Nina Katchadourian

Adaptation: Between Species / e-flux

Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Cory Arcangel, John Bock, Olaf Breuning, Marcus Coates, Robyn Cumming, Mark Dion, FASTWÜRMS, Shaun Gladwell, Lucy Gunning, Nina Katchadourian, Louise Lawler, Hanna Liden, Hew Locke, Sandra Meigs, Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimarães, Jeff Sonhouse, Javier Téllez , Michelle Williams Gamaker

Curator: Helena Reckitt, Senior Curator of Programs

Civilization notwithstanding, we live with and among nature and animals. Cultural followers such as pigeons, rats, foxes, and – in Canada – bears, live off our refuse, while bacteria reside in our guts. The industrial world eats further into natural habitats, but micro-environments flourish in urban and exurban sites. Responding to the contemporary desire to go “back to nature,” The Power Plant’s summer group exhibition ‘Adaptation: Between Species’ explores interspecies encounters. What happens when humans, animals and the natural world meet? What forms of communication, miscommunication, intimacy, and exchange ensue?

While species live in ever closer proximity, many people feel profoundly cut off both from natural environments and from their own animal natures. Our deep longing to connect with non-human life forms is reflected in contemporary phenomena ranging from the boom in pet ownership and the widespread anthropomorphism in popular culture to the upsurge in vacations that promise to transport us to unspoiled lands.

However, despite this deep-seated sense of alienation from nature, the species are in fact closely related. For instance, as Donna Haraway notes in her book When Species Meet, 90 percent of human cells are filled with the genomes of bacteria, fungi, protists, and such, with only 10 percent comprising human genomes. ‘Adaptation’ explores this commonality between the species and considers the various forms of intelligence and knowledge they share. It also asks what our interactions with other species reveal about our human as well as our animal natures. Highlighting the urge to observe, touch, live with, and mimic other species, the exhibition delves into the intimate and, at times, uncanny fusions that result. Many of the artworks hover between seriousness and absurdity, embracing the potential for fantasy, childish antics and regression at the core of human/non-human relations, and reveling in the transgression of both social acceptability and human identity that interspecies encounters can engender.

Coinciding with the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity, the exhibition considers how adaptation functions as a form of biological and cultural survival. It also takes a realistic view of human/non-human dynamics, acknowledging the unbalanced and exploitative power relations that too often characterize our society’s attitudes toward other life forms.

What do we learn by sharing our lives and this planet with other species? Impersonating and identifying with the natural world and the animal kingdom might contain the seeds for radical change, as we affirm our links with other species, recognize our animal natures and experience the liberation of feeling wild at heart.

A publication together with an extensive program of public events accompanies the exhibition. Highlights include a DJ Set and SKRY-POD public tarot reading by Ontario artists FASTWÜRMS, a film screening ‘Animal Drag Kingdom’ with works by Guy Ben-Ner, Douglas Gordon, Kathy High, Kristin Lucas, and Steve Reinke and Jessie Mott, a children’s workshop on animal language, and free gallery tours every weekend at 2pm.

SUPPORT DONOR: The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation

The Power Plant offers free gallery admission all summer thanks to the support of the Hal Jackman Foundation and Media Partner NOW Magazine.

via Adaptation: Between Species / e-flux.

ecoartspace NYC 2010 benefit “What Matters Most”

ecoartspace invites you to participate in our first NYC benefit exhibition titled What Matters Most? The show and benefit party will be hosted by Exit Art in NYC from April 15 – 28th, 2010.

What Matters Most? will begin with responses to this question posted on Monday February 15th on Andrew Revkin’s NY Times blog, Dot Earth by leading environmental experts, writers and readers. Participating artists will have the option of creating an original artwork related to the blog entry of their choice or donating an existing work.

All proceeds from this fundraiser will support ecoartspace activities and programs. ecoartspace has been operating as a bicoastal nonprofit platform for artists addressing environmental issues since 1999. In our ten years of programming we have worked with over 400 artists, curated 38 exhibitions, 70 programs and collaborated with over 140 organizations. To celebrate our achievements as well as raise money for future programs we recently held our first benefit auction at Mina Dresden Gallery in San Francisco on December 4th, 2009.

What Matters Most? begins Thurs April 15, 2010 and ends with our Benefit Sale: Thursday, April 28th , 2010. Please click on the image above for more detailed information.

Artists participating as of 2.13.10 include:

Joan Bankemper, Andrea Reynosa, Joy Garnett, Chrysanne Stathacos, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Diane Burko, Sandy Gellis, Fritz Haeg, Steven Siegel, Joanne Greenbaum, Lisa Hoke, Dove Bradshaw, Jaanika Peerna, Chris Kennedy, Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky, Teri Hackett, Elizabeth Demaray, Robert Lobe, Kathleen Gilje, David Schafer, Claudia Hart, Lori Nozick, Christy Rupp, Kathe Burkhart, Joanne Howard, Abigail Doan, Alan Wexler, Charles Goldman, Marion Wilson, Emily Brown, Katie Holten, Robin Kahn, Nina Yankowitz, Carter Hodgkin, Geoffrey Hendricks, Nina Katchadourian, Hunter Reynolds, Erik Hanson, Janet Pihlblad, Kunie Suguira, J.J. L’Hereux, Austin Thomas, Mikael Levin, Rhona Bitner, Michael Somoroff, Sandi Sloane, Jill Levine, Steve Keister, Alison Moritsugu, LC Armstrong, Stacy Levy, Jan Harrison, David Webster, Simon Draper, Mary Mattingly, Susan Leibovitz Steinman, Ann Rosenthal, Steffi Domike, Mary Ann Strandell.


We give thanks to the Exit Art staff for their support. This event is a continuation of our relationship with their Social-Environmental Aesthetic (SEA) program including our participation in The Drop exhibition in 2006 and EPA in 2008.

Amy Lipton and Patricia Watts

Go to EcoArtSpace