Nexus Architecture x 25 - Nexus Type Opera.tion
Lucy + Jorge Orta, 2012-2012
- Ref: 0310.02
- Materials: Installation at Power Art Museum for the 9th Shanghai Biennale
- Dimensions: 600 x 600 x 200cm
- Exhibition history: 2012 9th Shanghai Biennale, China
- Courtesy: The Artists, photographer: Lothar Schnepf
- Concept: “Each individual keeps an eye on, and protects, the other. One individual’s life depends on the life of the other. In Lucy’s work, the warmth of one gives warmth to the other. The physical link weaves a social link.” French urban philosopher Paul Virilo wrote about the Nexus Architecture, when Lucy Orta began physically connecting people together with her wearable sculpture in the early 1990s.
The body of work Nexus Architecture (1994-2004) is regarded as an emblem of Orta’s practice, it consists of groups of workers-overalls, inter-connected via a system of ‘Nexus’ channels and zippers. Nexus means link or bond and the connecting elements are seen as direct embodiments of the notion of social link, a ‘social sculpture’. Both an installation and a performance artwork, the overalls are worn during ephemeral interventions in public locations around the world. During the interventions performers and passers-by become physically involved in the construction of choreographed scenarios, which are filmed and photographed to create a document of the action. Participants interact with their city landscape, climb into the suits, zipper the Nexus, creating an unusual closeness and questioning interdependence by being physically part of it.
In Orta’s work, the understandings of clothes as markers of social/group differences or manifestations of individual pseudo-differences are challenged. Clothing becomes the medium through which social links and bonds are visualised, both literally and metaphorically through the links of zippers and channels. The uniformity of the garment – a workers overall – creates an androgynous shape that defies classification by the usual social markers, so the Nexus Architecture attempts to give form to the social, not the individual body. Instead of differences, we are offered a powerful vision of possible, momentary collectives or networks of being, whose recurring connections are rendered visible and visceral in time and space.