May 4-9, 2022
Opening hours: May 4, 5 & 9, 10am-5pm
Opening reception: Friday, May 6, 4-7pm
Panel Discussion and Meet the Artists: Sunday, May 8, 4-7pm / panel at 5pm
The exhibit Savage Confessions by Liu Wa & Yang Bao creates a multi-sensory and ever-evolving visual-soundscape through video, music and painting, seeking to heighten our sensuous receptivity to the more-than-human world.
The first part of the exhibit features two-channel video Late Night Savage which focuses on the day and night of three plants at nuclear sites in the United States, the former Soviet Union and China during the Cold War. The two artists embarked on an 11,000-mile journey to conduct field research in Washington State, U.S. and Gansu, China, and lived among the plants. As a symbol for the American West, tumbleweeds, propelled by the force of the wind, travel around to spread radioactive seeds at the nuclear reactor in Washington State. Sunflowers are now planted at Chernobyl, as a cheap corrective method to clean up the contamination. Camel grass at the nuclear city in Gansu, China, embodies the patriotic zeitgeist for dedicating one’s life to the motherland. However, both camel grass and tumbleweeds are invasive species from Russia that disregard land borders, freely traversing the landscapes. Genetic mutation caused by ionizing radiation speeds up the plants’ aging process, leading to an increase in its entropy. While living means fighting a losing battle against nature, the short-lived plants still display incredible resilience and savageness.
The silent carnival of these nameless actors has never been alien to us. We are all savages.
As part of the show “SAVAGE CONFESSIONS,” a panel brings together Yang Bao and Liu Wa in conversation with two pioneering artists and scholars, Bruce Brubaker and Gediminas Urbonas. Based on their own cross-disciplinary explorations, the four guest speakers will engage in an open conversation on the codependency between humans and nature at the time of global warming as well as the importance of multidisciplinary perspective in the increasingly complex world.
This exhibit has been made possible by the generous support from The Art, Culture, and Technology program at MIT and the Council for the Arts at MIT