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You Belong Elsewhere

You Belong Elsewhere, exhibition view, St.Gallen, 2024

You Belong Elsewhere, exhibition view. St.Gallen, 2024

Ashes to Ashes

Details & MaterialAbout

2,093g of captured Sahara dust and sand (130 probes)
910cm x 484cm
Installed in St. Gallen, Switzerland

Ashes to Ashes addresses the ambivalence of the palm and the palm landscape, examining its dual-symbolic representation as both a symbol of luxury and an exploitable resource as a production plant. The paradise symbolism of a palm tree beach serves as a lens and container for 42 liters of monochromatically glowing palm oil encased in a structure of untreated metal brackets, evoking associations of heavy-duty factory machinery.

Imagery of paradise-like palm beaches, captured on a research trip to the active volcanic island Pulau Weh in Indonesia, is sand-carved into the glass using burnt debris from former jungles, cut down to allocate space for palm oil monocultures. Recreating contemporary visual aspirations from the ashes of millennia of growth, life, and existence and framing the palm as a modern archetype that epitomizes the intersection of luxury and the anthropocentric divide, reflecting on our growing global desire for tropical aesthetics. Artificial palm islands have become iconic, universally recognizable symbols of modernity and affluence, while the pixelated patterns of palm oil monocultures transform into ambiguous, humanistic, forest-like landscapes. These landscapes have become essential to global capitalistic systems and urbanization processes, while being deeply affected by the Western perception of the palm itself, exemplifying the transformation and disassociation of nature from culture.