Still from the film about Slime molds by Dan Baker
Ecologias Correlativas is a small ongoing (until Saturday 29th October) exhibition at the 319 Scholes Gallery in New York. It is audaciously curated by Emma Chammah & Greg Barton who attribute the foundations of this exhibition to the short text written by Felix Guattari in 1989 under the name The Three Ecologies. In this text, F.Guattari develops his concept of ecosophy, an ethico-aesthetics that prophetically refuses the ways capitalism is able to co-opt ecology and that establishes three scales of action for another ecology: social relations, human subjectivity and environmental.
The gallery/garage itself is a good example of such an attempt of escaping capitalist logics and so are the heterogeneous work exhibited. Three items (by Fluxxlab, Dr. Manos Tentzeris & Living Environment Lab) propose Do It Yourself strategies of energy harvesting, the L.E. Lab’s one being charismatic as it allows to collect and store energy as a parasite, on cars’ lights, gutters and escalators (see the video). The way those objects influence my imaginary is directly linked to the constraints that I can currently observe in Liberty Square, especially at the very beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement when we needed to find ways to bring electricity on site. Those parasite harvesters and other DIY apparatuses do not allow us to stand outside of the system, but rather to reduce our participation and dependency to it if not sometimes even hijacking it. This attitude is seconded by the interviews realized by Ecosistema Urbano who asked David Harvey (see previous articles 1 & 2) and Santiago Cirugeda (see previous articles 1 & 2) their similar position towards ecology.
I was also happy to see the presence of the Transborder Immigrant Tool created by EDT2.0/B.A.N.G. Lab to be active on Mexican clandestines’s phones when they cross the border. This tool is a small GPS that prevent a dreadful draft in the desert as well as indicating water spots.
The exhibition “finishes” on two different scales of space and of time that, rather than disregard the human dimensions, place this same human in the entanglements of a broader environment and time that influences him and vice versa. The animation film Place in Time (see below) by Miguel Soares envisions a given territory and imagine its evolution over a million years, observing various radical transformations of the elements constituting this landscape. In a similar process, Dan Baker filmed a colony of slime molds within a block of resin (present at the exhibition) reacting, communicating and evolving when encountering food (see film below).
This exhibition is therefore rich of work from people who are attached to the idea of not only designing technology but also producing it; however this production refuses to register itself within its mainstream means which would enclose it in a capitalist scheme of production. In fact that is what links all those designs together, although their object is not necessarily always directly related to a critique of capitalism -as a matter of fact, very few really are- it is their means of production in themselves that constitute a resistance to this system.