The Weeping Saint Pity

O Future

The Weeping Saint Pity is a video, light and music installation that is part of the multi-disciplinary group exhibition 'SUPER HIGH END UNDERGROUND' at the Nikolaj Kunsthal Museum in Copenhagen from February 9- July 28. 2024. Curated by Rebekka Elisabeth Anker-Møller and chief curator of Nikolai Kunsthal Helene Nyborg Bay.

O Future:

'The Weeping Saint Pity' is a 3D animated work (non generative) at a scale of 10 meters by 5 meters with a musical score composed of church organs and classical choir weaved with everyday sounds of our lives such as Netflix, grocery tills and washing machines. The saint depicts and explores the ideas of the individual's everyday existential slights, minor despairs, inadequacies and injustices of the individual in the western middle class life.

Gore Vidal famously said, "Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies."

With this maxim as a pivot for our exploration we are concerned with how each individual in the westernized and rich European plateau seeks self maximization, indulges in constant comparative misery and hyper focus on our own internal suffering. Even though our lives, as we guiltily know, are wildly better than most people in the world currently and historically speaking. And yet we still can't shake that pesky late night malaise.

As Mathea Slättholm Sagdahl argues in her philosophical research, 'Melancholy as Responding to Reasons', "With respect to the value and rationality of melancholy. I argue that human existence is such as to give us standing pro tanto reasons for melancholy by being an appropriate response to reality and value. However, the same reasons that count in favour of melancholy may also count against a melancholic state, once we take into account the way in which we are not only passive responders, but also agents that can respond to value through actions. I conclude that melancholy is not always a rational state, but that a full and good life must make room for melancholy."

These ideas lead us to ponder a certain secular religiosity of our time of living. Where we seek a cleansing, an ending, a forgiveness and most often a win but without the spectre or help of god or gods yet we still seek something external to fix and sooth our underlying melancholy that underlies all our material and societal progress both good and bad.

With our work 'The Weeping Saint Pity' we aim to invite the viewer to sit with our saint and think about all the little paper cuts of modern existence that can get a person down. For example; you're aging or your neighbor just bought a house on the coast and how aggregating that is. How you don't go to enough cool restaurants, how you can't afford plastic surgery or perhaps, your children aren't as gifted and good looking as you thought they would be. Your friends are actually dull. And you will never rid yourself of that stubborn belly fat or become the most beautiful person in the world like you thought you could as a child. Life, memories and lovers will never be as good or as thrilling as your favorite movie. Therapy has not cured your 'mother wound', anxiety and personality. In essence we never reach the goal because the goal or goals in western capitalist techno culture are elusive and contradictory.

Though a little glib and a little funny, behind these embarrassing and small 'failures' of our post modern western enlightenment there disguises a deeper core or what makes a human a human, however sour to the taste that is. There is still a grotesque and sad beauty in our soft animal yearning to compete, yearn, covet, want and propagate in the west while millions of people at the same time are fighting for survival, resource and base existence.

Aesthetically and in terms of palette and feeling the 3D animated work is in response to 17th century french rococo paintings depicting the rich Holbein portraiture of the tapestried wealth of Tudor England. As well as the Roman Catholic Madonna and the Christ icon paintings from the 16th century.

We were also interested in the illustrative depictions of various hells and ecstatic deformity and panic of the middle ages in religious texts and paintings. Alongside the 11.5 minute animated video work we created an altar installation of a single white rug with a stone altar cup filled with water and a kneeling chiffon white cushion. Our musical score is played from an unseen source inside the carpet that becomes louder as you get closer to the saint. Above the video piece is a light installation projection reminding us of stained glass, time and nostalgia from our previous incarnations of middle class woe and social unhappiness that repeats forever.

The Weeping Saint Pity takes on the existential injustices and despair of everyday life for us in the middle class in the Western world. With Saint Pity we invite you to reflect on the small yet never ending, mild despair and envy of our privileged lives. For example, losing your youth, your neighbor having a second house on the coast, not being able to afford plastic surgery whilst constantly striving to win the 'good life' competition.

Saint Pity weeps for all the therapy sessions that haven't healed our traumas, for all the hours of exercise, esoteric oils, crystals, supplements, massages, ethical organic vegetables, and spiritual awareness that haven't made us happy and slim. If all of this hasn't fixed you, we invite you to take a tear and spend a moment with Saint Pity to express your still unresolved feelings of inadequacy and pain.

O Future is an art collective that works both visually and musically. After 12 years in Los Angeles, they have recently relocated to Denmark and have been featured in hundreds of media outlets including the New York Times, The Guardian, Interview Mag, Pitchfork, and many others. They have exhibited at Synthesis Gallery Berlin, Opyum Festival Paris, Red Eye World Milano, and have collaborated with Ai Weiwei, the Allen Ginsberg Institute, and Lars von Trier, among others.

They are currently commissioned to produce various large-scale 3D animations and scores for a new theatre adaptation of "The Elephant Man" directed by Sargun Oshana for the Oslo Nye Teater in Norway, opening in summer 2024.

Images: Installation views at Nikolaj Kunsthal taken by Brian Kure; Artwork © O Future