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'HYPOTHÈSES' by Manal Kara at Pangée, Montreal

In Manal Kara’s wall portals, the frame and the image coexist, proliferating visual and poetic material in equal measure. Traversing afterlives of decomposition, entropy, and generative decay, many of their pieces document cooperative acts among the non-human inhabitants of the natural environment surrounding their home in the woods near Gary, Indiana. Living amidst a convergence of different ecosystems––the Great Lakes, prairies, and Michigan peninsulas––they find inspiration in a host of “mutual relationships viewed from outside existing frameworks.” Citing the non-equivalence of encoded language, they view poetry as an experience in itself, rather than a record of it, and art-making as a process where the artist is as much the audience as anyone else.
Where do we enter a book, a tapestry, a map, a landform, a habitat? On wheels, feeding on one another, licking and sipping, siphoning fuel, proliferating forms of knowledge on mental or physical planes in the IMPULSIVE MOTION OF A FLAT PLATE. What do we intuit with?
On a frame glazed in a patchwork of dark matte and glossy oxidized bronze tones, two arrows herald object and event, pointing to a you-are-here dot; adjacent are horizon and landscape. On the side of the piece is a list numbered 1-14 (where you’re coming from to how it’s been). Woven to its support with twine and metal eyelets is a printed fabric expanse of collaged snapshot exhibits of wood eaten by beetles. Their undulating paths form abstract minimalist linework: afterimages of embodiment, markings of the ecosystem.
Laced from within by the erratic scrawl of an invertebrate tenant, a vibrant green plant with scalloped foliage bears the traces of an insect tunneling through its leaves. The image is printed on a piece of fabric held with metal hooks to a ceramic frame, arrayed with flaming letters and arrows imploring PROLEGOMENON, INDEX, MANIFESTO. Nearby, a small diagram explicates other component parts: BOOK, PAGE, VOLUME, CHAPTER, UTTERANCE, SPEECH ACT, CHOREOGRAPHY, NOTATION.
Elsewhere, an ant and a fly drink honeydew, a sticky, sugary secretion occasioned from the anuses of aphids and other insects as they consume plant sap. Called trophobiosis, it’s a mutualistic symbiosis between organisms where food is provided or obtained. A silver fuel tank is emblazoned with the letters QUALITY LIQUID FEEDS, while beneath it, a cow appears to drink from another’s nether regions. A pair of disembodied gloves juggle balls that read ONE THING – CONTEXTUALIZES – THE OTHER. Silver felt pen on a black metal pole announces LICK.
In a carapace, as in a vehicle, commuting observes a lexicon and leaves its own traces. Smog and tire tracks bloom along thoroughfares marked by road signage. Some linguistic indicators Kara uses for their work are conjectures, postulates, and hypotheses. But these roadside displays of boldface type and reflective surfaces bear little equivalence to the terrain. How and where does language touch grass, empirically? Drive-by reads en route signal rest stops and mergers. Text teems like a hive and authorship mushrooms into multiplicities. Above ground, we witness fleeting fruiting bodies emerging briefly before dissolving back into the mycelium, reconstituting once again.
— Kayla Guthrie

12.11.22 — 17.12.22


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