Eco-Artists Imagine a More Symbiotic Future, Rachel M. Tang, δημοσίευση στο ArtReview [30/1/2023]
Excavations and revelations in Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge
Brooding, stacked ingots of compacted soil, transmogrified by Claire Pentecost into an alternative form of currency, emit the slight scent of cocoa and camphor into a gallery space flecked with light from a beeswax-covered window. As part of her proposition for a different kind of value system, newly imagined banknotes depict not dead presidents but worms, bacteria and star intellectuals of contemporary ecology – Donna Haraway, for example – and her canine companion. Beginning with Pentecost’s soil-erg (2012) and continuing as a thread through the works in the group exhibition Symbionts, a contemporary eco-art discourse emerges along with the outlines of a recognisable aesthetic typology, one that sets out to recognise the critical partnerships and kinships between humans and nonhumans, and the labour of those often made invisible by biopolitical regimes (for example, human agricultural labourers and honeybees), and offers aesthetic propositions for a more ecologically minded future.
Revelations continue with Crystal Z. Campbell’s mixed-media installation Friends of Friends (Six Degrees of Separation) (2013–14), in which backlit bacteria slide ‘portraits’ of HeLA cells – the oldest human cell line still used in biological research today – appear to memorialise the biological legacy of Henrietta Lacks and her nonconsensual contribution to medical science, following the extraction of her cervical tissue containing these cells in 1951. Indeed, several of the artists’ interest in methods of museological display help to surface other kinds of invisible labour and human–nonhuman relationships: Candice Lin’s urine-nourished lion’s mane mushrooms are made with help of the gallery staff’s own urine, and Jenna Sutela’s sheets of Plexiglas containing luminescent labyrinths of slime mould hang in the dark, waiting to be activated by the illumination of flashlights, which are provided for the viewer.
Η συνέχεια εδώ.