September 23–November 19
10 Billion Barrels
at Smack Mellon
Featuring artists: dean erdmann, fields harrington, Rebecca Shapass
Delving deeper into the themes introduced by Jessica Segall’s installation, the upcoming exhibition in the back gallery brings together the works of artists dean erdmann, fields harrington and Rebecca Shapass. It focuses on the intricate interplay between humanity’s historical resource extraction constructs, the resulting ecological landscape, the nuanced subtleties of addiction, and the intriguing alignment of queer desires within the realms of environmental preservation and ecological fetishism. The title is an homage to Nancy Holt’s work “10 Billion Barrels of Crude Oil,” serving to acknowledge her consideration of land as a resource. Holt’s concrete poem, crafted in 1986 in response to an invitation from the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage, Alaska, is a testament to her encounter with the Trans-Alaska pipeline, which left a lasting impact due to its visual effect on the Alaskan landscape. Within the design of her concrete poem, Holt not only charts the pipeline’s trajectory but also presents a wealth of data and vivid details, offering a unique perspective on its materiality and presence.
Through media such as video, glass, and plants containing ephedrine, dean erdmann’s work addresses the politics of place, class, and the body, intertwining personal narrative with broader historical contexts and significant events. Probing the persistent reverberations of descendant technologies of the so-called superhuman drugs, the work unearths how substances like speed and meth have the capacity to shape and reshape our contemporary social and geopolitical terrain. Its mechanizing influence is pushing the body’s physical limits while also disrupting its emotional and intellectual capacities.
Shapass’ work traverses the domains of moving-image, installation, and text, adeptly interweaving tapestries of historical truths and imaginative constructs and eliciting a bond between geographically specific infrastructures and collective memory. Here, her work echoes the historical context of working-class human resource extraction through ruminations on societal collapse as well as the concept of the ‘lifeline.’ Also the title of her sculptural installation included in the exhibition, lifeline borrows its form from an essential element devised to assist miners in evacuating underground mines during fires or explosion incidents.
fields harrington initiates parallel dialogues further with the notion of ‘Non-Exhaustive Work,’ redefining the concept of immortality and everlasting, disembodied labor through the lens of the HeLa cell line. The designation HeLa is derived from the name of the patient, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s. Without her knowledge or consent, a sample of her cancerous cells was taken by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, for research purposes. This enduring activity can be seen as a display of undying disembodied labor and survival, perpetually reshaping and disseminating the value of Blackness.
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Platform Project SpaceOctober 5–November 4
New York Studio School Projects @ DUMBOOctober 5, 6:00 PM–October 5, 8:00 PM
New York Studio School Projects @ DUMBOOctober 5–October 26