The Inhabitants of Space takes its title from the dedication of Edwin A. Abbott’s satirical novella Flatland (1962), which breaks down the geographical, architectural, and social structures of the world into a two-dimensional parody. As in Abbott’s book, the artworks included in this exhibition explore three-dimensional space by flattening it, calling attention to the image surface through practices of reproduction and record making. Technologies of reproduction including photography, scanning, photocopying, xerography, and collage are pivotal to the production of each work, while also becoming important elements of their subject matter. The artists confront the ways in which capture and print technologies have affected how we depict, build, and inhabit spaces and images, using photographic and print-based media to process images of raw materials such as concrete, textiles, and plywood. Through these image-based methods of reproduction, material is disembodied to become a symbolic language output on an array of media—all sharing the flatness of paper. Like documents, these works on sheets and films are ultimately records not of material processing, but of the manipulation of ideas related to time, conflict, loss, and representation itself.
Curated by Kristie MacDonald and Meghan Price