essex Lorry Deaths: Bodies of Victims Have All Been Identified’, BBC News, 7 November 2019, sec. Essex, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-essex-50333559.

³Shufaro, Yoel, and Joseph G. Schenker. "Cryopreservation of Human Genetic Material." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1205, no. 1 (2010): 220-24. ‘What Does Cryopreservation Do to Human Bodies?’, BBC News, 18 November 2016, sec. Health, https://www.bbc.com/news/health-38019392.

John Bradford, ‘Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitat For Human Stasis To Mars | NASA’, NASA, 19 July 2013, https://www.nasa.gov/content/torpor-inducing-transfer-habitat-for-human-stasis-to-mars; Loura Hall, ‘Advancing Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats for Human Stasis to Mars’, NASA, 10 May 2016, https://www.nasa.gov/feature/advancing-torpor-inducing-transfer-habitats-for-human-stasis-to-mars; Nordeen, Claire A, and Sandra L Martin. "Engineering Human Stasis for Long-Duration Spaceflight." Physiology (Bethesda, Md.) 34, no. 2 (2019): 101-111.

in sarcophago vivum aeri 1̵̨̥͇͚̽͗́3̵̰̆̈3̵̥̝͈̤̙͕̈͋̀͛͝͝͝͝°̵̤̩̓̇ͅ ̷̲͛7̵͈̃9̵̗̳͔͕̮̻̟̓̈̀̕.̸̗̀̀̈́̐͆̈́͝5̷͇̰͇͉̗̝͑̿1̴̢̡̖͙̓͒͒́̒̎5̴͖͕̗͙̿̍̂̈̑́̈́̒̕͜ ̷̺̿̉͠N̶͉̗͚̍̀͗̀͝͝ ̴̧͉̝̽̊̓͐͠0̷̢̩̥̝̣͔̼̲͐̄͂͗͌1̸͕̈2̶̺̠͍͈͙͍̻͕̾̀̈͊̀°̵̘͗͋͂͛̅͒̌ͅ ̶̺͕̘̱̮̅̍͊̃͛̓9̸̨̩̱͕̥͚̲̩̀̌̄͜͝͝0̴͇͍̲̰͇̩̪̆̍̽̌͝.̷͖͛̓͆͠7̸̡̬͓͎͛́̈͗̓̐͆͗̚9̸͍̦̍7̷̮̯̱͈͖̱̰̓͛͒͛̿̈́͘͘ ̵̢̬̗̣̥̻̭̙͙͋̏͌Ë̴̠̣͚̥̙̣͙́̽͋̑̈̎̌͊ͅ
installation view, Jun 2021

1̵̨̥͇͚̽͗́3̵̰̆̈3̵̥̝͈̤̙͕̈͋̀͛͝͝͝͝°̵̤̩̓̇ͅ ̷̲͛7̵͈̃9̵̗̳͔͕̮̻̟̓̈̀̕.̸̗̀̀̈́̐͆̈́͝5̷͇̰͇͉̗̝͑̿1̴̢̡̖͙̓͒͒́̒̎5̴͖͕̗͙̿̍̂̈̑́̈́̒̕͜ ̷̺̿̉͠N̶͉̗͚̍̀͗̀͝͝ ̴̧͉̝̽̊̓͐͠0̷̢̩̥̝̣͔̼̲͐̄͂͗͌1̸͕̈2̶̺̠͍͈͙͍̻͕̾̀̈͊̀°̵̘͗͋͂͛̅͒̌ͅ ̶̺͕̘̱̮̅̍͊̃͛̓9̸̨̩̱͕̥͚̲̩̀̌̄͜͝͝0̴͇͍̲̰͇̩̪̆̍̽̌͝.̷͖͛̓͆͠7̸̡̬͓͎͛́̈͗̓̐͆͗̚9̸͍̦̍7̷̮̯̱͈͖̱̰̓͛͒͛̿̈́͘͘ ̵̢̬̗̣̥̻̭̙͙͋̏͌Ë̴̠̣͚̥̙̣͙́̽͋̑̈̎̌͊ͅ, Jun 2021

in sarcophago vivum aeri, Jun 2021 

Archive, installation view pt. I, Jun 2021 

Archive, installation view pt. II, Jun 2021 

, installation view pt. I, Jun 2021 

, installation view pt. II, Jun 2021 

Milieu in|ex|térieur, and , installation view, Jun 2021 

-321 °F, Archive, and , installation view, Jun 2021 

1̵̨̥͇͚̽͗́3̵̰̆̈3̵̥̝͈̤̙͕̈͋̀͛͝͝͝͝°̵̤̩̓̇ͅ ̷̲͛7̵͈̃9̵̗̳͔͕̮̻̟̓̈̀̕.̸̗̀̀̈́̐͆̈́͝5̷͇̰͇͉̗̝͑̿1̴̢̡̖͙̓͒͒́̒̎5̴͖͕̗͙̿̍̂̈̑́̈́̒̕͜ ̷̺̿̉͠N̶͉̗͚̍̀͗̀͝͝ ̴̧͉̝̽̊̓͐͠0̷̢̩̥̝̣͔̼̲͐̄͂͗͌1̸͕̈2̶̺̠͍͈͙͍̻͕̾̀̈͊̀°̵̘͗͋͂͛̅͒̌ͅ ̶̺͕̘̱̮̅̍͊̃͛̓9̸̨̩̱͕̥͚̲̩̀̌̄͜͝͝0̴͇͍̲̰͇̩̪̆̍̽̌͝.̷͖͛̓͆͠7̸̡̬͓͎͛́̈͗̓̐͆͗̚9̸͍̦̍7̷̮̯̱͈͖̱̰̓͛͒͛̿̈́͘͘ ̵̢̬̗̣̥̻̭̙͙͋̏͌Ë̴̠̣͚̥̙̣͙́̽͋̑̈̎̌͊ͅ, Jun 2021

ArchiveMilieu in|ex|térieur, and installation view, Jun 2021 
IBC 1000 K 150.50-UN
IBC 1000 K 150.50-UN
Seawater stored in the IBC container was shipped from 133° 79.515 N 012° 90.797 E to London, UK, 2020 (ongoing), 2021

Torque, at 133° 79.515 N  012° 90.797 E (undisclosed location), performance documentation still, 2021 

IBC 1000 K 150.50-UN, and Milieu in|ex|térieur, installation view, Jun 2021 
© Vyvyan y. L. | 2022