Laura Cemin

Laura Cemin’s performance-based practice examines relationships, encounters and interactions between people and bodies, and how technology affects social relations. Paradoxically, while our planet is increasingly warming up, we (human beings) are getting colder, and more alienated from one another, struggling to commit and create meaningful relationships, while at the same time still longing for human touch and bodily warmth. Technological apparatus seems to propose solutions. With countless tools on the market – thermal blankets, body-heating creams and sweat belts – it is possible to warm up alone, to simulate human presence, but also to shape our bodies to conform to current social media standards. But, at the end of the day, who is there with us? How can we meaningfully reconnect with each other instead of looking for solutions between commercials, self-help manuals and the Internet? How re-valorise real time spent with one another and the physical realm of flesh and bones? Cemin’s new installation for the exhibition, persistence of memory (2020), consists of a kit comprised of widgets, beauty products and other tools that are used in close contact with the body to warm it: a sauna suit, hand warmers, a heated blanket, hot-water bottles,  sweat belts, and skin-warming cream. She is interested in the agency of these heat-inducing products, what they do to our bodies. The tools are familiar but the way they are deployed is slightly twisted, as we can see in 4-minute warm up (2020) a “how-to” video that depicts a routine on how to “cope” with the fake intimacies and loneliness of our individualistic world. The installation aims to highlight the importance of bodily warmth and physical proximity, but also critiques consumerist society in the digital age, which rests on the fake promise that relationships can be formed at the click of a button, or be solved by buying things, instead of trying to build on them, work on them or fix them.

Laura Cemin