When Stones Speak...

The submersion of the artwork 'When Stones Speak...' in the Timiș River basin

Every year, we witness the impact of climate extremes globally. In 2022, in Europe, rivers became impassable, and the old hydrological markers known as Hungersteine (stones of famine) emerged. For centuries, these stones predicted drought through messages engraved on their surfaces. Placed in riverbeds, the famine stones appear as climate warnings and disappear when the water level returns to normal. Inspired by the language of stones, we often question the potential of art to communicate beyond the 'cultural' sphere through works that could be activated under specific meteorological conditions.

The artwork "When the Stones Speak" was originally commissioned for the exhibition Chronic Desire and includes a stone originating from a vanished river in the south of Romania (severely affected by drought). The stone was transported to Timișoara with the intention of being submerged at the end of the exhibition in another riverbed whose water debit is still normal. Thus, the work becomes a sensor of hydrological shifts while simultaneously serving as an imperceptible ‘monument’ of climate disruption, visible in conditions of drought. Under optimal hydrological conditions, the work remains invisible. 

The submersion ceremony of the work in the Timiș River basin will take place on December 10, 2023.

Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan have been working collaboratively since 2012. They live and work between Vienna and Bucharest. Their practice is research-driven, instigated by the hidden or invisible patterns behind certain historical, social, or geopolitical narratives, and articulated through a range of materials, formats, and media including installation, video, and performance. The relationship between history and environment, climate, ecology, and the politics of resources, are often at the centre of their projects.

Their works have been shown in “Rehearsals for Peace” n.b.k. Berlin (2023-solo); “Titen”, Biennale Jogja XVII, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2023); Kyiv Biennial (2023, 2015); “Territories of Waste” Museum Tinguely, Basel (2022); Artists' Film International, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022); Biennale Matter of Art, Prague (2022); “Weather Engines”, Onassis Stegi, Athens (2022); 39th EVA International - Ireland’s Biennial (2021); “The Normal”, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2021); “Subnature”, Trafo Gallery, Budapest (2021-solo); “Overview Effect”, Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade (2021); “Potential Worlds”, Migros Museum, Zurich (2021); “Slow Life”, Ludwig Museum, Budapest/Koblenz (2021); “Persona”, MUCEM Marseille (2019); Art Encounters Biennial, Timisoara (2029, 2017); Frac des Pays de la Loire, Nantes (2018); “Natural Histories, Traces of the Political”, MUMOK Vienna (2017); Off Biennale, Budapest (2017, 2015); “Sights and Sounds”, The Jewish Museum, New York (2016); “GLOBALE: Global Control and Censorship”, ZKM, Karlsruhe (2016); Vienna Biennale, MAK, Vienna (2015); "Der Brancusi-Effekt”, Kunsthalle Wien (2014); "We Were So Few and So Many Of Us Are Left”, tranzit.ro/Bucharest/Budapest, (2013 – solo); “Mom, am I barbarian?”, 13th Istanbul Biennial, (2013); “Intense Proximity”, La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris/France (2012);

They are the recipients of The Birgit Jürgenssen Prize 2022, awarded by The Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and currently they are Creative Fellows at UCL, Postsocialist Art Centre, London.

ⓘ A special bus will depart from the MX - "Corneliu Miklosi" Museum at 12h towards the Timiș River for a talk and soundscape session with Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan, witnessing the positioning of the stone in the riverbed. The bus will return to MX - "Corneliu Miklosi" Museum, arriving back at 2 pm. Booking here.

Part of

Neverending Timisoara 2023

Neverending Timisoara 2023