In the 1960s the aim was to integrate technology with everyday life: in 2019 that unification seems realised and complete. Perhaps it will be by travelling through history and the imagination that we can trace the differences between life, art, and technology? In Robert Rauschenberg’s fifty-year-old artwork “Mud Muse” (1968–1971) sonic vibrations create random bubbles in a large, open, vat filled with synthetic sludge. Here our encounter with technology becomes both sticky and confusing. What a Mud Muse actually is remains uncertain, but the installation makes one thing clear: technology is a notion that creates time and space and thus influences our sense of reality.
Art and technology have long held a place at Moderna Museet
The theme of art and technology is a cornerstone for Moderna Museet. Several important exhibitions about the human and the machine were held in the museum’s founding years – such as “Movement in Art” (1961), the Tatlin exhibition (1968), “Ararat” (1976) – and the museum itself was conceived as an information centre and transmission station of sorts, an early example of how society is remade in the image of technology. “Mud Muses” revisits but also departs from this history in a journey through important transformations which the theme has undergone since the 1960s, and offers new interpretations of its historic and cultural backgrounds.
Is technology the human interface with the material world?
In her text “A Rant About Technology” (2004), Ursula K. Le Guin uncouples technology from common sense and progress. She writes, “Technology is the active human interface with the material world.” This simple definition expands the idea of technology and ensures that it doesn’t only belong to ‘advanced’ cultures or at our end of history. But how does ‘the material world’ act in this equation? And how does technology’s ‘active interface’ affect humans and their society?
Read more about the ideas behind the exhibition in curator Lars Bang Larsen’s essay: A Map of the Show: Coordinates in Time, Space, and Ideas
Video: Mud Muses
Watch the introduction to the exhibition featuring curator Lars Bang Larsen. The introduction in the video playlist is followed by interviews with some of the participating arists, and an artist talk with Lars Bang Larsen and the artists Ravi Govender (Cuss Group), Bjarke Hvass Kure, Primer, Jenna Sutela, Gedimas Urbonas and Anna Lundh, recorded at Moderna Museet 11 October, 2019.
Artist and artist groups participating in the exhibition
Vision Exchange Workshop with Nalini Malani and Akbar Padamsee, Robert Rauschenberg, Anna Sjödahl, Charlotte Johannesson and the Digital Theatre, Suzanne Treister, Soda Jerk and VNS Matrix, Ian Cheng, Sidsel Meineche Hansen and Cultural Capital Cooperative, Armando Mariano Marubo, Paulino Joaquim Marubo and Antônio Brasil Marubo, The Otolith Group, Lucy Siyao Liu, Branko Petrović och Nikola Bojić, CUSS group, Jenna Sutela, Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, Anna Lundh, and Primer with Emil Rønn Andersen, Eva Löfdahl, Amitai Romm, Aquaporin and Novo nordisk.
Exhibition architecture by Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik.
Curator: Lars Bang Larsen
Admission: 150 kr
Reduced admission: 120 kr (for seniors and students)
Free admission for those 18 and under and Friends of Moderna Museet.
Symposium Ian Cheng
Saturday 11 January, 2020
Welcome to a symposium with the artist Ian Cheng. Hear him talk about his ground-breaking work with digital ecologies and simulations. After the presentation, Ian Cheng and his collaborator Veronica So meet in conversation. A panel with Paula Vega, Claire Holm Chow and Roberto Vergani from the Stockholm School of Economics will discuss how Cheng’s internship can inform us about society and economy.
Mud Muses with Lars Bang Larsen and participating artists
Friday 11 October, 2019, at 17.00
Welcome to a conversation between Lars Bang Larsen, curator, and participating artists in ”Mud Muses”.
More information: Mud Muses with Lars Bang Larsen and participating artists
Ars Technica in Ethereality
Saturday 16 November 2019, at 14.00
Artist talk and lectures by Esther Leslie and Suzanne Treister.
Esther Leslie, Professor of Political Aesthetics, and Suzanne Treister, artist, give talks related to their contributions to the exhibition ”Mud Muses – A Rant About Technology”. Follow along into a world of fictitious computer games, tarot cards that tell the history of cybernetics, and a screensaver that endlessly insults our contemporary technosphere. The talks by Leslie and Treister will be followed by a discussion about technological reason (and the lack thereof) with ”Mud Muses” curator Lars Bang Larsen.
More information: Ars Technica in Ethereality
Curator tours (in Swedish)
Saturday 12 October at 14, with Karin Malmquist, Curator Learning.
Tuesday 19 November at 17.30, with Exhibition Coordinator Olle Eriksson.
Baby tours (in Swedish)
Thursday 31 October at 15–17
Thursday 7 November at 15–17
Tours for visually impaired (in Swedish)
Thursday 21 November at 17–19
Tours for group living facilities (in Swedish)
Thursday 14 November at 16–18
Guided tours in different languages
Guided tours in English, Swedish, and other languages are given regularly. All tours and full programme to the exhibition are listed in the calendar: calendar Mud Muses
Welcome to visit the exhibition with you school class! To avoid double bookings for guided tours, please contact our booking office in good time and notify us of the date of your visit. E-mail: booking office
Free admission for:
- School classes with pupils under the age 18 (with a teacher)
- Accompanying teachers and assistants
Book a guided tour or workshop
Combine your museum visit with a guided tour or an inspiring workshop session. We have different workshops for pupils 13 years and older, and 4–12 years old.
Read more about school visits: School
Art adventure, from age 4
An art adventure is a family tour for kids and adults to do on their own. Ask the staff at the information desk on floor 4 how to get started. From age 4 (accompanied by an adult).
29 October–2 November 2019
All children from 4 and upwards are welcome to the Workshop for activities during the school break. We start with a tour of the exhibition ”Mud Muses” (in Swedish), then we create with clay on the floor inside the exhibition. Welcome!
Read more about the holyday event: Holiday event: Mud Muses
The Film Club
18 October at 18.00: District 9 (2009), Neill Blomkamp. Conversation: Ravi Govender, CUSS Group, Lars Bang Larsen.
29 November at 18.00: Program selected by Ana Carvalho. Conversation: Ana Carvalho, Lars Bang Larsen.
Read more: The Film Club
A catalogue is published in conjunction with the exhibition with texts and interviews by Nicola Bojić, Rhea Dall, Olle Eriksson, Mark Fisher, Yuk Hui, Olle Kåks, Lars Bang Larsen, Ursula K. Le Guin, Esther Leslie, Jordan Rain Matthiass, Pedro de Niemeyer Cesarino and Kim West.
Download mobile apps for two of the works
Share your thoughts about the exhibition with us on #MudMuses
What is your spontaneous reactions or deepest thought? Maybe they will appear in our social media or on screen in the museum.
“Looks like an uterus, but no, it’s a face.”
Sofia, 26, Mechatronics, Stockholm about the work ”I Magma” by Jenna Sutela.
The exhibition is on the 4th floor
The exhibition is supported by