Exhibition extended to May 9, 2023
Jennifer Chen: No Evil
No Evil: Echos from the Forest – A conversation with Jennifer Chen and Spiros Michalakis
Friday, April 7 from 6-8pm
No Evil imagines a long distant future when, after planetary scaled geoengineering systems have saved earth’s population from climate extinction, planet surviving events have become new creation stories: “machines that once filled the air, sown the seeds, fertilized the ocean, and dimmed the sun have long since been decommissioned.”
Exploring a world that was once on the brink of collapse, “saved only by the forgotten creatures of the past,” Chen is interested in using radical geoengineering processes as a lens through which we can investigate practical responses to climate restoration.
Using 2D and 3D data corrupting techniques to simulate the fading of memories across time and a mixture of analogue techniques including weaving, sewing, welding, and casting, as well as digital fabrication techniques including 3D printing and CNC milling, the exhibition combines decayed digital data and new cultural curiosities to imagine a world where new mythologies are created, giving rise to a new form of craft. Audiences will wander through an abstract forest landscape drawn from this future and encounter fragments of worship, shrines, tapestries, and stories told through film and objects. No Evil invites viewers to consider the forgotten tales, myths, and artifacts that once celebrated and revered these speculative relics of climate resistance as a reminder of what future could await us all if today, we turn a blind eye and cover our ears.
Jennifer Chen is faculty at SCI-Arc and an architect and designer who works at the intersection of science and fiction, exploring themes of geoengineering, remote sensing, and climate change futures in projects that take the form of buildings, installation, film, and performance. Chen’s designs for stage and screen include a speculative series of planetary scale post-climate animations, a collection of flying drone characters for the UK’s Channel 4 science fiction film In the Robot Skies, the sellout drone orchestra performance Loop 60hz at the Barbican Theatre in London, and the camouflage costumes for the laser scanned film Where the City Can’t See. Her work has also been supported by grants from organizations such as Google Artists and Machine Intelligence and the Getty Foundation. Prior to her speculative and research practice Chen has been a project leader for Heatherwick Studio and LAB Architecture delivering a range of built works from the small scale to the monumental.
Chen has also extended her research into academic contexts, running award-winning design studios at institutions such as the Bartlett School of Architecture, SCI-Arc, and Leeds School of Architecture, and as a guest critic at universities in Australia, UK, and the US. Chen’s work has been published internationally and exhibited at galleries such as Tate Modern, Barcelona’s CCCB, the EYE Institute in Amsterdam, Telefonica Madrid, the Venice Biennale, and her first US solo show being developed for the SCI Arc Gallery in Los Angeles.