Critics’ Picks

View of “Flaka Haliti: Watchu expect me to do when I lose my cool?,” 2020.

View of “Flaka Haliti: Watchu expect me to do when I lose my cool?,” 2020.


Flaka Haliti

Deborah Schamoni
Mauerkircherstrasse 186
March 13–May 16, 2020

Like a vivarium, Flaka Haliti’s exhibition here sets the stage for two obscure humanoid creatures from the eternal darkness of the deep sea. Surrounded by what evokes recycled plastic or a thin membrane of water, they hang flatly, freely, like clothes on a hanger from the galvanized conduits. Light is refracted through the surface to form ripples perpendicular to gravitational pull. Underneath, small puddles of blue sand have accumulated.

Haliti’s iridescent creatures made of polyurethane resin, installed next to six snapshots of the empty sea roaring at full moon (Watchu expect me to do when I lose my cool?, 2020), correspond with the theme of the untouched and the uncanny. Marine-biological research expeditions into the oceanic depths today must yield fewer encounters with teeming bioluminescent species, and more plastic waste littering the ocean floor. One approach to decelerate the planet’s ecological collapse, the artist seems to suggest, might be to align our existence with other beings and, in general, to decenter humanity. By shifting ecological debates in power-political terms both through linguistic and material reference systems, Haliti asks, via the work’s title: What are they thinking that we thinking that they thinking we going to do next? (#1 and #2, 2019). The pronouns we and they indicate a new antagonism, projected into the future by creatures unsettled by the survival of the fittest. In Haliti’s ecology, neither the art objects nor the deep-sea organisms demand independence from human cognition, but instead they enter into our perception as intelligible markers of the planet’s breaking points.