Soft Boundary

Artists: Noémie Jennifer Bonnet, Utsa Hazarika, Christopher Lin, Naomi Nakazato, Steven Uccello

Co-curated with SVA MACP class of 2023

April 14 – April 27, 2022
Pfizer Building, 630 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, New York

“Elements by themselves probably never cause anything.” —Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things

When boundaries are softened, disparate elements are able to gather as an assemblage, and we find that they accrue dynamic power and sustain life. The artworks in Soft Boundary come together to form a constellation of diverse materiality. Ranging from conventional art materials to organic elements like moss, bone, and branches, the physical form of these works embraces a blurring of boundaries between the natural and the human made. Beyond their materiality, the works’ conceptual underpinnings speak to a softening of boundaries between the structures that organize our reality. These structures include the natural environment and the built environment, the spiritual and digital worlds, and our understanding of time and of the self.

With artists Noémie Jennifer Bonnet, Utsa Hazarika, Christopher Lin, Naomi Nakazato, and Steven Uccello, we propose distortion as a mechanism to soften the boundaries between these structures and reveal their entanglements. Distortion is typically conceived as movement that triggers error, but perhaps it can inspire radical transgression.

Soft Boundary attempts to perceive entanglements as transformative encounters and distortion as a curious yet generative mechanism for deconstructing edges that limit us. If we can embrace distortion, we might experience change with more grace and resilience.