Published as part of an online exhibition project entitled Plaza Protocol, curated by Tjaša Pogačar in collaboration with Šum Journal and Projekt Atol:  

“My gut likes Taylor Swift more than I do. And it likes her on a microbial level. I’ve come to terms with that. As long as we can subsist in relative peace, I can go along with the quirks that come with the translation of these microbial processes into conscious expression. Its biofilm bonds are stronger than my will, but also, my will might not be much more than an echo-chamber for its conflicting “bioexpressions”. Now, could this be reason enough to reframe Felix Guattari’s question “What sort of machine or equipment produces stereotyped behaviour, relational and perceptual schemas?” so as to refer to microbial components and their role in the production of goods and different kinds of subjectivity? […]

With all the toxins and micro-plastics, my body is already able to mirror the corporate environments through which it moves. Constructing small shopping malls, echoing their ambient sounds, music, and lining up the intestinal walls with batches of intricately packaged goods. These xenobiotic environments fill it with tremors, forming zones of discomfort and pain from across which a semblance of a voice can be heard: “You ok?” Sweet old Taylor, I still often wonder what sort of groupie love keeps on summoning you here. If my gut likes you more than I do, if the biota holds a peculiar fixation on you, could it be that there is also something metabolic or even microbial about pop that supports and encourages all of this? It does not take much more than altered membrane permeability for the biotic environments to change in architecture and the ambient mall sounds to change in tune. So could it be that our meeting here is more than a trick of the subconscious?

Music and audible sound have been linked to metabolic activity, both human and microbial, affecting gastric motility and energy balance in the former, and general growth and antibiotic susceptibility in the latter. And I realise that certain frequencies can indeed impact intracellular concentration (uptake and excretion) of nutrients, causing all sorts of metabolic effects for the human and the microbe alike. But what about pop specifically? Were the times of all the mall tours that the pop stars went on before reaching stadium potential sufficient for the pop formulas to inscribe themselves into the food supplies that these malls facilitated, refining the metabolic pathways of the consumers that they’ve thus come in contact with? Or could it be the other way around, and it was the abundant nutritional offering of such places that lubricated the passage of those pop tunes into our racing hearts?”

Author: Domen Ograjenšek

Writer, art critic, curator

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