Earth-human relations have reached a breaking point. Global warming and overfarming have resulted in catastrophic loss of variety in flora and fauna. Rising sea levels, desertification, and water supply depletion destabilize and displace human and nonhuman populations worldwide.
This massive climatological change faces us with the task of thinking at temporal and spatial scales that are frighteningly gigantic. In reaction to this colossal backdrop, the socio-political pendulum swings counter to globalization. Our current moment rejects the universal in favor of the provincial, shifting collective aspirations from homogenous multiculturalism to protectionism, insularity, and disparate nationalisms. This attitude appears across political spectrums — eat local, vote Le Pen.
The contemporary political climate is a retaliation to late capitalism’s latent rot. As theorist Timothy Morton explains, our predicament (global warming) is the result of a viral algorithm infecting the human species — namely, agriculture. In order to ensure a stable and guaranteed food supply, ancient peoples developed a technology that necessitated a psychological separation from and presumed dominance over Nature. As time passed, the agricultural virus steadily increased its consumption. City-states, bureaucracies, languages, and industries formed, placing human beings at the top of the hierarchy of things. Global warming is the byproduct: a planetary fever, an extreme positive feedback loop. But perhaps, as Morton envisions, a new ecological thinking can emerge when we begin to understand our horizontal relatedness to all things.
Weird Rain imagines an Earth populated with objects, species, and technologies that comingle, coexist, and collaborate — hierarchies and timelines flatten, giving each object or component equal yet unique weight in Nature’s cycles and systems. Entering the exhibition, Brody Albert patches plaster-cast snail colonies directly into the wall, embedding the index of another animal’s home into the architecture of the room. laub and Jennifer Moon’s hand-blown glass enema bags serve to perform a fecal matter transplant between the artists, connecting their gut biomes (or Gut Fairies) and therefore sharing their bodies as a revolutionary performance of love. Their green glass water filter filled with pebbles, sand, and charcoal uses earth materials to process water, a natural technology for providing sustenance. Spencer Longo investigates language distorted through digital markets, laser-etching Fiverr-designed graffiti tags into hanging loofahs — a dried cucumber-like vegetable grown for use as bathing equipment. Sarah Manuwal’s UV printed aluminum inserts alien hands into the domestic space, where they caress and commune with common house plants. Rob Reynolds’s painting of a specific date in the life of a disappearing glacier documents climate change. The painting breaks moments of color into digitally discrete islands, marking the progress of a melting water supply.
We have never not been ecological. In each of our stomachs exists a community of microorganisms communicating with a mesh of stomach neurons, essentially giving us a second brain. Our bodies interface with a network of external bodies as well: we wear sheep, drink cows, and eat corn, all biotechnologies cultivated over 10,000 years ago. This fundamental relatedness continues to exist despite historic narratives of human superiority over plants and other animals. We are not other from Nature and will always exist within it, as Nature is fundamental to existence itself. We have always been and will always be members of endless ecosystems — external, internal, and interconnected.
Brody Albert, laub and Jennifer Moon, Spencer Longo, Sarah Manuwal, Rob Reynolds
5.5.17 — 5.6.17