The Human Non Human exhibit at the Powerhouse (now often referred to as The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) is thought-provoking and loosely based on the theme of what it means to be human, and possible future iterations of that meaning.
The four pieces within the exhibition reflect on food, sex, work and belief, but each seems to have little connection amongst themselves. Although clearly much intellect has been expended on this project, it can feel a little over-curated, and the works, reduced to a theme, are sometimes more curious than enriching. One must look hard to see how a Bundt cake made from ballistic gel (used to test weapons’ impact) influences our humanity, but the gel is made from animal carcasses and somewhere along the line, clever people grasp what it all means. But it is food for thought (ha ha), and there is interest in that. It’s just a struggle to see how the sex life of plants as delineated in this show through Linnaean terminology connects to videos about computer graphic image generating studios in India.
The latter is probably the most compelling of the four installations, exploring how Indian workers realise Hollywood movie dreams, and includes a short about such a graphic artist who falls in virtual love with one his creations, making a virtual world for the two of them to inhabit. But maybe these works don’t need to be connected, or even make much immediate sense. They are, after all, and thus far, human creations.
Until Jan 27. MAAS, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo. FREE-$15. Tickets & Info: www.maas.museum
Reviewed by Olga Azar.