Anja Kirschner and David Panos filmed their new video installation for the Secession during a one-year stay in Greece. With associative references to archaeology, philosophy, mathematics, and ritual, Ultimate Substance departs from the hypothesis that the introduction of coinage in the ancient Greek world effected a profound cognitive shift that was key to the emergence of western philosophic, scientific and dramatic traditions.
The video projection is complemented by rocks and a model of a Platonic solid. Taken together, the three elements point to the separation of physical and mental activity that took place in ancient Greece with the dawn of a money economy. In Ultimate Substance—as in previous works like The Last Days of Jack Sheppard (2009) and The Empty Plan (2010)—Kirschner and Panos deal critically with historical material. But as Kirschner explains, rather than reconstructing it, their aim is to “actualize” it in the sense of Walter Benjamin: “We don’t want to represent the events of the time directly, but to open up a longer historical perspective.”