Sam Keogh
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Rijksakademie OPEN, Amsterdam, November 2017

In Sam Keogh's 'Kapton Cadaverine', the studio is transformed into the interior of a dilapidated starship. The once-white walls, control panel and sand table are covered in grime. Detritus litters the floor and small sculptures and collages adorn almost every surface. Sheets of melted plastic and amber ‘Kapton tape’ cocoon the space in a strange mucosal membrane and the white noise of artificial rain underlines the eerie absence of an inhabitant.

The performance begins with an astronaut waking up in a battered cryopod. He displays symptoms of premature thawing; memory loss, confusion, frostbite, and his stained outfit mark him out as the source of the ships degradation. He acknowledges the audience but only as hallucinations, spectral symptoms of a prolonged lack of human contact. Intermittently speaking and listening to the on-board computer, he tries to make sense of his surroundings by reassembling scattered memories of the earth he left behind. These efforts are interrupted by manic descriptions of androids with liquid latex blood, or the bacteria feeding on the ship's walls, or an explanation of a Soviet philosopher's idea to circumvent the heat death of the universe through a re-ignition of the Big Bang.

‘Kapton Cadaverine’ continues Keogh’s interest in melding performance, installation and sculpture into scrappy and mutable wholes. Sculpture and collage serve as prop and mnemonic device for the performance but are also in excess of this function, spilling over with idiosyncratic detail. Here, the objects shift between artwork made by Keogh, props used by the performer and ambiguous technologies made by the astronaut in a vein effort to patch up the malfunctioning ship. In this indeterminate space ‘Kapton Cadaverine’ tries to hold contradictory affects in tension. The present is described as a stupefied future soiled by the past. The stoic heroism of the 'lost in space' male protagonist of recent Hollywood sci-fi(Passengers, Interstellar, The Martian) is marred with the pathos of dried semen. Fragmented thoughts on present day fascism are dragged through clunky text-to-voice software with an Irish accent. Everywhere, technology and the bodies which are extended by it are smeared across each other to form a sticky cognitive map.

This work produced a video entitled 'Kapton Cadaverine Log Entry'. A smartphone camera skims over the the surfaces of collage, sculpture and starship interior with an edited sound recording of the performance providing the narration.