Julieta Aranda (New York/Berlin): Exercises on Desire and ‘Exotic Matter’, with Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (director Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin) and Miguel Alcubierre (director Nuclear Sciences Institute for UNAM, Mexico City).

A new exercise of desire

In physics, ‘exotic matter’ is a term used to describe conditions and materials that are difficult to produce, and that have very unusual (exotic) properties once they are produced. No one knows for certain if exotic matter really exists. Currently, it is only a mathematical possibility.

For Aranda, ‘exotic matter’ sets the stage for a new definition of materiality and of material relationships to the world, particularly interesting at this point, where things appear to be uncomfortably straddled between real and virtual versions of themselves.

Julieta Aranda tries to understand the nature of ‘exotic matter,’ by way of transhistorical apples – objects that both define us as beings capable of acquiring knowledge and that represent our material state: bound to the world. An apple to embody the desire to know, and also as the desire to move and trade the acquired knowledge –in boats and planes and spaceships. An apple of discord, as the lines through which knowledge moves get territorialized and transformed into borders. An apple as a repository of energy and desire.

An apple as an object that defines us as beings capable of acquiring knowledge, and as a representation of our material state: bound to the world, attracted by the world, gripped by the world… falling into the world at a steady 9.81 m/s2.