Feb 17th 2018

Unthought Environments

@ The Renaissance Society

5811 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Opening Saturday, February 17th, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Sunday, April 8th

Please join us to celebrate the opening of Unthought Environments. The event features a lecture by media theorist John Durham Peters at 6pm in Swift Hall, a short walk from the gallery.


Start with the ancient elements—earth, water, fire, air—and then expand your view of our elemental world. Think about sunlight, weather systems, rare earth minerals, and electromagnetic forces, to name only a few other things. Phenomena like these are integral to our daily lives but they can be elusive, easily forgotten, or deliberately kept out of sight: the hidden components of our virtual worlds, factors in geopolitics, or deeper influences on human habits and cultures. What are our “unthought environments” today? Our elemental surroundings become another kind of vital infrastructure, seemingly there to be used and overlooked, but the elements have shaped us, too, and sometimes they veer into the foreground.

Unthought Environments is informed by evolving discussions in various fields, including media studies, ecology, and philosophy. Against this backdrop, new and recent artworks offer a set of explorations with different focal points in the elemental sphere as it intersects with our more human-made domains. The artists’ videos, sculptures, photographs, installations, and digital images delve into the state of water in multiple countries; the mining operations that feed our computers; the effects of the sun; electromagnetic fields made visible; dust storms; and other phenomena brought to life.

Curated by Karsten Lund and including artists Daniel G. Baird, Marissa Lee Benedict, Nina Canell & Robin Watkins, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Cécile B. Evans, Peter Fend, Florian Germann, Jochen Lempert, Nicholas Mangan, Miljohn Ruperto, and Xaviera Simmons.

Background of image above is: Jochen Lempert, Cloud Cover, 2013 (detail). Courtesy of the artist and ProjecteSD, Barcelona.

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