Mare Crisum (No Doze Exegesis II), 2020

Ground coffee (Mocca) and acrylic on Canvas; 140 × 140 cm. © Photo: TiKL 2020

Mare Crisium is the second realization in a group of works called No-Doze Exegesis that is collecting accidental or tasseographical images that might relate to mythological archetypes. It is a faithful reproduction of the remnants of one cup of coffee. While all episodes vary in content and format they are characterized and “hardwired” to its content through the use of grounded coffee as both media and symbolic matter.

Mare Crisum, 2020. Detail © Photo: TiKL 2020

Coffee is by far the world's most widely consumed stimulant. The substance was allegedly discovered in the region of the Kingdom of Kaffa by a goat herder in the Abyssinian highlands in Ethiopia in 900 A.D. He noticed a weird behavior among his animals. His goats were over-excited and couldn't find rest even at night. Today, this central nervous stimulant became the second-largest traded commodity after crude oil. No doubt that it must have a heavy yet widely unrecognized impact on the visual culture of the 21st century. Likewise, crude oil that is driving the “old” economy of industrial power, caffeine is the number one fuel for a new “attention economy” that indispensably connects eyeballs to illuminated screens. The major predicament for marketing and managing human attention is the vast disproportion between human temporal limits (fatigue and the need for rest and sleep) and the quasi-infinite amount of “content” to being traded (Crary 2013, 75). In this situation, coffee became an easy access drug that normalizes everyday life. It makes it fit the demand of 24/7 capitalism and the imperative “never miss what’s next!” that aims to eradicate sleep, the last human condition that sets a natural limit to a ubiquitous and never resting network for mining and sharing data. It cannot be a coincidence that Europe, the United States, and, surprisingly, Japan have the most pronounced coffee culture. Coffee may be the common fuel for the 24/7 exhaustion of human attention. 

The work’s title “Mare Crisium” is a reminiscence to a basin on the moon from the Pre-Imbrian period of the lunar time, 4.55 to 3.85 billion years ago. It is supposed to be shaped by the manifold impacts of celestial bodies, asteroids, and meteor showers. It relates to a hypothesis in astrophysics that we consider a metaphor for love. The genesis of the Moon is supposed to be caused by the impact of a huge asteroid on the Earth that flung debris into the orbit and higher regions. Due to gravity the larger debris clustered and formed an individual body, the Moon. Since then the Moon circles around the Earth intercepting asteroids and meteors and protecting life on the planet Earth. Mare Crisium–reflected in just one cup of coffee–is a tribute to the Moon and to all lonely nighthawks who keep watching the day in the lunar light.
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