Twenty One Percent

Ursula Biemann

2016, 16:45 minutes, colour, English


The film Twenty-One Percent starts with a small formation history of atmospheric chemistry. The introduction teaches us that the accumulation of oxygen finally drove the evolution of thinking minds: the human consciousness depends for 21% on oxygen.

Leaving the images of stirring galaxies and steaming earth, in the midst of the oxygenic forest, a science fictional performer manipulates a multitude of ingredients—minerals, forest fruits, liquids, granulates, and extracts. Sporting a bodytech suit for feeding and monitoring the metabolic processes of her body, the performer lays out the concept of cosmic cooking. In utter concentration she transforms matter into different states of being using chemical processes of extracting, distilling, filtering, decomposing, or macerating.

The film and performance reframe in a refreshing way the entanglement of
the cosmic, the earth and our bodies by interlinking the story of the chemical elements that were created in the cosmic event of supernovas, the deadly explosion of stars, to the earth’s materiality, to the basic ingredients of human life and consciousness.

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