‘The fact that Holen’s project required him to use supermarket meat points to a larger condition of displacement – to the industrial apparatuses that place consumer objects at a far remove from their latent mortality. For Holen’s purposes, road kill was too close to having life. It could not be plugged into the other components of the system – the 3D-scanner, the washing machine drum, the crisp new pair of socks. Holen needed something smooth, a meat that was industrially manicured. By then running it over – by crushing its bones and turning it into something macabre – Holen allowed the chicken to once again be something that had died. A new and smooth type of roadkill. Something clean and scan-able’ (T. Bettridge, ‘Yngve Holen: Engines Turn, or Passengers Swim,’ 032c, 19 November 2015, https://032c.com/2015/yngve-holen-engines-turn-or-passengers-swim/ [accessed 05/08/16])
A washing machine drum sits atop a tripod, posing as a snare drum. Inside the chamber is a crisp cotton sock; draped slickly over the drum’s perimeter is the chrome-gleaming, 3D-printed reincarnation of a crushed chicken carcass. Yngve Holen is concerned with the machines and machinations of global capitalism, his work operating at the displaced site of the body in contemporary life. He has explored the depersonalising experience of commercial air travel, the innards of electrical appliances and the aesthetic incursions of cosmetic surgery. Sensitive to Detergent (Stomp II), Holen explains, ‘was about detergent, overreactions, and itchiness. A washing machine drum also cleans itself – like an ever-turning wheel, pushing nature away. You can get all these diseases from a chicken lying in the sun, so the laser scan is a sanitary way of extracting information.’ Holen had first planned to use roadkill, but this proved hard to source and fur impossible to scan: supermarket chicken offered a more powerful locus for today’s mechanised bodily dislocation, and running it over a perverse mode of returning mass product to the state of flesh. ‘It’s a scary industry. If you don’t buy bio, chicken is cheap as hell. For an artist, it’s cheaper than buying clay. Then, when you drive over it and crush those bones – when you turn it into road kill – it’s suddenly this individual thing again. You give the chicken a soul by running it over. And then you extract that soul by scanning it’ (Y. Holen, quoted in T. Bettridge, ‘Yngve Holen: Engines Turn, or Passengers Swim,’ 032c, 19 November 2015, https://032c.com/2015/yngve-holen-engines-turn-or-passengers-swim/ [accessed 05/08/16]. Sensitive to Detergent (Stomp II), then, operates as something like a postmodern sarcophagus, a sterile stainless steel engine for a new kind of afterlife. Part sculpture and part metaphysical science experiment, the work is a coldly beautiful, empirical dissection of where we are going.