I miss you like the deserts miss the rain. I wanna fuck you (make love?) like the rain fucks the desert, like the rain swallows grains of dry sand to make globs of something dangerously unknown: decay. I miss you like something I’ve never known. But the feeling of missing you (who? – - you) remains. I don’t know the desert and the desert doesn’t know the rain. If it did its hole identity would evaporate whole. My heart has the power to move ecosystems. My heart has the power to create a past in which deserts knew rain but I still miss you (who?) now. I don’t know. I can’t remember.
Find words to name the alienation inherent in proximity. You forced nature to reveal her secrets only to hide your own malice in her foliage. Last November a man ran naked through a forest in Poland. The CCTV installed in the forest caught him in the act. A poor, reproducible image emerged. The police found him, still high on LSD. When asked what (in God’s name!) he was doing, he responded by informing them that he is a Siberian tiger. A hero of uncharitable contours caught at the crossroads of two rival systems. As these collided in his person, the moment exposed a technological ecosystem as dense and incomprehensible as the nature it forced into submission.
— Beny Wagner, January 2017
Working in moving image, text, installation and lectures, Beny Wagner combines research and speculation to form non-linear narratives. Wagner investigates the many modes of mediation between the self and its surroundings whether in technology, agriculture, ecology, material and virtual space. A recurring preoccupation in his work involves the politics and ethics of vision and representation, looking specifically at how language and technology give shape to the boundaries of collective social consciousness. Rather than addressing overtly political themes, he instead focuses on the understated shifts found in material histories, labor processes, and modes of representation.
The solo exhibition like the deserts miss the rain continued the body of work Wagner began during his residency at Impakt, Utrecht in the fall of 2016. In this work, Wagner attempts to channel the feeling of loss and the sense of yearning for something unknown. The work is the outcome of long-term research into the intersection between ecology and media technology and how their current states are embodied in the self.
Beny Wagner is an artist and writer based in Amsterdam. He has exhibited his work and screened films internationally: International Film Festival Rotterdam, Impakt Festival, Moscow Biennale for Young Art, Venice Biennale, Import Projects, Future Gallery. In 2012-13 he participated in Labour In A Single Shot with Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann. His work has been featured in Artforum, Spike Magazine Quarterly, Frieze Magazine and Kaleidoscope Press. He has published texts with BLOCK Magazin and 60 pages. Wagner graduated from Bard College, New York in 2008. In 2015-6 he was a researcher at Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht.