Extinction | Imagination
Lydia Cornett, Aaron Peters, Brett Taylor, and Mollie Wolf
Extinction | Imagination is an exhibition of work produced by the 2021-2022 recipients of the Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme (GAHDT) Graduate Research Grants, featuring work by Lydia Cornett (Art), Aaron Peters (Art), Brett Taylor (Art), and Mollie Wolf (Dance). The year-long, multi- and interdisciplinary fellowship pushes awardees to speak across disciplines and boundaries. The GHADT Theme, Extinction | Imagination, understands extinction as “a range of existential threats to ecosystems, species, populations, cultures, languages and lifeways” and “engages histories, present realities and future possibilities of extinction to create a space for conversations about loss and survival that can hold both mourning and world building.” Each artist in this exhibition engages with the threat of extinction to speculate on human futures enabled by interspecies entanglements, queer time, and crip theory.
The reception for this exhibition will take place May 5, 4-6 p.m.
Projects in the Exhibition
Said/Unsaid: A Visual Study in Nonverbal Communication is a vignette-structured film that documents a variety of embodied forms of communication — an integral component of our humanity that is under threat of extinction as the ways we exchange ideas are optimized for digital connectivity. Through an associative approach, the film makes connections between disparate forms of manual, nonverbal and sensory communication, marking their vital importance in a world where society relies on language to be utilitarian, transactional and reactive. From communication systems like cued speech to the small gestures between musicians in ensembles, this film points to the multitude of ways we can message with one another through embodied and sensorial forms.
Broken Objects re-imagines and values the right to repair and re-use, conservation, sustainability, and contributing to the public by fixing other people's broken objects. As an opposition to the overvaluation of buying and creating new things as a form of progress. It refocuses our attention to the infrastructure that surrounds our daily lives and question what we deem valuable. Recasting a broken handle for a cooler, gluing a ceramic jar back together, re-creating a shattered shot glass into a marble opens up possibilities of what a “fix” might mean in different circumstances. By asking the public for broken possessions, the project is a correspondence and form of community building revolving around our objects. It’s a gift exchange between friends and strangers with capital being taken out of the interaction. With fixing being a foundation of the project, I am also interested in speaking with and hearing the stories behind people’s objects. Every circumstance has brought about different conversations about sustainability, becoming self-proclaimed minimalists, history of past travels, and stories of surviving the post-pandemic landscape.
In De/Re/Un-Becoming: Composing Being at the Intersection of Ability, Gender and Sexuality, I explore the intersections of queerness and ability considering the lenses of visual art, gender, sexuality, and disability studies. Utilizing both Queer and Crip frameworks, my work challenges static definitions of the body by removing hypermasculine figures from printed matter then constructing and reprinting the composition using the margins, the space that surrounded the now extinct figure. Works are supported by personal experience and narrative but are reimagined and transformed through theoretical research resulting in speculative compositions that inspire conversations that embrace difference over homogeny. Using light and collage, it is my intention to speak about the concepts of opacity and transparency, the seen and the unseen as it relates to the constant construction and imagined iterations of the body and self over time.
The WILDS is an ongoing series of dance films that focus on imagined solo encounters with wilderness landscapes, post human thriving. This project proposes visions of alternative futures in which humans partner with nature in deeply intimate, interdependent, sustaining relationships. Employing frameworks of visionary and science fiction, each film is created to suggest intimate relationship with more-than-human life—a relationship that offers possibility after extinction. Each film in The WILDS combines realities that we rarely see together, layering opposing concepts simultaneously (e.g. youth & wisdom; human & creature; protocol & play; survival & wonder; organic & synthetic; desire & decomposition). This is purposeful—an acknowledgement that in order to move forward from where we are now, we need to grow to be more comfortable with paradox as a foundational truth of living. The processes that support The WILDS highlight an imperative to adapt as a community toward new methods and approaches that sustainably support the humans and ecosystems that our artistic projects involve and impact.
Extinction | Imagination is presented in partnership with Urban Arts Space's Hybrid Arts Lab, a multi-venue learning lab that experiments with how art is imagined, made, viewed and understood.