Curated by David Salomon, Cathryn Dwyre, Chris Perry, and Kathy Velikov.
Can the ill effects of modernity’s insistence on isolation—of ideas, people, disciplines, cultures, species, wealth, objects, nature, etc.—be understood, let alone reversed, by evermore isolation? Or, do complex environmental and humanitarian issues demand more inclusive and indirect techniques to recognize and reflect upon them? Ambiguous Territory answers this second question in the affirmative. The sometimes unnerving, sometimes empathetic affects presented in this exhibition are the outcome of the unexpected juxtaposition of remote sensors, robots, and rock piles; of strip mines, stratigraphy, and satellite imagery; of pollution, plant languages, and point clouds; of deft draftsmanship and timely data-scapes; of networked kites, clouds, buoys, and balloons; and of new ideas and new forms of representation. The resultant forms highlight the synthetic and surprisingly efficient ability of art and design to reveal what is ubiquitous but often invisible in our cultural and physical climates.
This is the function of new sensibilities: to capture and hold dissimilar things in a single ambiguous form or image. Defined by uncertainty and indeterminacy, ambiguity would appear to be the antithesis of knowledge production and problem solving; in fact, it is the source of them. The existence of ambiguity is what inspires intellectual and aesthetic inquiry. Ambiguous entities are always admixtures; they can grow and expand to incorporate more elements and engage more issues. Their transformative logic creates improbable hybrids. Such forms do not fetishize aesthetics or distract one from reality. In Ambiguous Territory these complex admixtures include combinations that incorporate one discipline with another, that integrate information technologies with biological species, and aggregate invisible atmospheres with physical matter to create new architectural and artistic idioms.