Rat, Plastic, Wood
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Rat, Plastic, Wood is an exhibition of hybrid sculptures centering the physical manifestation of interspecies intra-action and natural forms of contamination-as-collaboration. In the gallery space a central structure of wood and plastic becomes the locus of boundaryless activity where soil, yeast, plants, fermentation, hardtack and garbage all share space and interact. While making your way, you may collide with fruit flies while inhaling the aromatics of fermenting pine, noodles, dirt, and rotting banana. You may hear the low rumble of a dehumidifier, ultrasonic rat communication, and possibly the wet sizzle of dry soil sucking up water. Taking direction from the artmaking process I have chosen to approach the writing of my support paper in a hybrid manner, combining the conventional essay with moments of irregularity—dialogue, manifesto, material and dialogical lists, recipes— forms of writing that resist conformity. In this way, the paper not only supports the work, but occupies the same conceptual and aesthetic space. I will be drawing from feminist theorist Karen Barad in exploring the concept of lichenization, using the theory of intra-action to decentralize the human and refocus our understanding of relationship-based living. Concepts of contamination-as-collaboration will be based on ideas developed by philosopher Alexis Shotwell and anthropologist Anna Tsing. These concepts will provide a framework for understanding my approach to developing artwork. I will present these ideas and explain the importance of hybrid artistic methodologies that guide my artistic outcomes. The three sections: Rat, Plastic, and Wood which form the exhibition title structure the paper: Rat introduces the exhibition and sets a conceptual framework for the artwork, Plastic speaks to the theoretical dimensions of the work, in particular, the Capitalocene and the need for transformative metabolization, and Wood concludes by discussing my materials, methodologies and processes. That said, although these divisions exist, be prepared for cross-contamination.
Cite this version of the work
Maria Simmons (2021). Rat, Plastic, Wood. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17221