Judi Werthein was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she received an MA in Architecture and Urbanism from the Universidad de Buenos Aires. She lives and works in Buenos Aires and New York.
In her work Werthein relishes in relinquishing control, moving art from the gallery into the world, where its power and effectiveness can be questioned. «Recognizing the individual power of the audience», Werthein writes, «I attempt to provide them with an opportunity to recast the limitations of reality that structure our existence.»
Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Tate Modern, London, UK; De Appel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut; and the Center for Contemporary Art, Vilnius, Lithuania. Werthein has also participated in Manifesta 7, Bolzano, Italy; InSite_05, San Diego/Tijuana; Bienal de Pontevedra, Galicia; and the 7th Bienal de La Habana, Havana, Cuba, among others.
Tuesday, 09.06.2009. at 19.00
G-MK | Galerija Miroslav Kraljević
Migratiry Zoolofy (excerpt)
by Javier Tellez and Judi Werthein
By demonstrating the limits of genetic determinism, the human genome project ended up becoming an ironic affirmation of our individuality. By failing to explain us, that humanity is not simply a text. It forced molecular biology to focus on how our genes interact with the real world. Our nature, it turns out, is endlessly modified by our nurture. Although genes are responsible for the gross anatomy of the brain, our plastic neurons are designed to adapt to our experiences. The best metaphor of our DNA is literature. Like all classic literary texts, our genome is defined not by the certainty of its meaning, but by its linguistic instability, its ability to encourage a multiplicity of interpretations.
Brainwashed by six newcomers from Ohio, 46 penguins at the San Francisco Zoo have abandoned their burrows and embarked on a great migration – except their pool is not exactly the coast of South America and there’s really nowhere for them to go.
«We’ve lost complete control», said Jane Tollini, their keeper. «It’s a free-for-all in here. After 18 years of doing this job, these birds are making mincemeat of me.»
They’ve all been swimming since Christmas Eve, whirling around the pool like tuxedos in a washing machine. No one knows why they started or when they’ll stop. All they know is that the zoo’s Penguin Island has turned into a very chaotic place.
In early 2000, Sea World in Aurora, Ohio, was sold, and its Magellanic penguins, accustomed to swimming all winter, were shipped to Sea World in San Diego. Half a dozen of them moved to San Francisco in November, and they met their new colleagues 3 1/2 weeks ago.
Since then, nothing has been the same.
Within two hours, the three males and three females from Ohio – smaller and more docile than their mean and hefty San Francisco counterparts – had convinced the 46 to jump in the pool with them. Now they swim most of the day and stagger out only at dusk.
«I can’t figure out how the Aurora penguins communicated and changed the minds of the other 46», said Tollini, who doesn’t want to simply remove the gang of six. «I don’t experiment on my birds.»
Other penguin experts don’t know what to make of the swimming frenzy.
«Usually there are one or two dominant birds», Hiler said. «Somehow these animals came up and showed they’re worthy of being followed.»
«The animals hit the water and never came out for four weeks», he said.
A group of cheeky little monkeys escaped from London Zoo by climbing up tall trees and leaping into next-door Regent’s Park.
But their happy antics were watched closely by zookeepers as they jumped between the park and the zoo.
A spokeswoman said: «They are coming in and out and being a bit cheeky really.»
The 12 squirrel monkeys were in trouble earlier this year when they started stealing visitors’ mobile phones – and had to be trained to leave them alone.
Zoo bosses said that they were taking steps to stop the monkeys escaping.
A spokeswoman said: «Squirrel monkeys are not a dangerous animal – their enclosure is a walk-through exhibit – and they pose no threat to the public.»
The monkeys will return to their enclosure for their food, she added.
(Originally published in Review 77, November 2008)