Graff’s site-specific work, States of Inflammation, reflects the artist’s main focus on the interconnectivity of everything material. ‘In our time, this carries a specific meaning, as it means our bodies are part of this gigantic material experiment, where new substances are being added to the mix through industrial production and pollution and we are losing some of our companion species – namely the bacteria that live on and with us. All of this changes our bodies into something new, something unknown.’ The sculptures are filled with a variety of materials such as minerals, metals, food stuff, and pigments made by bacteria or industrial waste, including trans fats from microwave popcorn, phthalates from Dove Sensitive antiperspirant sticks, and silica from road dust.
An investigation into the non-human world around us can also be found on the organic sculptures lying on the ground by nabbteeri, the Finnish artist duo of Janne Nabb and Maria Teeri. ‘We wanted to acknowledge the non-humans who share their spaces with us, starting from the materiality of Giardini and other places we've been inhabiting during this process,’ they explain. ‘We collected a variety of flora surplus from the Giardini, like decomposing organic matter, branches both dead and alive, and some saplings, as well as almost five cubic metres of sand, and local tap water. We wanted to focus on the movement of this matter and slow down the flux of maintenance that the humans have constructed around it.’ The installation includes a video in which a narrator describes their territory, which is about to shrink because of the approaching winter. Minor and major events, both fictional and autobiographical, are given equal consideration. The narrator conveys a sense of weltschmerz, and would be ready to dig themselves in the clay of the garden when winter comes. ‘The ongoing accelerated disconnection between humans and practically the rest of the known world is apt to arouse anxiety,’ the two artists state. ‘In recent times we've tried to find our way through it by doing focal practices, working with in-situ materials, working less, retreating. Through limitations and adapting we've been actually able to diversify our working palette, though most questions remain unanswered.’
A Great Seaweed Day is part of the project The Inner Ocean (ongoing since 2016), which arose from the premise that liquid found in mature ovary follicles of all terrestrial animals has the same salinity as the water the primal ocean once had, where the first life on Earth originated several million years ago. Today we all still carry this water of life within our bodies. All the works express this link between humans and the universe. ‘The green one is the gut weed (Ulva intestinalis),’ Ihrman handily explains, ‘a tubular green algae that is common in both Venice and Malmö, where I live. It is one of the first algae to settle on new shorelines and has small bubbles of air from photosynthesis inside, which enables it to float just below the water surface. If the gut weed is an intestine and the body is a marine landscape, the small air bubbles becomes the inner wind of the belly – flatulence.’