Marguerite Humeau

FOXP2, FOXP2, FOXP2. We are outside the building. An illuminated FOXP2 sign flashes at the end of a dark entrance hall. An accelerated heartbeat resonates from the entrails of the walls. The signs flash to the beat. We are now inside the building. There does not seem to be any access to the entrance hall. Another door has been blacked out. Two vectors of varying light lead to the end of a black corridor. A Homo sapiens breathes. Its voice sings the rain, sings the wind and birds, its throat vibrates, and FOXP2 mutates. It attempts to speak, but can only cough. The voice then evolves and multiplies. One hundred and eight billion Homo sapiens spectres are now singing in choir. They are the souls of all human beings who have ever lived on planet Earth since the first tribes of Homo sapiens, one hundred thousand years ago. They start speaking in an incomprehensible protolanguage. The millions of voices merge into one and reach a saturation point. At the end of this corridor, an opening leads to the luminous horror. We enter the bright, dazzling showroom. An elephant herd is displayed on various platforms, each covered with a pink carpet. The carpet has been dyed with pigments concocted using the chemical components of a human body. The carpet is a body without a soul. The oldest female pachyderm on display knows this is the end. The beast has become a walking carcass. It keeps walking. It enacts its final parade. The members of the entire family of the matriarch are now all touching its body with their trunks. The herd growls and rumbles loudly. One beast, Enid, shows emotion: tears. Enid is a female engineered to cry out of sadness.

Edwina, Amelia and Antonia are three females, whose larynges have dropped, allowing them to sing in an almost articulated language. They beatbox to the soon-to-be-dead. Tony is fed with depressant hormone powder. It emits mournful sounds. Emmett is a male set in artificial oestrus and is now showing highly visible signs of aggression. The matriarch attempts a last reassuring dialogue with its family. Félicie, in the background, is quietly humming a drunken funeral march. It now shows signs of self-destruction. It is absorbing ethanol coming from a masala fruit. Edwina, Amelia and Antonia beatbox for the second time. Bastien, a newborn elephant, screams for the first time. Pierre is being injected with endorphin powder and sweats artificial but deep happiness. Meanwhile, Vronski and Deborah are experiencing the three stages of love. They are being injected with hormones of lust, attraction, libido, and physical attachment. Jean is watching the scene with a sense of wonder. The matriarch enters in its last act. Life has evacuated its receptacle. Death is happening live and fast, fast, faster, faster, it contaminates every form of life in the showroom. The heartbeat decelerates rapidly. It then stops beating. FOXP2 flashes. Life has completely escaped from the body. An almost eternal silence follows. The genetic code resets. The heart starts beating again, FOXP2 starts flashing again. We are outside the building/.


Marguerite Humeau is a French artist living in London. She studied at the Royal College of Art, graduating in 2011. Her work focuses on communication between worlds. She has called herself an “Indiana Jones in Google Times”. Humeau had her first major solo show at the Palais de Tokyo in 2016. She was also a part of the Manifesta in Zurich in 2016, and the Nottingham Contemporary. Her work has also been shown in other major galleries and institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Victoria, and The Albert Museum.