Benera & Estefan took part in both phases of the project “Overview Effect”. In the first phase, in the MoCAB Sculpture Park the art work “The Call of the Outside” was realized. The installation is a model of a rocket ship which hosts a garden and a film program for plants. The rocket ship model is inspired by the scientific work of Hermann Oberth, one of the Romanian pioneers of space travel, Fritz Lang’s scientific consultant for the film “Woman on the Moon” (1931). If the first science fiction movies about Outer space were utopian travels, today, SF technology from those times became a reality. The first human outpost in space is being built, and next year Planetary Resources will start asteroid mining. Today, the space race for Mars is actually between corporations, not between states as it was during the Cold War. Humans see Outer space as the last place of refuge instead of understanding that the only spaceship that can save and host human life is the Earth.
The second work “Proxy Climates” is exhibited inside the MoCAB building. It shows artist’s interest in paleoclimatology, and pollen (in particular) as a data proxy. Paleoclimatology relies on proxy records such as an ice core, tree rings, diatoms, and pollen samples, amongst others. Climate proxies provide the only means for scientists to determine past climatic patterns. The artists have been collecting pollen grains from dry land regions caught in the process of desertification where vegetation is slowly vanishing, such as “the new Sahara” region of intense aridity in Southern Romania, the Deliblato Sands region in Serbia, and also from specific regions in Hungary, Greece, and Southern Spain. The collected pollen samples are presented in the shape of geological cores.
Anca Benera (1977) and Arnold Estefan (1978) live and work in Vienna and Bucharest. They are working together since 2011. Their work encompasses installation, video and performance, exploring the invisible patterns that lie behind certain historical, social or geopolitical narratives. In previous works they question notions of national identity, history-writing and the political and cultural concept of territory. Their more recent practice – a body of work under the umbrella title “Debrisphere” (an imaginary new stratum of the Earth) – revolves around the overexploitation of natural resources, extractivism, infrastructure, and the military and political impact on the environment.
Benera and Estefan are co-founders of the Centre for Visual Introspection in Bucharest where they curated a series of workshops, public art projects and publications between 2008 and 2011. Their works have been exhibited at MUMOK Vienna; 13 th Istanbul Biennial; La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo Paris; The Jewish Museum, New York; Kunsthalle Wien; nGbK Berlin; MUCEM Marseille; ZKM | Karlsruhe; The School of Kyiv; Off Biennial Budapest; Camden Arts Center, London; tranzit.ro/Bucharest; 40mcube, Rennes; LaBF15, Lyon; Centrala Gallery, Birmingham; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; and Migros Museum, Zurich.