When Stones Are Talking…
Public monument, installation (engraved stone)
120 x 140 x 100 cm each
Location: Corneliu Miklosi Public Transport Museum
Stones are not what they appear to be…
(in the words of a stone hunter)
In 2022 many parts of the world were affected by drought or severe flooding and Europe was in the midst of the worst drought in five hundred years. When rivers became unnavigable, they exposed a type of hydrological landmark known as Hungersteine (Hunger stones). For centuries, these stones have been used as hydrological markers, with engraved messages on their surface such as “If you see me weep”, or “Life will flourish again once this stone is gone”.
Placed in riverbeds, the stones appear as a climatic warning and disappear when water levels return to normal. We were inspired by the way such a stone communicates, simply by appearing or disappearing.
The work consists of a series of stones of different sizes on the surface of which are engraved messages reminding us of climate engineering and its commodification and weaponisation by the agricultural industry and military technology.
In the context of current climate change, the work becomes a sensor of hydrological manifestations and at the same time an invisible public monument located in the Bega riverbed, perhaps the most discreet monument of Timișoara.
Perpetual Harvest, 2023
Installation (woven wheat straw)
7 objects, 90x15x15 cm each
in collaboration with the artisan Fazakas Angéla
Location: Comenduirea Garnizoanei (The Garrison)
“Who controls the food supply, controls the people,” said a former US secretary of state.
Essential to human life, food has always been used as a weapon of choice in almost every conflict, including the present Russia-Ukraine war. Preventing food exports can cause much more damage than any bomb or missile. That's why food supplies are guarded with the same level of security as bomber planes. One could call it primitive ballistics. But food is not a weapon that destroys life, it sustains it instead.
A harvest ritual, as old as the "primitive ballistics", symbolically weaves together the last standing stalks of wheat on a harvested field. This is cut and woven into an object called the spirit of the harvest. When spring comes, the seeds in the weaving are mixed with the spring planting, returning the spirit to the field. Today, this ritual has disappeared along with the wheat fields.
The work Perpetual Harvest weaves straws of wheat into different types of missile rockets, thus commenting on the absurdity of war, political power dynamics, economic inequality, social injustice, and the limited power of world organisations.
Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan have been working collaboratively since 2012. They live and work between Bucharest and Vienna. Their practice is research-driven, instigated by the hidden or invisible patterns behind certain historical, social or geopolitical narratives, and articulated through a range of materials, formats and media including installation, video and performance. The relationship between history and environment, climate, ecology and the politics of resources are often at the centre of their projects.
They are the recipients of The Birgit Jürgenssen Prize 2022, awarded by The Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture (BMKOES) and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
Their works have been shown in Territories of Waste, Museum Tinguely, Basel (2022-2023); Artists' Film International, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022-2023); Biennale Matter of Art, Prague (2022); Weather Engines, Onassis Stegi, Athens (2022); 39th EVA International - Ireland’s Biennial (2021); The Normal, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2021); Subnature, Trafo Gallery, Budapest (2021-solo); Overview Effect, Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade (2021); Potential Worlds, Migros Museum, Zurich (2020-2021); Slow Life, Ludwig Museum, Budapest/Koblenz (2020-2021); Persona, MUCEM Marseille (2019); The Last Particles, 40mcube, Rennes (2019 – solo); Art Encounters Biennial, Timișoara (2019, 2017); Ground Control, Centrala, Birmingham (2018 – solo); Manufacturing nature / Naturalizing the synhetic, Frac des Pays de la Loire, Nantes (2018); The Call of the Outside, tranzit.ro/Cluj (2018 – solo); Natural Histories. Traces of the Political, MUMOK Vienna (2017); Off Biennale, Budapest (2017, 2015); Dreams&Dramas. Law as Literature, nGbk Berlin (2017); Sounds and Sites, The Jewish Museum, New York (2016); Global Control and Censorship, ZKM, Karlsruhe (2016); Vienna Biennale, MAK, Vienna (2015); The School of Kyiv - Kyiv Biennial (2015); Der Brancusi Effekt, Kunsthalle Wien (2014); We were so few and so many of us are left, tranzit.ro/Bucharest, tranzit.hu/Budapest (2013 – solo); Mum, am I Barbarian? 13th Istanbul Biennial, (2013); Intense Proximity, La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris/France (2012); Navigating London’s Lost Rivers, Camden Arts Center, London (2011 – solo).