- 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
IBC 1000 K 150.50-UN
IBC 1000 K 150.50-UN
Shipping route for water stored in an IBC container to London, UK, 2020 (ongoing)

Sculpture, installation, live art, archive
Jun 2021 (ongoing)

in sarcophago vivum aeri 
2020 (ongoing), 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
The transportation of water is temporarily delayed by the global pandemic and the changes in trade policies for export from the EU.

-321 °F
May 2021
Dimensions variable (icicles), L47.5*W58*H85 CM (freezer)
Seawater icicles, 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, ceiling suspension, stainless steel cable ropes
The icicle gradually melts over time and drips water into the sarcophagus.

May 2021
Dimensions variable
Microcrystalline wax, glass wax, torchlights

May 2021
L119.5*W29.5CM (LED panel), Dimensions variable (bulletin board)
Photographic print on acetate film and inkjet photo paper, research articles, 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 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

May 2021
Documentation of an action spanning 6 hours
Single-channel video
21 minutes, looped

May 2021
L15.4*W11.3 CM
film, giclée print

-321 °F | in sarcophago vivum aeri is a body of work catalysed by the series of events that  in their own ways have marked the commencement of the highly mythologised / 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 being 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 underscore and perhaps have trans-spatiotemporally informed each other. '-321 °F' refers to the approximate temperature that biological constructs susceptible to damage by uncontrolled chemical kinetics are cooled to using liquid nitrogen in cryopreservation.

The work features the condensation from the immaterial to material (or the other way around), from events to the material evidence / vestiges, from the real to the parafictionalised, in a deranged crepuscular speculative homemade laboratory environment by 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 silver bullet, as in -321 °F | Pt. I, Nov 2020), its interfacing with neogothic lores, mythologies, and a kind of desire that underpins the technological sublime, which is in turn underpinning / demystifying / further mystifying the aforementioned strands/clues and the entanglement among them. While narrated with the poem ‘complicity_12.3.9.exe’, the two-channel video piece aeri.avi (Nov 2020) is also recontextualised by the process of filming during which questions of identity became confrontational and unresolved.

>>> Continuing from the rhetorics of ice/water, the body and its Sisyphean cycle explored in the work M E R ( C / Y ) (2020) and later 

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 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 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. In such ways, 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, ongoing), 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 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) and mirroring the landscape formation of an inland sea (or mostly enclosed sea, 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) across the continent (temporarily delayed and recontextualised by the global pandemic and changes in trade policies for export from the EU) 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 that has haunted me throughout all this time.

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’.

Informed by 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 heavily 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 aided/prostheticised, sabotaged, and/or eternalised by technologies / the technological / sci fi 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.

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.

© Vyvyan y. L. | 2022