Heather Kapplow & Walker Tufts - Goethe-Institut Boston - USA

Quick access:

Go directly to content (Alt 1) Go directly to first-level navigation (Alt 2)
Autolysis keyvisual © Heather Kapplow

Heather Kapplow & Walker Tufts

headshot heather kapplow © Imke Wagener Heather Kapplow (no 3rd person pronouns preferred) is a self-trained conceptual artist based in the United States. Kapplow creates participatory experiences that elicit unexpected intimacies using objects, alternative interpretations of existing environments, installation, performance, writing, audio and video.
Kapplow’s work has received American and European government funding; support from numerous private foundations; and commissions from galleries, film and performance festivals including the MIT List Visual Arts Center, ANTI-Festival, and ISEA International.
An avid collaborator, Kapplow has co-created ensemble projects at the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (DK), Guggenheim Museum (US), Institute of Contemporary Art (US), Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (US), Museo Arte Moderno (MX), Museum of Fine Arts Boston (US), and the Queens Museum (US), and performed within live artworks by La Pocha Nostra, Paul Ramirez Jonas, and On Kawara.
Kapplow is also an active member of two international art communities that produce work collectively: Flux Factory and Mobius Artists Group, and an affiliate artist at metaLAB at Harvard University. 

headshot walker tufts © Heather Kapplow Walker Tufts is an artist and game designer. Walker’s work explores our relationship to others (human and more-than-human) through games, exhibitions, dinner parties, and performances. 

With various collaborators Walker makes games that playfully place player’s bodies in physical relationship with global systems, dirt, bodies and microbiomes. His work has been shown internationally including: MassMoCA, Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, and Flux Factory. His projects have received funding from the Danish Arts Council, the Arts Council of Wales and the Foundation for Contemporary Art. Walker has created commissioned public works and participated in residencies from Saint Petersburg, RU to Portland, OR. He is currently collaborating with bacteria to grow experimental concrete in the Emerging Practices MFA at University at Buffalo. More at kosmologym.com and listeningwith.com.


Dirty Time


Installation and Performances
June 1-15, 2022
Goethe-Institut Boston

video by Nick Blanchette
We take our project’s title, Autolysis (self-splitting), from the name for the first stage of decomposition when a body is buried, and from the Greek roots of that word. Autolysis is a poetic and visceral exploration of issues around climate change, plant species adaptation/extinction, and personal mortality through a focus on/engagement with soil/dirt.

Dirt/earth is the very base of our daily existence and also where we return to when we cease to exist. It nurtures us, and then we disappear into it. 

In the Covid-era, when we have become profoundly oriented towards the digital, and where cleanliness has felt like a life or death imperative, Autolysis offers an immersive, tactile and olfactory experience of re-connection with the earth and to dirt. 

Autolysis also opens conversations about personal relationships with the earth in a way that emphasizes the actual material of the earth rather than earth with a capital “E”, and creates space for gentle contemplation of end of life/end of species issues. 

Dirty Library Hotline
Ongoing (June 2022)
Bring or send us your dirt to 170 Beacon Street Boston MA 02116. Call us at 617-861-8898 and tell us about it on the telephone.

Dirty Walk
Saturday, June 4, 1-3 PM  (rain date: June 12)

Join Autolysis artists Heather Kapplow and Walker Tufts in a guided walking experience.We’ll engage our senses and imagination, paying close attention to the Goethe-Institute’s neighborhood–its flora, its history, its soil–and gather materials that can be used to contribute to the evolving aspects of Autolysis

Dirty Hang: Open Studio Drop in Hours
Tuesday, June 7 and Friday, June 10, 5:30 - 7:30 PM
Autolysis artists Heather Kapplow and Walker Tufts will be onsite working and hanging out, and you are welcome to come by and visit to investigate the work and ask questions. This is a casual time to get to know us and the work, informally. BYOB, and if you’re able, also bring a ziploc baggie or jar of some soil from somewhere that’s important to you that you can share with us. If you are unable to make our open studio drop in hours, get in touch–we can also be available by appointment.

Dirty Movie: Lessons of Darkness
Wednesday June 8, 6:30 PM

Director: Werner Herzog, documentary, 55 min., 1992
Shortly before the end of the Second Gulf War, Iraqi troops set fire to the oil fields and terminals as they withdrew from Kuwait. Herzog and his cameraman attempted to capture the unfathomable, the apocalypse, on film.

Finissage with Artist Talk and Dirty Karaoke
Wednesday, June 15, 6:00 - 9:30 PM

Join us for a closing party for Autolysis! We’ll begin with an artists talk, where Heather Kapplow and Walker Tufts will host a free ranging conversation about their work and how Autolysis fits into it, perhaps with special guests. Then we’ll all enjoy the soil one more time, and do a little dirty karaoke! Bring your favorite song about dirt, death or climate change and we’ll help each other keep our spirits up even though we know the end of the habitable world is nigh. Please bring a ziploc baggie or jar of some soil from somewhere that’s important to you that you can share with us for our ongoing collection.