András Cséfalvay

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Cséfalvay Cséfalvay Cséfalvay
Models to Outlive Extinction
András Cséfalvay typically creates narrative video works, which are situated in a digital reality. Prompted by the ongoing, sixth mass extinction, he thematizes previous extinction events in his work, titled Models to Outlive Extinction.
Cséfalvay exhibits the summaries of multiple, interlinked animation films in the framework of ACLIM!. These pieces were prompted by the artist’s personal conviction that we are in short supply of positive visions for the future, which would provide hope for survival in the shadow of the nearing catastrophe. The four video works thematize this shortcoming. He resurrects interesting characters from the history of evolution and, with them, they confront a rationalist depiction of the world. Alongside a purely scientific research, Cséfalvay uses various forms of fiction to identify interconnections, which can provide the basis for a liveable future that overcomes the fear of death, pandemic- and climate-anxiety.
His works also highlight the slow reactionary pace of scientific methods. Research processes that require deep engagement have decelerated, in contrast to the interest-driven increasingly widespread tabloid- and pseudoscience. However, the biodiversity and environmental crises require unprecedentedly quick responses. All of the mind’s skills are ready to be deployed according to Cséfalvay. Artistic creation carries the opportunity, better yet it should be its objective, to use its freedom and find a path leading away from despair and return with good news.
Cséfalvay’s installation is a digital depiction of four survival models on a virtual desk. A fictitious researcher’s desk appears on the screen; when we enter, we can browse four more virtual screens and belongings used for research (a notebook, a model of an ancient skeleton) that lie on the table. The four videos highlight and draw upon moments of evolution- and extinction theory that resemble the current crisis of humanity. Take to the sky depicts dinosaurs’ strategies to survive extinction – it explores their feathering and its by-product, flight. On another virtual screen, Ghosts of Sandberg resurrects the native species excavated at an important paleontological site near Bratislava that had once lived on the seabed. They tell a story of how ammonites and trilobites abruptly adapted and changed; thereby, they testify what the role of an individual can be in large evolutionary processes.
In the documentalist piece Punctuated equilibrium, he introduces Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge’s theory of evolution. Their alternative approach substitutes the continuous competition between species as the engine of evolution with an ambition to maintain longer periods of equilibrium. The Birds of Paradise focuses on the ancient vision of hope, which, according to Cséfalvay, could have burnt into the minds of prehistoric mammals at the end of the Mesozoic Era. In this vision, winged figures cut across air that has thickened from the clouds of ash and exit the atmosphere after the meteor struck. Feathered dinosaurs rise into the air and adapt to the hopeless situation in the video and with this, they become the symbols of survival.
In comparison to scientific models, Cséfalvay’s models of survival do not only rely on knowledge that is presumed to be certain. Instead, the fictitious characters of his tales surpass the boundaries of technology, allowing him to develop possible paths leading away from extinction.


Installation view