Variations of this exhibition took place at Sector 2337 (Chicago) in September 2015 and is currently on view at Vox Populi (Philadelphia) until June 18, 2016.
Sebastian Alvarez, Srijon Chowdhury, Katy Cowan, Zoe Crosher, Lindsey French, Essi Kausalainen, Deanna Ledezma, Wilfredo Prieto, Steve Ruiz, John Steck Jr., Linda Tegg, and Andrew Yang; a night of performances by Katherine Behar and Joshua Kent(curated by Every house has a door); and The Lichen Museum, an Institution in Residence, by A. Laurie Palmer.
Responding to a new field of critical thought, imperceptibly and slowly opening uses the group exhibition format to explore the strangeness of plants and how they trouble human structures. Vegetal life forms are banal in their ubiquity. Undeniably alive, yet silent, they creep upwards, their roots submerged and out of human sight. Like anarchists protesting order, weeds break through concrete. Plants challenge theoretical logic as well; they can be both one and many: Aspen trees growing on a hillside share a single root system. Plants have occupations and desires: engaged in constant growth, they spread out with a will to consume and occupy space. Studies confirm that plants communicate and activate built-in chemical defense mechanisms to ward off predators. Some even move visibly: Mimosa plants close in on themselves when touched by a human finger. This would suggest some kind of sentience, but what would the character of that sentience be? How do we quantify it? imperceptibly and slowly opening highlights the inaccessible subjectivity that plants possess. Proposed artists install multi-disciplinary artworks showing plant life as it troubles both physical and ideological human spaces. Capitalizing on the potential for multi-disciplinary programming at Sector 2337, the Chicago iteration of this exhibit includes Impatient Flowers — a performance series curated by Every house has a door, a Lichen Tour, a three mile plant walk, and a reading. In Philadelphia, a smaller iteration of the exhibition will take place along with an exhibition talk on June 14th. The show’s affiliated catalogue (The Green Lantern Press, 2016) contextualizes participating artists with auxiliary writing by Giovanni Aloi, Joela Jacobs, Renan Laru-an, Robert Johnson, Michael Marder, Catrina Sandilands, Steven Shaviro, Eleni Sikélianòs, and others. This exhibition is part of an on-going investigation that began with Field Static (The Co-Prosperity Sphere, 2012), Ghost Nature (Gallery 400 / La Box ENSA, 2014 + Journal for Artistic Research), and congealed this fall in a group show about human representation, The New [New] Corpse (Sector 2337, 2014). Following suite, Imperceptibly and Slowly Opening attempts to examine and celebrate the verdant strangers among us.