Start with the four classical elements—earth, water, fire, air—and then broaden your view of our elemental world. Imagine sunlight, weather systems, electromagnetic forces, and rare earth minerals, to name only a few other things. Phenomena and materials like these are integral to our daily lives but they can be elusive, easily forgotten, or kept out of sight: the hidden components of our virtual worlds, dynamic factors in geopolitics, or deeper influences on human habits and cultures. What are our “unthought environments” today? Our elemental or geophysical surroundings become a 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 partly inspired by evolving discussions in media theory, ecology, philosophy, and anthropology, and borrows its title from John Durham Peters’s book The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media. Nevertheless it develops in the spirit of a collective investigation: the exhibition’s subjects, approaches, and pivot points in the elemental sphere are set forth by the artists. New and recent works by Marissa Lee Benedict, Nina Canell, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Florian Germann, and others, offer a set of explorations and propositions, taking a variety of forms. Their videos, sculptures, photographs, digital images, and kinetic installations delve into the fraught state of water in multiple countries, the mining operations that feed our computers, electromagnetic fields made visible and strange, and other phenomena brought to life.
Curated by Karsten Lund.