Max Hooper Schneider’s contribution draws both on folk traditions and scientific research. It features a new shadow play and an installation that includes original soundscapes and videoscapes. Schneider worked with a puppet maker in Istanbul to produce the shadow play, based on a traditional satirical show in Turkey, Karagöz & Hacivat. The puppets, in various states of conflict and mutation, argue, gesture, stamp their feet. Twenty-five watermelons, incarnations of future neomorphic brain-bodies, perform as the play’s audience. The work is a satirical investigation into human delusion in the twilight of the species’ presumed superiority and the dawn of the planetary ascendance of the non-human.

Max Hooper Schneider (b. 1982, Los Angeles, USA) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Hooper Schneider’s work develops and explores the aesthetics of succession through the creation of worlds that materialize and dramatize nature in diverse ways and suggests a worldview that strives to dislocate humans from their assumed position of centrality and superiority as knowers and actors in the world. Recent solo exhbitions include Tryouts for the Human Race, Jenny’s, Los Angeles (2018); Nature Theater of Violent Succession, High Art, Paris (2015); and a forthcoming exhibition at the Hammer Museum in September 2019. Group exhibitions include the 13th Baltic Triennial, Lithuania (2017); The High Line, New York (2017); La Panacée, Montpellier, France (2017) and the Mongolia Land Art Biennial (2014, 2012).


To Become a Melon Head, 2019
Mixed media installation
(300 × 300 cm soil bed, bioengineered square shaped watermelons, live shadow puppet performance, puppetry stage, curtain, video, soundscape, LED panels)
Installation: dimensions variable
Video: Approx. 10’
Puppet Master: Emin Şenyer
Music: Necrophagist, Muhammed Suiçmez
Courtesy the artist.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Co-produced by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.

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