Speculative Frictions @ PDX Contemporary

Speculative Frictions
Caspar Heinemann, Emily Jones, Ranu Mukherjee, 0rphan Drift, Lisa Radon, Stephanie Simek

Organized by Lisa Radon

April 03 – April 27, 2019
925 NW Flanders Street, Portland OR 97209

PDX CONTEMPORARY ART is pleased to present Speculative Frictions, a group exhibition with works by five artists and one collective using diverse media and approaches. Lisa Radon contextualizes the artists and work in the exhibition:

Speculative Frictions makes what poet Joan Retallack refers to as a poethical wager on the “Experimental Feminine” or open-ended research into the unintelligible as opposed to the hypothesis- driven scientific method (masculine) research that stakes out its end position (the hypothesis to be supported—or not—by empirical data) before it begins. Scientists, that is, “strategically ask only answerable questions.” The experimental feminine is, by contrast, “all that is not business as usual and vice versa.” This wager is guided by what Retallack calls a feminine dyslogic, what we will call rather an extra-logic or “the need to operate outside official logics—[which] is essential because official logics exist to erase any need to operate outside official logics, i.e., the feminine.” This erasure is not unrelated to the structural oppression of Federico Campagna’s Technic, and to it can be opposed, as he writes, forms of what he calls Magic.

Against both the brutalities of the current economic/political landscape and against the easy capitulations of accelerationist theoretical positions, can we speculate freely that many worlds are possible? Can we prototype aspects of futures in manners micro and macro, sci-fi and organic, practical and im-?

The speculations of these artists include tools, propositions, juxtapositions, situations, writing (and writing as in coding) worlds, or wrighting in a way that leverages spaces to be found in the cracks in the continually reforming edifice of patriarchal capitalism. Their work is grounded in various forms and methods of research, from experiential, material, and lab-based to deeply historical to lateral or serendipitous Google searches and amateur YouTube tutorials. This is a DIY, punk pragmatism that says yes, we take what we will from existing ways and means (to include deprecated), but also perhaps our way is as good as any.

We are learning all the time.

Caspar Heinemann is a writer, artist, and poet. Their interests include critical occultism, gay biosemiotics, and countercultural mythologies. Recent events include a US tour and readings at the Baltic Triennial, BAK Utecht, Camden Arts Centre, and KW Berlin. They have exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, David Roberts Art Foundation - London, Cabinet Gallery - London, and Outpost Gallery - Norwich and been a guest at Chelsea College of Arts, the University of Reading, the Sandberg Institute, Goldsmiths, and HEAD, Geneva. Their first book of poetry, Novelty Theory, is forthcoming from The 87 Press. They were born in London, UK, roughly 2.5 months after the release of Green Day’s seminal album Dookie.

Emily Jones: I looked back at the mountain and I thought wow this is really too much. Survival is not a theory. I believe we should keep the old growth forests for self-defense. So why should our bones remodel? Why have people glued themselves to gates? What language do you want to remember? Recent exhibitions include as a bird would a snake, Centre d'art contemporain - la synagogue de Delme (2019) Folk Hall for a Village, VIE D’ANGE Montréal, Sand Dollar Sea Biscuit, Prairie Chicago (both 2018); Just Us, First Continent, Baltimore; Half Earth, VEDA, Florence (both 2017); emilyjones.info

Ranu Mukherjee (MA, Royal College of Art, London, BFA Massachusetts College of Art, Boston) works across media, combining drawing, painting and print alongside video, animation ,and choreography. Her work is an exploration of the construction of culture through the forces of creolization, the nomadic, ecology, speculative fiction, desire and the unknown. Recent Solo exhibitions and projects have been presented by the De Young Museum, Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, Asian Art Museum San Francisco and Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Her work is in the collections of the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, NY, Kadist Foundation, NY and Paris, JP Morgan Collection, New York, Oakland Museum of California and the San Jose Museum of Art. She is represented by Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. Ranu is an Associate Professor in Graduate Fine Art at California College of the Arts, San Francisco. She was co-founder of 0rphan drift, a cyber-feminist media collective which emerged in London in 1994. Their work has recently been shown in Still I Rise: Gender, Feminisms, Resistance at Nottingham Contemporary and De La Warr Pavilion, UK, Matter Fictions at the Berardo Museum, Lisbon, Unruly City at Dold Projects, Sankt Georgen, Germany and Eat Code and Die at Lomex Gallery, NY.

Lisa Radon is an artist and poet. Solo exhibitions include those at Et al. (San Francisco), Muscle Beach (Portland) as part of the Portland2017 Biennial, Jupiter Woods (London), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art as part of TBA, Pied-à-terre (San Francisco), Ditch Projects (Springfield, OR), and Artspeak (Vancouver, B.C). She’s also shown work at the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle), BFA/Castiglioni (São Paolo), RONGWRONG (Amsterdam), S1 (Portland), and Titanik (Turku).

Her publications include Wholeness Engine (2017, Jupiter Woods), The Blind Remembrance of the Swirling Bone (2016, Ditch Projects/Artspeak), Infinity Increaser (2014, PICA), The Plumb and The Wave (2014), The Book of Knots (2013, cL_books), and Prototyping Eutopias (2013). Age of Sand (2019, Panel.LA) is forthcoming. Her work is held in the collection of the Henry Art Gallery, The Orchards, and private collections. lisaradon.com

Stephanie Simek experiments with an array of materials, making works in two dimensions, three dimensions, time, and sound. Works have included a room-sized crystal radio, an invisibility cloak, a spacesuit indicator badge, and an observatory tower in Corinth, Vermont. Simek has made exhibitions and had residencies at Signal Culture, Museum of Contemporary Craft, the Portland Building, Littman Gallery at Portland State University, The Feldman Gallery at Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Fairbanks Gallery at Oregon State University. She has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2007.