Canal Projects and the 14th Gwangju Biennale teamed up to co-commission Lithuanian-born artist Emilija Škarnulytė to create Æqualia, an immersive video installation between documentary and speculative genres. Shot in Encontro das Águas, where the white, silt-laden waters of the Rio Solimões and the black hypoxic currents of the Rio Negro mix, the artist takes on the persona of the mermaid “Æqualia”, swimming through the waters at the boundary between two different worlds. The installation recently opened at Canal Projects.

Throughout her career the artist has focused on the toxic absurdities inherent in global histories, taking her viewers on a somber journey through decommissioned nuclear power plants, deep-sea data storage units, forgotten underwater cities and uncanny natural phenomena. Škarnulytė diligently uncovers environments and worlds from a distant dystopian future as being in the here and now, revealing the profound consequences of human hubris and the realization that we are not the pinnacle of creation.

As part of its continuing commitment to support artist projects that shed light on the visual and material impact that a globalized economy has on ecosystems, Canal Projects is organizing public partnerships in cooperation with More Than Human Rights (MOTH) Project at New York University, to provide more insight into the subjects and sites of Škarnulytė's exhibition. Expert voices from the Amazon region will contribute to the creation of a collaborative space for the promotion of environmental justice.

Æqualia will be on view at Canal Projects through March 30th, 2024. The exhibition has been supported by the Lithuanian Culture Institute, the Lithuanian Council for Culture, OCA: Office for Contemporary Art Norway, and The Norwegian Consulate General in New York.

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