Third Nature

Group Exhibition

08–29.05.2016: CCS Bard / Hessel Museum, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY, US

Curated by: Laura Herman
With: Nina Canell, Marjolijn Dijkman, Femke Herregraven, Basim Magdy, Suzanne Treister.
Dates: 8 – 29 May 2016
Location: Center for Curatorial Studies and Hessel Museum of Art

The question of how we live depends on what lies in-between us. Infrastructure is the given answer to the question of how worlds are constituted. It is a promise of movement and relation, its actual materiality producing unguaranteed effects. Infrastructure organizes matter and people, it embodies breakdown and repair; it short-circuits and disseminates, it divides worlds while granting access to other ones. Even as the original military connotations of infrastructure remain, infrastructure today has expanded to encompass all forms of governance, from organizational systems to communication networks and global economics, in addition to soft forms of infrastructure like protocols, rules, contracts and international standards.

If art grappling with infrastructure typically favors diagrams, maps and data visualization, the work in this exhibition does not show infrastructure, but rather how it feels to function in a world governed by the infrastructural. According to theorist McKenzie Wark, “Our imaginings of what is at stake in the transformation of the space of the globe by third nature are still only that: imaginings.” This third nature is explored through works by Marjolijn Dijkman, Suzanne Treister, Basim Magdy, Nina Canell, and Femke Herregraven, which are brought together in this exhibition to challenge how infrastructure is more commonly depicted through representational regimes. Instead, these works suggest post-cartographic attempts at navigating infrastructure’s affects and effects, placing more reliance on divination, imagination and speculation. The works incorporate fictional lava landscapes and trading algorithms, psychoactive plants and multinational corporations, rubber gutta-percha blocks and information networks, binaural beats and the returning specters of past technologies. Spanning different temporalities, geographies and epistemologies, Third Nature brings together disparate and multiple responses to an infrastructure-driven world, with malleable possible outcomes.

My participation in the exhibition at CCS Bard and the event at Storefront for Architecture has been generously supported by the Mondriaan Fund