Antoine Racine is a transdisciplinary artist travelling across the lines of installation, cinema, sound, bioart and performance. Attentive to the latent potentialities of matter, he works through montage, hacking and rough assemblages, mostly with found ideas and artefacts. He proceeds slowly but surely, his art is compost-based. If all goes according to plan, he will receive BFA in Intermedia from Concordia University this summer. His work has been shown in film festivals, art galleries, apartments and DIY events in Quebec, USA and Europe. Now in 2021, he lives on an island commonly called Montreal.
Thin Air unfolds in the interface between two biotechnological systems, two seemingly autonomous entities whose boundaries are yet fuzzy. On one side of the room, 25L of melted snow are slowly boiled, dispersed in the atmosphere. Water particles contained in the ambient air condenses on the evaporator plate of a refrigerator (turning into ice), then melts and drips at irregular intervals on a clump of moss. For the evaporator to cool down, the heat contained in the refrigerant liquid is dissipated in the air through the surface of a condenser. On the other side of the room, a sound system overlaps with a worm compost bin. Piezoelectric microphones transduce the crackling sounds of the evaporator plate into low electrical signals sent to a circuit-bent mixer, an amplifier and a pair of speakers. The electronic board of the mixer and the compost bin are wired together, allowing the variable conductivity of the organic material to alter the sounds emitted in the room.
I am interested in the unstable relationships emerging between and within the two systems. How they endlessly redefine each other, communicating through air, water and audio cables, immersed in a wider mesh of interferences. How they may appear as distinct or autonomous but are actually written by the surrounding bodies : each other, snow, organic waste, doors opening and closing, sunlight, humidity raising from the basement, my studiomates and myself breathing and sweating around. I am interested in their permeability but also in how their respective modes of existence rely on surrounding physical constraints. The growth the moss depends on the water particles contained in the air, as well as on the the electricity feeding the refrigerator compressor. The amplification of the sound depends on the level of moisture, the density and the acidity of the compost ; along with the movements of the worms, its slightest chemical fluctuation affects directly the quality of the sound. Triggered by a humidity sensor, the sound is also tightly entwined with the ambient atmospheric variations. Everything is somehow entangled, visibly or invisibly. Most of the making process was precisely dedicated to finding these points of entanglement. Finding what may converge, how and when. What may emerge.
Built in window on Ste-Catherine street over a one-month residency, Thin Air is born from a constant exchange between inside and outside. Light, traffic noise, eye-contacts across the glass membrane. Most of the objects were found in the neighbourhood on waste collection day, then returned to the streets once used or dissected. Food scraps and snow were brought in on a daily basis. To me, the final form of the installation is inextricably linked to its context, grounded in a specific space and time. Written by every micro and macro event encountered throughout the process.