Brigitte Louter

Brigitte Louter. The model organism and her plastic response, 2023.

Year granted: 2022 Website: Part of Prospects

Brigitte Louter (1996) is interested in how humans are constantly trying to structure and map the world. Through her installations, drawings, and sculptures she is creating scripts that follow a logic entirely their own. In this way she is personally organizing random details of our chaotic planet.

Take the work Louter is showing at Prospects: The model organism and her plastic response (2023). This installation consists of a drawing, a video, a soundtrack, and the middle part of a bus, a so-called gaiter. Central to the installation are Daphnia, more commonly known as water fleas. Although these tiny crustaceans are found in large numbers, they are mainly of interest among humans as freeze-dried fish food, or as objects of scientific study. The fact that they are translucent makes them easy subjects for analysing internal processes such as digestion and reproduction. In addition, the water fleas’ heightened sensitivity makes them excellent indicators of water quality. As far as we know, water fleas are relatively oblivious of their service to humanity. And yet something about our relationship to these animals seems troubling to Louter. She is wondering to what degree humans are truly able to see and understand water fleas beyond this lens of servitude.

The text sounding from speakers in the gaiter focuses on an individual water flea. It is observed while seemingly trying to live up to the expectations of the humans describing it. Louter is thus presenting a large-scale installation in which the tiniest of organisms is looking back at us.

Text: Milo Vermeire

Translation from Dutch to English: Marie Louise Schoondergang