Sympoiesis Observatory, 2019

Nikolaus Gansterer
Sympoiesis Observatory, 2019
Site-specific mixed media installation, dimensions variable
Sound by Martin Siewert. Installation view: Sharjah Biennial 14: ‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and produced in collaboration with Phileas
Courtesy of the artist


Nikolaus Gansterer’s expansive practice of mapping, performative visualisation and cartographic representations explores the accumulation of interrelated and often ephemeral phenomena and processes that constitute the specific atmosphere of a place. Interested in perception at a body-mind level, Gansterer charts what he calls a ‘four-dimensional’ map, taking into consideration three-dimensional space and adding the fourth dimension of time, which he plots through changes of matter across durational intervals.

In Sympoiesis Observatory (2019), located in Kalba Ice Factory, the artist creates an atmospheric installation of large-scale mobile sculptures, diagrammatic floor drawings and a sound installation of processed field recordings—all elements of a sympoietic ecology. A central piece of this ‘living system’ are two heliostats, mirrored devices that reflects a stable shaft of sunlight at a set target, which turns along with the daily rotation of the earth. Gansterer uses heliostats in this installation to redirect sunlight coming from the roof so that it transforms the indoor space into a chamber of light and shadow.

The artist will inaugurate the expanded cinema experience of his installation with a performative activation that resonates with its many micro-movements and changes registered through light, wind, temperature, material, insects and birds. In addition, a collection of the artist’s site-specific graphic and sonic recordings of the ice factory’s atmosphere will be on view along with an essay film made in collaboration with Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and Martin Siewert.

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Sympoiesis Observatory (2019)

Gansterer, Nikolaus

An artist and performer, Nikolaus Gansterer links drawing, thinking and action through a practice of performative visualisation and cartographic representations.