Spaghetti Blockchain (still), 2019. Single-channel video installation, sound, and color, approx. 21 min. Photo: © Mika Rottenberg, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Object Lessons: Mika Rottenberg

The impetus for Spaghetti Blockchain came from looking at YouTube for endless hours. Also, I’ve been considering different definitions of materialism—as a philosophical term, what it means in capitalism, and how we are composed of matter. It is a sound piece and a video piece, not a video with sound. We’ve installed it with 7.1 surround sound, which means when you enter the installation, you enter the sound and experience its energy and materiality. The Tuvan throat singing in the video is another way to think of the voice as energy and material and the extension of a person. I’m interested in this voice that’s designed to travel great distances, how it becomes almost material. My videos almost never have a voice in them. There is only one sentence in any of them, which is, “I see it.”

When making this work, I was thinking about blockchain technology: in the video, you see a blockchain spaghetti model being crushed. There’s also a bitcoin mine inside a yurt. It’s interesting to think about technology, how your voice travels, connectivity, and this system—the blockchain—which has its own logic. That’s where the title comes from—I liked the phrase “spaghetti blockchain,” but I also like the association with Spaghetti Westerns.

“Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces” is on view at the MCA Chicago from October 2, 2019 through March 8, 2020.