Exhibit - Marjolijn Dijkman

Wednesday, Feb 3, 2021 at 10:00am

Contemporary Arts Center
44 East Sixth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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Earthling Discharge

Curated by Amara Antilla, Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Center

Marjolijn Dijkman

Marjolijn Dijkman’s research-based approach employs scientific methods and imaging technologies to make visible underlying socio-political structures and their entanglements with various geographies and temporalities. Operating in the space between fact and fiction, abstraction and speculation, she creates films, performances, objects, and photographs that challenge the ideological and cultural hegemonies of Western science. Her new film, "Depth of Discharge" (2020), investigates how the invention of electricity was linked to Enlightenment-era values of progress and human domination over nature. She traces the history of electricity, from its discovery to today, including an exploration of contemporary energy storage and the resulting ecological fallout generated from lithium mining and e-waste.

For her new commission in the CAC Lobby, Dijkman creates a custom collage comprised of photographs depicting obsolete ephemera associated with economies of energy—minerals, circuit boards, personal devices, and batteries. Arranged across a 40-foot wall, the photographs are printed in high contrast, allowing the glow of the radiant material to be made visible through a projected layer that highlights the objects’ natural electrical fields. This effect, called corona discharge, caused by the ionization and electrical disturbance of adjacent air, is captured by Dijkman using a high voltage photography technique with heat conductive glass, sourced from smartphones. Together, the film and photographic mural reflect upon discourses of electricity and its associations with colonialism and global capitalism.


Marjolijn Dijkman was born in 1978 in Groningen, The Netherlands. She received her BFA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam (2001), and held post graduate positions at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2003) and Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht (2006-07). Her work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions at institutions including the Sharjah Biennial (2007); Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2010); Marrakech Biennial (2012); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2014); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2015); Shanghai Biennial (2016); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (2017); and Sydney Biennial (2018), among others. She currently lives and works in Brussels.

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