The Seismography of the Indefinite

The Seismography of the Indefinite

Thomas More’s “Utopia” turns 500 – studio ASYNCHROME sets out to celebrate the great narration in the smallest gallery.

For Marleen Leitner and Michael Schitnig utopia is an opportunity and a tool in equal measure. That´s why they have chosen Thomas More’s “Utopia”, which was published in 1516 and shaped our ideas of ideal societies in the near and distant future, as the starting point for their work for the smallest gallery – collaboration space.

For „The Seismography of the Indefinite“ they took texts out of the original story of Utopia from 1516 and brought this texts into communication with images of our present – to understand if changes happened within the last 500 years or not? The whole scenario plays in one of two existing stitches of Utopia  or how Thomas Moore thought that it could look like. The narration is  in mixed media on a wooden plate with champagne chalk (256 x 174 cm). In the foreground of the drawing is a code out of 0 and 1. This binary shows what all of our present pictures have in common –  a code is running invisible in the background. Brought to the foreground it becomes more difficult to look through and see all the processes that are connected behind. So you have to act to come closer to the story, like you go on a (real) travel to come to an island. This is always connected to some endeavor but in the end you will get for sure more back as you wipe through an easy story/way, only prepared for consumption. Therefore the translation of the code asks: Are we still tourist or have we all become travelers in Hawaiian shirts?

seismography of the indefinite_studio ASYNCHROME (1)_NEU

Pictures of the installation in occasion ofte „the smallest gallery – collaborative space“ and „steirischer herbst“ festival.


Are we still traveling, or have we already become tourists in hawaii shirts?

817gsis5kdl-_ux522_This question refers to the opening text of the philosopher Byung-Chul Han in his essay „Hyperculturality“. In today’s age of digitization and the simultaneity of things, he compares the ever-increasing lack of culture with the consideration of the „man of the future“ by the anthropologist Nigel Barley. studio ASYNCHROME´s work processes this question about the lack of culture in the demand to reintroduce utopian processes back into a present social discourse. Our globalized world consists of many cycles – from actions and reactions. Therefore our idea of ​​the future, always from an understanding of the present, should not be reversed. However, our social understanding always depends on the possibilities of interpretation. In a time of codes and algorithms, however, this is gradually becoming more difficult to comprehend, since they have become much too complex from a human perspective. The binary code, according to Peter Weibel, the most aesthetic of all codes, illustrates for studio ASYNCHROME the abstract communication sphere of our world – the undefined, so to speak. But what happens when one draws attention to the hidden, that determines all our present actions, and places them as a distinctive symbol before the interpretable levels of image and text? The seismography of the indefinite!


Pictures by Michael Sladek of the opening on 24.09.16


In keeping with the motto “utopia is dead, long live utopia”, studio ASYNCHROME sets out on a multi-modal search for traces, designing a new piece for the smallest gallery which will take up the entire exhibition space – 256 x 174 x 45 cm. Based on the English scholar’s philosophical text, they confront utopian thinking of the past with its present-day potential, inspiring us to reflect on the future of the present. What is going to happen next? And how to trace this path seismographically, as indeterminate as it may be?

First project sketches of the seismography of the indefinite.