Exhibition

What are the boundaries of the self?

The human body is composed of and animated by a vast consortium of organisms. Our cities both affront and absorb the landscape. The effects of our actions extend into geological time and even into outer space. Despite this, we often view humanity as separate from nature instead of part of a greater living system. If everything is entangled — from the microbe to the macroeconomy — how can we rethink our relationship with the living world?

THE END OF YOU invites us to expand our perceptions of self. What might happen when we stop seeing ourselves as individuals acting in isolation to experience the world as nested expressions of a larger whole?

Room of Relations

What are the boundaries of personhood?

The Room of Relations is a space for encountering expanded forms of multispecies agency and kinship on a living planet. A multifaceted tapestry provides a rich narrative canvas for sites of expanded “personhood,” revealing the front lines of a global movement for the rights of nature. Interactive videos, projections, audio, and printed works enable exploration of worldviews that recognize the inherent rights of landscapes and other non-human relations, inviting a familial sentiment of care and belonging.

THIS HAMMER KILLED JOHN HENRY BUT IT WON’T KILL ME or Radium 266

Who pays the cost for ecological abuse?

THIS HAMMER is a kinetic memorial to the ongoing radioactive cleanup crisis in San Francisco’s Hunters Point and the recent discovery of a highly radioactive object in a parcel of Hunters Point (that had been declared safe since 2004). Named after James Baldwin’s 1963 KQED documentary about Bayview–Hunters Point, THIS HAMMER is comprised of 75 paper lanterns (one for each year since the nuclear contamination of Hunters Point) that are inscribed with headlines from the Bay Area’s oldest Black newspaper, the San Francisco Bayview. As viewers approach the object its radiation signature responds, illuminating the lanterns with increasing intensity and color relative to their proximity, and challenging us to consider living with the chemical Body Burden of inhabiting a toxic environment — one which our Black neighbors have endured for almost a decade. What happens when we lay our Burden down? Who will carry the weight?

The Luxuriant Prolific Undying

What if there is no end?

The Luxuriant Prolific Undying is a journey beyond the narrow boundaries of everyday persona towards entanglement with the more-than-human world. The disembodied embark on a guided meditation while lying down under a suspended Red Alder root, or perched upon wood slabs in front of a Cedar root. Confront the impermanence of life by contemplating the perpetual cycles of death and resurrection through the intertwined mortality of all living things.

The Archive of Human Nature

How will we be remembered?

The Archive of Human Nature holds evidence of human ingenuity: a collected sample of material history from three hundred thousand years of human life on Earth. Accumulated without intentional bias, the objects on display are preserved for evaluation by all species.

This exhibit acknowledges the immortality of the items we have created, which are also the traces that we will leave behind. This repository posits our behaviors and actions tied to these objects as questionable, and asks if our dependence on these objects can be reimagined. The archive will expand alongside planetary evolution and extinction, persisting for as long as human nature is relevant to life on this planet. Through the act of archiving, this exhibit encourages us to question tools for existence from the perspective of other species.

Immersive Game of Life

How can simple rules define a complex, living, and ever-changing world?

Immersive Game of Life illustrates the emergent complexity of systemic lifeforms through a lush, simulated landscape. This interactive experience is modeled after the Game of Life, a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970. Entering the installation transforms a simple simulation that uses intuitive rules to depict an interconnected world, full of fascinating behavior and tiny creatures. On a grid where each cell is either alive or dead, the rules define how cells perish (as by overcrowding or starvation) or emerge (as by birth).

Terminal Blurring

How can we perceive patterns across scales?

Aldo Leopold’s provocation “to think like a mountain” challenges us to imagine relationships beyond our everyday perception. Terminal Blurring helps us to perceive interconnected phenomena from the micro to the macro. It provides a vehicle for an introspective journey of discovery across the entire magnitude of Gaia.

Uncanny Forest

How can we connect with the life cycles of ecosystems?

The Uncanny Forest lives as an audiovisual experience enacting the perpetual rhythm and essential elements of Earth’s seasons. Its multisensory environment represents the life of a forest across scales and over its annual cycle of birth, growth, death, and decay. This virtual forest echoes the shifting balance of life’s cycles, providing a digital mirror reflecting both our sublime attraction to and anxiety about the mortality of the natural world.

The RegisTree

Who aren’t you?

The RegisTree invites embracing an augmented visual identity of the self, transporting “you” into hidden parts of the living world. In this portal, the “self” is refracted through collective elements of nature. The RegisTree expands the sense of identity by issuing a customized card totem representing an interconnected self situated within the world of the exhibit.

About

About

THE END OF YOU was the culmination of a year-long collaboration between Gray Area and Gaian Systems, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to explore the potential of immersive art for social impact through the Experiential Space Research Lab. The open call for participation invited artists to propose novel experiences to cultivate planetary thinking. The End Of You was on view at Gray Area from February 7 — March 1, 2020.

Learn more about the exhibition in Reworlding: The Art of Living Systems.

Selected Press

Wired

The interactive art pop-up The End of You tackles the environmental crisis through a transhumanistic lens.
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Mission Local

The power of The End of You comes from the process of slowly discovering the space and unraveling your relationship and responsibility to nature through it.
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The Bold Italic

The End Of You uses visual projections, meditative spaces and other tools to allow people to explore Earth as a living ecosystem and reimagine our connection to it.
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SF Weekly

The End of You takes on a monumental goal: Give art-goers a more intricate and intimate connection with Earth’s natural environments.
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