Christina Gruber

Suns of the Cloud / Lauschen und Rauschen

What do sunfish in the Danube have to do with water-cooled data centres? The video installation Suns of the Cloud by aquatic ecologist and artist Christina Gruber highlights the impact of digital networks and their infrastructure on our environment. Socio-political and ecological changes often play out on the backs of ‘non-native’ species such as the sunfish. This brightly coloured fish native to North America was introduced as an aquarium culture. Even bathers have on occasion come to feel the so-called ‘Danube piranha’, introduced as aquarium culture from North America; indeed, it has been known to nibble at their toes and heels if they stand around in its territory for too long.

In her video, the artist adopts the perspective of the sunfish to address ‘the environment that thinks through us’, as cultural ecologist David Abram has posited. ‘Do you remember when the changes began?’ a scientist asks the sunfish at the Linz section of the Danube downstream from the data centre. That simple question sparks a conversation about origin, assimilation in foreign waters and the altered living conditions brought on by the ‘cloud’. Clouds and heat, intangible ‘streams’ and river currents: ‘Even though the internet is a very recent presence in our lives, it already has strong links to the water cycle,’ says the artist about the changes to the ecosystems triggered by digitisation. The reproduction rate of the sunfish is therefore predicated on our digital usage levels.BH

* 1987 in Amstetten, lives and works in Vienna and Lower Austria.

LECTURE PERFORMANCE von Christina Gruber & Julia Grillmayr

Die Gewässerökologin und Künstlerin Christina Gruber und die Kulturwissenschaftlerin und Journalistin Julia Grillmayr entwickeln seit 2021 in verschiedenen Formaten eine „Archäologie der Zukunft“, die sich mit Themen wie Evolution, Artensterben, Tiefenzeit sowie unterschiedlichen Natur- und Wildnisbegriffen auseinandersetzt. Mit außergewöhnlichen Akteur:innen und Materialien baut Dino/Henne/Ei eine fröhliche Megafauna-Science-Fiction.
→ DI 29.8. 18:00

Christina Gruber is a good listener, which means she knows that fish and rivers have lots to tell. Her audio walks deal with the history of the Danube Canal and speculate on hybrid relationships between species. ‘We need to sharpen our own senses,’ says the artist, ‘in order to assume some form of solidarity-based care for our environment.’ Do we have the capacity to attune our hearing to it once again? BH

Endangered Companions - Living fossils and disturbing factors 1/3

Timid Hydraulic Engineers and Refrigerators 2/3

Legal Alien or the Serendipity of the Often Unexpected 3/3

In her three-part video projection, Christina Gruber illuminates the concrete effects of digital networks and their infrastructure on our environment. From the perspective of the invasive sunfish, which has spread in the Vienna area of the Danube in recent years, the artist and hydrobiologist tells of the drastic consequences of human intervention in the common ecosystem.

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