Exit Art is a little gallery in New York that's been putting together some incredibly fascinating exhibitions. Like Storefront for Art and Architecture, it always seems to be beckoning us with thematically enticing programs.
A recent exhibition, for example, tackled the controversial field of bioart. We featured several projects from this show, called Corpus Extremus (LIFE+), including Richard Pell's Center for PostNatural History.
Another recent installation featured vertical farms, urban gardens and green roofs. If you follow much this trendy landscape genre, no doubt you've seen most, if not all, of the projects, but sometimes it's nice to see what previously has been just a disparate and rather messy jumble of bookmarks littering your hard drive now collected into one, easily surveyed room.
Even some of the ancillary events sound interesting, such as a lecture once given by Oleg Mavromatti, the co-founder of the art collective ULTRAFUTURO. His talk was on Russian Cosmism, which was a “philosophical and cultural movement that emerged in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” and how this mystical philosophy “affected the development of Soviet science and space research.”
A quick wiki-research on Russian Cosmism brought up Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov, a “representative” of the movement and who was “an advocate of radical life extension by means of scientific methods, human immortality and resurrection of dead people,” and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who we read “believed that colonizing space would lead to the perfection of the human race, with immortality and a carefree existence.”
One wonders if the early development of space exploration in America and by extension the nation's popular imaginings of the landscapes of other worlds have similarly interesting antecedents, or does everything trace back to a bunch of Nazi rocket scientists and not to some deep philosophical inquiry into the human condition?
In any case, opening today at Exit Art is The End of Oil, “an exhibition of photography, prints, videos, installations and new media that addresses human dependence on oil and other fossil fuels; the ramifications that this dependency has on the future of the environment and of global geopolitics; and the recent push towards viable alternative energy resources.”
The works in this exhibition draw attention to and investigate the violent conflicts (such as in Nigeria, Burma and Sudan) and negative environmental effects that result from mining and drilling; the politicization of the oil industry; carbon-footprinting; and renewable energy options, such as vegetable and electric-powered cars, geothermal energy, and solar power. The End of Oil does not prophesize a dystopian future, but looks critically at the way in which we use and generate energy, encouraging a dialogue on this issue for the benefit of future generations.
This exhibition is a project of SEA (Social-Environmental Aesthetics).
SEA is a unique endeavor that presents a diverse multimedia exhibition program and permanent archive of artworks that address social and environmental concerns. SEA will assemble artists, activists, scientists and scholars to address environmental issues through presentations of visual art, performances, panels and lecture series that will communicate international activities concerning environmental and social activism.
So many good things piled up on top of one another.
If you're in town, consider stopping by.