Lise Autogena x Joshua Portway

SADACCA - Saturday & Sunday

Lise Autogena x Joshua Portway


Title: 196.85 ml/h
The title is defined by the location - as it will list the calculated frequency at which water will drip when flooding a set cubic meter space at the rate of the oceans rising - (eg the previous title of the work was 26.81187215 ml/hour) 

From the ceiling water is dripping to the floor. These are not random drops, but based on careful calculations. The work is a kind of hourglass: the frequency of the droplets is calibrated according to the speed at which the world’s oceans rise as a result of global warming. Thus, the bunker is slowly flooded at the same rate as our planet.

Thus, the works essentially address the issue of the altered timescales introduced by the concept of the Anthropocene. How to relate to questions of time and finality, when viewing human history in relation to planetary processes and an unfathomable future? How does it affect our self-perception, when hours, days, weeks and years no longer suffice as measurements of time? 

In this work an extremely accurate computer controlled laboratory pump produces a drip of water that slowly creates a puddle on the floor of the space in which it is exhibited; the puddle grows through the duration of the exhibition. The rate of flow of the water is precisely calibrated to the exhibition space, so that it causes the water level in the room to rise at exactly the same rate that the oceans are rising. Seen this way, the flow of water is shockingly fast - in a 15m x 15m room there will be a drop every 1.95 seconds - this feels urgently tangible in a way that the raw numbers of ocean rise (3.6mm/year) don’t convey. 

The drop of water is staged and lit so that it becomes the dramatic focus of the room with each drop hanging for a moment in a spotlight before falling and splashing on the floor. The quiet yet insistent rhythm of the drops draws attention to the passing of time, but creates a space conducive to quiet meditation.




Joshua Portway (UK) and Lise Autogena (DK) have worked together since the early 90’s, developing large-scale multimedia installations, site-specific works and performances. Using video, custom-built technologies and large-scale data visualisations, their projects include: Growing Cities Like Plants, a project using the regulatory system of plant growth for city planning (Sainsbury Plant Laboratory/Cambridge University, 2016). Most Blue Skies, a project locating and visualising the bluest sky in the world (Domaine de Chamarande, Paris 2012, Arts Catalyst, 2011,Tensta Kunsthal, 2010, Nikolaj Kunsthal/COP15, 2009, Gwangju Biennial, 2006). Black Shoals; Dark Matter - stock market Planetarium (Somerset House, ArtScience Museum Singapore, 2016; Nikolaj Kunsthal, 2004; Tate Britain, 2000). Untitled; superorganism - a simulated ant mill (Anthropocene Monument - Les Abattoirs Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Globale: Exo-Evolution, ZKM 2015). In 2013 Autogena and Portway developed Foghorn Requiem, a concert for a disappearing sound, performed by the Souter Lighthouse foghorn, 3 brass bands and 50 ships on the North Sea.  Autogena and Portway are currently working with The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) on several projects that explore the idea of a ‘slow crisis room’. They have since 2014 documented the social, cultural and democratic challenges involved in the siting of a uranium mine in South Greenland. Lise Autogena is a Fellow of the Arts Foundation and the National Endowment of Science, Technology and The Arts and a Professor of Cross-Disciplinary Art at the Creative and Cultural Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Lise Autogena is a Danish born artist and Professor of Cross-Disciplinary Art at Sheffield Hallam University. She studied fine art curating, fine art and architecture at Goldsmiths College, UEL and Surrey Institute. Autogena is a Fellow of the Arts Foundation and the National Endowment of Science, Technology and The Arts.