Our premiere exhibition at Hazel and Robert Siegel Gallery, Pratt Institute will take place in April of 2022. This exhibition contemplates decay as metabolism’s twin shadow and explores the aesthetic and transformational capacity of decay.

Image: Exhibition concept render by Mengxi He

We present decay as a fundamental aspect of life that is generally ignored in biodesign practices, reflecting a modern society where corporeal vulnerability and death are equated with failure. In contrast to a Western cultural taboo around decay, we propose an exhibition centered on its transformative potential, and ask how we might collectively negotiate and inhabit decaying spaces.

Echoing the paradigm of “systems aesthetics,” we believe cultural production has transitioned from object-oriented to systems-oriented. Art now primarily functions as an adaptive mechanism and cybernetic system that produces new information, rather than only objects.

Image: Becoming Less and Less, Single channel video with sound, 11 mins, 2021

The exhibition will feature algorithmic sculptures informed by our microbial dataset, and our video work as a meditation on decay and biotechnological attempts to optimize living materials.

Image: Gnawed in the murk by tiny, gentle teeth, metabolomic data visualization, holographic LED display, galvanised steel base, 2021.
Animation by Mengxi He

In the form of fragrant fermentation sculptures, we will create a multi-sensorial experience that explores “delicious” decay, productive decomposition and microbial materiality. The sculptures will serve as habitats for microbe supercultures, assemblages of multiple microbial species living and dying in balance with one another.

This exhibition is currently in development in partnership with Pratt Institute School of Architecture, and the Emerging Curators Project Residency “Blue Cables in Venetian Watercourse” at Power Station of Art in Shanghai.