On the ground floor, one part of the work combines the moving image with a sculptural aspect achieved by superimposing of twenty-two LED modules. Ahtila deliberately chose an out-of-date technology to make the image unclear and abstract when viewed up close, but intelligible from a certain distance. One can distinguish from afar a female human figure floating weightless in the Milky Way. As she comes near, she takes on monumental proportions and ends up gesturing silently toward the viewers as if to welcome them in good will.
Ahtila uses this giant, universal embrace to evoke the maternal bond linking two mammals from the moment of birth. This experience stirs the memory of archaic unity as well as nostalgia stemming from its disappearance. The artist believes that through this primitive connection we are all imprinted with a paradoxical experience of fusion and one’s relationship to the other. The memory of symbiosis reactivates the desire to recreate an equally intimate sense of proximity with other loved ones; this desire, however, is doomed to remain unrealized, latent, without ever going beyond the state of potentiality.
Ahtila takes this idea to an even more global dimension: what is humanity’s potential for empathy not only with the human species but also toward other species? Is our capacity for love limited, or can it encompass every living being? The artist invites us to reevaluate our own relationship to the environment, to its resources, and to the life that populates it.