'Thalassa I. / subliminal intruder', 2016, video
Adam Ulbert is fascinated by the concept propagated by science fiction writer J.G. Ballard that the history of evolution can be read in our bodies’ building materials. Evolution started with invertebrates and every vertebra in our spine marks a next stage in history. Going back in time, we reach a point at which the species are one. Your body is thus fundamentally linked to other living entities. Or as Ulbert states: “You are a sea cucumber as well.” What this insight means to him can be seen in his installations populated by hybrid beings – part animal, part human.
The sea cucumber plays a prominent role. During his research Ulbert discovered that some pearl fish live in the anuses of sea cucumbers. Can this relation be considered parasitic or symbiotic? To Ulbert this situation mirrors the way we relate to our subconscious: suppressed (and collective) memories slumber in our bodies and sometimes communicate with us. In drawings, animated videos and sculptures Ulbert transports his source material to the domain of his imagination. (SZ)