The point of departure for Hannah Black’s video installation Beginning, End, None is the building block of all life: the biological cell. Black questions how the cell is often compared with the factory for educational purposes. She shows how this comparison implicitly represents the factory as something natural and at the same time equates the cell with a trade commodity—a viewpoint that now has become reality through today’s biotechnology. She explores the human body’s status as a production site through combining filmed material from a number of different sources. The video’s dissolution of boundaries between personal, scientific, and historical images reflects how metaphorical and actual links between biology and society are influenced by and leak into one another. By taking up the Latin name for cell, cellula, which means “little room,” Black builds a fragmented story in which the cell is linked together with prisons, slave ships, and industrial manufacturing.
Hannah Black (b.1981 Manchester, United Kingdom) is an artist and writer living and working in New York. Previous solo exhibitions include Small Room, mumok, Vienna; Soc or Barb, Bodega, New York (all 2017); and Not You, Arcadia Missa, London (2015). Selected group exhibitions include In The Flesh (Part Two), Gallery Diet, Miami; and Welt Am Draht, Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin (both 2016); The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku; and Does Not Equal, W139, Amsterdam, (both 2015). In 2017 her performance OR LIFE OR was presented at PS1 MoMA, New York.
Beginning, End, None
Three-channel video installation with sound
10 min 22 sec
Courtesy the artist and Arcadia Missa
Gothenburg Museum of Natural History
Hannah Black, Beginning, End, None, 2017. Photo: Hendrik Zeitler