In Floodline, nautical endlessness meets our civilization and vice versa. The threshold between the water and the earth is the meeting point of the untamed sea and civilization, the place where a periphery of possibilities unfold. Out of this endless, oceanic depth, an enchanting power brings peace and stillness to the human soul, while simultaneously representing the threat of constant storms. The unpredictability of the water’s destruction gives way to a multitude of risks: loss of home, belongings, community, or life. The water may easily turn our materialism, technology, and automation of human life into mud and undo its functions. In the face of natural forces, the simplicity and fragility of human life is reflected. The works of Duke Riley, Max Razdow, and Christoph Draeger spring from the raw energy of the spirits that derive from the water and its periphery.
Duke Riley is famous for his performance projects close to the water around New York City, which have often brought him into contact with the local authorities. Whether it be the sea voyager via a self-made replica ‘Acorn’ of the first American submarine on the way to the Queen Mary II, an illegal garbage-built speakeasy tavern ‘The Dead Horse Inn’ in Rockaway Inlet, or 50 Cuban cigar smuggling pigeons in ‘Trading with the enemy’ flying from Havana to Key West, Duke Riley is an integral part of the conversation due to the anarchic character of a temporary interim world. In a panopticon of time, imperative histories of industrialization, environmental destruction, and conflicts of humanity can be found together inside an odyssey or theater. Here Riley’s drawing ‘Untitled’ embodies the co-existence of history, myth, and time. Just as Riley’s performances revive the wasteland and industrial periphery in an enjoyable adventure of chaos and the change of being. In 'Fly By Night' this summer, commissioned by Creative Time, 2,000 pigeons with remote-controlled mini LED lights flew through the industrialized zone of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Bay and created a shining visual tribute to the animal-human relationship.
Max Razdow's series ‘De vermis de se‘ evokes similarly fantastic, mystical, and frightening depths. Far from the global unrest of terrifying election results or alike, he turns to the surreal realm of dreams and rearranges the world of symbols, myths, and logic in the flood of the water. Twirled between sea serpents and mermaids, futuristic architectural landscapes, and tunnels, cult ideologies and symbols unfold. His drawings correspond to a visual exploration of the stigma of fiction, a potpourri of references to scientific representations from the Middle Ages, to sagas, myths, and science fiction, penetrated by warnings to the modern age. In view of the vital, tumultuous, underwater world,
he foresees that one cannot rest on the existing order of civilization. His world reveals that now is marked by temporality and that, in an underlying state of eternal powerful motion, hidden multilayered journeys co-exist.
From the water onto the land, Christoph Dräger's photographic journey documents a tsunami film set along the Indian Ocean. Each of the houses stand in absurdity, like a macabre monument to the victims built by the sea, each of these houses stand in as composition of the terrible event. The viewer is reminded of the disastrous rush of water that carried so many lives away with the tide. The simulation of the movie set entails aestheticizing arrangements, which are almost painterly. The horror of a skeletal settlement, appearing almost cute and picturesque, does not correspond to the reality of 200,000 dead. The simulacrum is removed off its immediacy. Within the irony of the depiction of this architecture, Dräger refers to a critique of the adrenaline-pumped catastrophe by the news-watcher, and to the human hope that post-life there will be a peaceful, painless nirvana.