Wang and Söderström
Wang and Söderström are interested in investigating the relationship between digital technologies, materials, and living things in the current and future digital and ecological shift.
Wang & Söderström is a Swedish-born, Copenhagen-based artist and design duo consisting of Anny Wang and Tim Söderström. They are interested in investigating the relationship of digital technologies, materials and living things in the current and future digital and ecological shift.
Our synthetic realities translate into sculptures, visual imagery and installations that bring craft, body, nature and technology together.
We are in complex co-dependent relationships, and data is the glue that binds us. Our homes, belongings, and what we leave behind are no longer bound to the tangible world: we are under surveillance and our digital personas and virtual lives leave vestiges of ourselves. Without forethought, we entrust these breadcrumbs to a handful of tech giants.
Nest of You is an interactive installation that deploys real-time machine learning and data harvesting to build a cybernest for a digital insectoid that thrives upon information. A section of the nest, akin to a formicarium, is presented on a precise surface. Visitors leave traces in the shape of movement, body parts, or objects, which are in turn translated into virtual elements. The digital insectoids collect this data by dismantling them, encrypting them, and then carrying them to the cybernest – a treasury of imprints.
The work draws parallels between the power of technology giants and giant queen ants in the context society’s routine-based flows, which feed the giants. When a termite queen and king die, the colony continues; a new royal couple emerges. If a queen in an ant colony dies, the colony perishes with it.
Before dying, wasp queens produce a new queen, which hibernates over the winter, leaving the colony to eventually die by way of disorientation. The biosphere has many examples of ruthless dependencies, posing the question: how would we behave if our tech giants suddenly ceased to exist?
In the ancient Chinese legend Pangu (盤古), the separator of sky (yang) and earth (yin), is said to have come from an egg. Once hatched, this giant lived for eighteen thousand years. When he died, the world we know emerged from his decaying body: flesh became soil, hair vegetation, his last breath became the wind. The parasites that once lived on his skin proliferated on the planet as animals.
Between Earth and Cloud takes this foundational myth as its point of departure. The sculptural installation, comprising two connected parts, presents a cacophony of parasitic traces, imprints, limbs, shells, and hybrid objects lit in ultraviolet. This black light, a wavelength undetectable by the human eye, symbolically suggests that life as we perceive it is only a fragment of the wider world.
Meditating on the inherent paradox of parasitical life, in which two or more organisms exist in a state of symbiosis, the work expands the notion of home. The podium, like Pangu’s egg, can be separated into two constituent parts that have an almost biological attraction between earth and sky, host and parasite, the analogue and the digital.