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Ziggy and the Starfish - How one becomes One with a Fish, 2018

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art

Medium: video installation, bed, fishnet, fish pillows, two single - channel HD videos, sound

duration: 16:28 and 21:01min

Amidst pressing ecological and social crises, Ziggy and the Starfish investigates our position in relation to the natural and built environment. The work looks at ways that we consume or sustain our environment, lending insight to the perception of self through the eyes of non-human ‘others’, and forging understandings of the complex networks within which we are embedded. 

 Ziggy and the Starfish looks at sexuality from the perspective of marine life. Hydrospheric climate change is the deciding factor in the changing sexuality of ocean inhabitants. The visualisation of the sex life of sea slugs, octopuses and starfish, amongst others, and their vibrant and seductive performative play, draws the human spectator in an intimate and hallucinatory sexual world. 

Ziggy Stardust is an extra-terrestrial fictional character in David Bowie’s oeuvre. The personification of Ziggy Stardust describes a bisexual and promiscuous Martian who is concerned about the end of the world. Ziggy stands for the sexual diversity in the ocean, alien and different. The starfish is the near-opposite of Ziggy: it is an ancient creature of our planet, older than the oldest dinosaur. It is asexual and able to reproduce by itself. Cut it in half and another starfish emerges—lots of little living tentacles will slither around the ocean, an army full of creepy-crawlies with detachable acid stomachs, swallowing everything. 

With this work Jordan aims to illuminate new perspectives and the tangible effects of climate change. However, rather than showing catastrophic imagery, her approach is playful, humorous and full of wonder. The key element in dealing with climate change is looking at adaptation within ecosystems. By zooming in for a close view of the microcosm, and by proposing intersections between the two, the artist approaches the macrocosm and its diversity and inventiveness. These are aspects of nature that humans have usually forgotten or ignored.