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A Sea Change Into Lands Rich and Strange
January 28, 2015 - February 25, 2015
Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 28, 6 - 8pm


A Sea Change Into Lands Rich and Strange considers our dialectical relationship to the "natural" environment: how we reproduce it and how it reproduces us. The exhibition and programming will consider the future of our engagement with our natural and cultural resources by questioning how, in relationship to the land, we recharge our myriad sets of batteries—economic, social, affective, and material. The works reflect a range of relationships between human culture and the natural environment under capitalism through parody, narrative, allegory, documentary practices, research and social critique. With Tom Ackers and Melanie Gilligan, Malin Arnell and Pablo Zuleta Zahr, Amy Balkin, João Enxuto and Erica Love, Elizabeth Knafo, members of the video collective Paper Tiger Television, Jeanine Oleson and Jessica Segall.

Malin Arnell and Pablo Zuleta Zahr's video Sporing Lips of Transposed Desire (2011) plays out autoerotic fantasies of desire through the history of feminist filmmaking, shifting nature from backdrop to the object of lust and longing. Tom Ackers and Melanie Gilligan's two-channel video Deep Time (2013)shows the breakdown of the symbiotic relationship between the human condition and the natural world. Wiki'd (2012) a text work from Jeanine Oleson will be presented in tandem with a photographic print and artist book, The shore is still in the sea (2012); together the works reveal networks of contingencies that complicate the seeming placidity of the Arctic landscape. Photographic documentation of Jessica Segall's performance, A Thirsty Person, Having Found a Spring, Stops to Drink, Does Not Contemplate Its Beauty (2011) from atop the Svaldbard Global Seed Bank on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen portends a future wherein human culture is reliant on this seed library housed in the arctic to regenerate a habitable planet. Amy Balkin's installation, performance and audio recording of the 2014 International Panel on Climate Change synthesis report brings this critical text and analysis out of relative obscurity and into a public realm, making it visible and intelligible outside its current legal and discursive systems of circulation. 

In addition to the performative reading of the 2014 IPCC report for Balkin’s work, the exhibition will include a screening of Rare Earth, directed by Elizabeth Knafo, and Rerooting the Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation, produced by members of the video collective Paper Tiger Television (PPTV). The screening will be followed by a conversation between Knafo and PPTV member Amanda Matles. Over the course of the exhibition João Enxuto and Erica Love will organize a Sci-Fi reading group drawing on divergent accelerationist and degrowth models to think through the utopian and dystopian visions of our social and biological ecologies.

Public Programs and Events

February 4, 2015, 7:00 – 10:00pm
Rare Earth & Rerooting the Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation
Screening and conversation with Elizabeth Knafo and Amanda Matles

Please join us on Wednesday, February 4th for a screening of Rare Earth, directed by Elizabeth Knafo, and Rerooting the Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation, produced by Paper Tiger Television. Afterwards Knafo and Matles will be speaking about the human cost of industrial capitalism, produced scarcity and the problematics of frontier mentalities subtending "progressive" politics in the United States today. Rare Earth, dir. Eilzabeth Knafo, explores the re-opening of an historically toxic rare earth mine in the California desert, and the intensifying land rush for the high-tech minerals across the world. The film is a portrait of changing desert landscapes and the residents who grapple with the impacts of industrial mining. Rare Earth traces the toxic and transformative legacy of treasure hunting in the American West—a legacy of speculation, produced scarcity and the social violence of resource extraction—deepening in our era of global climate change. Rerooting the Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation was produced by Paper Tiger Television members: Maria Byck, Amanda Matles, Nadia Mohamed, Adrienne Silverman. From food deserts, to the plans to “rightsize” the city, Detroiters resist, rework, and remain resilient given the social and ecological failures of post-industrial global capitalism. With a critical lens on race and class dynamics, this documentary weaves together segments on Detroit’s labor history, the roots of Detroit's urban agriculture movement, a critical look at philanthro-capitalism and its relationship to urban renewal, as well as media (mis)representations of a city in transformation.

February 8, 12:00- 3:00pm
Reading the IPCC Report, Amy Balkin
Seven volunteers participated by reading 15-minute segments of the 2014 International Panel on Climate Change synthesis report as part of a public recording that is being played back for the duration of the exhibition.

Sundays: February 8, 15 and 22
Sci-Fi Reading Group, João Enxuto & Erica Love
Experimental Theater, Abrons Arts center

Throughout the exhibition João Enxuto & Erica Love will oversee the organization of a Sci-Fi reading group. Texts and conversations will draw on the divergent accelerationist and degrowth models to think through the utopian and dystopian visions of our social and biological ecologies.

February 8 at 2:00pm: For our first gathering we will meet at 2pm to fit in a screening of Seconds, the 1966 American film starring Rock Hudson and directed by John Frankenheimer. The readings are two short stories that will keep with the mid-20th century existential/post-human concerns of the film: "A Weary Man’s Utopia" by Jorge Luis Borges and Samuel R. Delany's, "Aye, and Gomorrah...".

February 15 at 3pm  these readings bridge themes from the first week (Utopia, Immortality) with Feminism and introduce the topic for th following week, the Anthropocene. Texts include: Alexander Bogdonov, “Red Star” in The Museum (1908), 74-81; McKenzie Wark, “Alexander Bogdanov: Workings of the World” in MOLECULAR RED: Theory for the Anthropocene (2015), 3-13; Fredric Jameson, “Utopian Science versus Utopian Ideology” in Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2005), 42-56; Octavia Butler, “Bloodchild” in Bloodchild and Other Stories (1984); Joanna Russ, “When It Changed” in Again, Dangerous Visions (1972)

February 22 at 3pm these readings were recommended by Ed Keller, a writer and designer and Director for the Center for Transformative Media at Parsons where he is an Associate Professor in the School Of Design Strategies. He is currently teaching a course on Post-Planetary Design which uses science fiction writing as a means to speculate on design strategies that extend beyond our blue planet in the coming millennium.Texts include: fromCyclonopedia by Reza Negarestani (2008): Bacterial Archaeologyand The Thing: White War and Hypercamouflage; Peter Watts, The Thing; Sadie Plant, Spam Book intro, Paul Davies, 2009: What Will Change Everything?, and Life on Earth... but not as we know it.