July 17th – August 14, 2020
062 is pleased to present Transplanting, a two-person exhibition of works by Tracy Brannstrom and Jenny Rafalson. Due to COVID-19, we will open by appointment only. If you would like to visit, please email email@example.com to make an appointment. This exhibition continues through August 14th, 2020.
Transplanting is a collaboration in photography and the social sciences. The exhibition traces the stories of humans and plant species as they move and migrate across geographical and cultural borders. These works prompt the question: Who gets to draw these border-lines, and what are the implications of doing so? Through a series of interviews with Chicago-based residents who have immigrated to the US, Brannstrom and Rafalson ask how and why human beings cultivate, collect, control and destroy particular plants, and what this means for large-scale social organization — as well as for the plants themselves. Here, plants are seen as dynamic subjects with rich ‘social lives’: centering them in portraits is an effort at defining them in alternative ways, opening up new possibilities for interaction.
The project has an ethnographic sensibility and highlights the messiness and excess of the research process itself. While browsing the exhibition, one encounters audio recordings, notes, clippings, articles, photographs and other images collected and produced over a six-month period. The artists sketch and unearth the social, psychological, and political-economic aspects with which plant-life is entangled, finding surprising opportunities to draw lines of connection among different actors, industries, and locations. They uncover the nearly-invisible layers of control and access, digging into the power-laden relations of humans and plants: imperialist practices of designating weeds and invasive species, transnational flows of plant-commodities and trends, the rendering of plants as taboo objects in clinical medicine, and the ways that ‘folk’ knowledge and foraging for wild edibles can radically contest contemporary power structures.
Transplanting is funded by the Arts, Science + Culture Initiative via the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute.
Tracy Brannstrom is a PhD student in Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation project explores how states and communities are dealing with the aftermath of the ‘opiate crisis’ in contemporary New England.
Jenny Rafalson is a recent MFA graduate in photography from the School of the Art Institute. Born in the USSR and raised in Israel, her work explores questions of immigration, belonging, and hierarchy in contemporary societies.