Ethical cohabitation—how to live together and how to be in the shared environment—is the problem that brings together the sociopolitical, cultural, and ecological within this exhibition. While ostensibly aiming to achieve harmonious balance, such relations are nevertheless inherently antagonistic and always unstable. In this context, how does one choose to act?
To address this question, we have traced out a network of physical sites along the west side of Manhattan to activate an expanded territory, both literally and figuratively. Specific project sites for the exhibition include The Kitchen, the High Line, the Little Red Lighthouse and the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant. This decentralized exhibition structure suggests multiple positions (geographical, historical, and physical) in which visitors may situate themselves. We provide the opportunity for artists and visitors to perceive and participate in these interrelationships within the urban environment.
Undercurrents is an experimental ecosystem in itself, opening up a collective platform for thought, the imagination, dialogue and action; the exhibition is a site to critically engage with the changes taking place in the entangled registers of the world around us. The range of artistic practices and issues presented produce surprising encounters, demonstrating how cohabitation is the source of struggle and creativity, problems and solutions, malice and beauty, and consists of the stage on which we all ultimately play a role.
Curated by Anik Fournier, Michelle Lim, Amanda Parmer and Robert Wuilfe Whitney Independent Study Program Curatorial Fellows, 2009–2010