Makaku l@bu / 2019

double mirror foil and acrylic


Far-off Nearby / Nieuw-Dakota / Amsterdam

Marjet Zwaans

In groupshow Far-off Nearby, Marjet Zwaans presents Makaku l@bu, an installation taking its form from the monkey-tail motif depicted in Surinamese Maroon wood carvings. Here, motifs have a narrative quality and can impart a message, while their form and significance are not stable but change with every context and artist’s intent. At a time in which technological structures expect or impose standards, not wishing to generalise is a juxtaposing principle. The at-sign in Dutch is commonly referred to as ‘apenstaartje’ -monkey tail. Makaku labu in Saramakan literally translates as monkey tail but the term also holds variable metaphorical meanings like: hold on tight! hang on! Like a monkey uses its tail to hold on to a tree. The swinging woodcut pattern seems to visually resonate with the lemniscate infinity symbol and could depict infinite connectedness.


For Far-off Nearby, Zwaans questions how societies are affected by information technology and whether these effects bring them closer together. For the installation’s materialisation, Zwaans conducted research at Waag’s Fablab, where local production coincides with the global exchange of knowledge: digital design files are shared worldwide and can be adjusted to personal preferences before they are produced with local machines. Stiff materials can be made flexible by cutting out an opensource pattern as a living hinge. With Makaku l@bu, she explores how technological developments change the way local knowledge and meaning are transmitted, distributed and put to use in a global context.

Thanks to Stichting Kibii: Waddell W Akobe; Sandro Winter, Totomboti: Paitoja Saaki, Christiaan Bastiaans, Waag: Henk Buursen; Conor Croasdell; Cecilia Raspanti; Socrates Schouten, Obrary (living hinge - straight – adjusted to 9mm), BankGiro Loterij Fonds & Mondriaanfonds


Photos by Gert Jan van Rooij