CAM 2nd Ave Sign Project and Residency
CAM 2nd Ave Sign Project and Residency Oct 2021 - Jan 2022
We are contaminated by our encounters
Photo from We are contaminated by our encounters, a 2nd Avenue sign project with Common Area Maintenance (CAM). The 4' x 6' backlit sign, made of cut papers and polyethylene, is in conversation with a series of poems displayed in the adjacent storefront. These poems, a substitute for static explanatory wall text, will evolve during my residency at CAM and over the run of the exhibition through a series of revisions involving erasure and collage. The title of the installation is taken from Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing's The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, whose words also become entangled within the project's reflection on the relationship between consumption and extinction.
“We are contaminated by our encounters; they change who we are as we make way for others. As contamination changes world-making projects, mutual worlds—and new directions—may emerge. Everyone carries a history of contamination; purity is not an option. One value of keeping precarity in mind is that it makes us remember that changing with circumstances is the stuff of survival.
But what is survival? In popular American fantasies, survival is all about saving oneself by fighting off others. The ‘survival’ featured in U.S. television shows or alien-planet stories is a synonym for conquest and expansion. I will not use the term that way. Please open yourself to another usage. … [S]taying alive—for every species—requires livable collaborations. Collaboration means working across difference, which leads to contamination. Without collaborations, we all die" (Tsing 27,28)
The project opens October 9 and is supported by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.