p r o j e c t s
Installation at the Riverside Art Center
Invisible Visible formed through conversation between Colleen Plumb, an artist, and Katherine Kassouf Cummings, a writer; between images and words; between the individual and society. Expressed through photography, sculpture, video, and writing, this collaboration invites an examination of our relationship with the invisible that exists all around us.
The installation: sweeping along the back walls, a black and white video projection shows the gentle handling of wing sculptures, wing after wing being passed in endless succession. At front, another projected image slowly breathes, appearing and disappearing: color photographs of raw wing bones from a bird, a chicken. The red, raw bones “breathe” on row after row of plaster-cast sculptures of a chicken wing. The projected image moves our eyes beneath the surface of the wings, into the interior. Flanking the wings are an assembly of chalk white bones cast from a wing bone. This delicate line of bones mirrors the physical experience of workers in a slaughterhouse, standing in compact rows.
Plywood walls hold—protect—the wings and bones. These fragile plaster-casts were created as a gesture of honor and acknowledgement of fellow living beings. In the process of making, each one became a prayer. Plywood, a material ubiquitous in labor-intensive industry, subverts the common use as barrier and instead becomes a canvas of unity. The plywood platform and the walls encase—nest— the rows, that become markers of 175 chickens. 175 is the rate of birds killed every 60 seconds in factory slaughter in the US. As the video breathes, we are invited to join the artist in an act of witnessing the chickens and the workers, together subjected to the suffering created by our industrial food system.
Available on the gallery door: Outside hangs a newsprint poster, bound into a pad, with writings attending to the question of what makes the invisible visible. The writer describes a practice of attention, witness, and vision for relating with, and welcoming into view, the invisible. The reader traverses through stories that lead to the interior, beyond the visible and back through imagining. Posters of the writing are to be torn from the door or listened to via an online recording, and all experienceing this work are invited to absorb the writings—to take the stories with them—and carry the question out into the world. – CP + KC
> Listen to: INVISIBLE VISIBLE written and read by Katherine Kassouf Cummings
Project sponsored by Phoenix Zones Initiative, a nonprofit organization on a mission to advance rights, health, and wellbeing. Led by physicians and a diverse cross-sectoral team, Phoenix Zones Initiative recognizes the inextricable links between the welfare of people, animals, and our life-sustaining planet in the struggle for social and environmental justice. We focus on robust structural change by advancing ethical norms, values, legal and economic frameworks, and public policy to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalized people and animals. Our programs center on critical needs and acute intersections between human, animal, and planetary wellbeing.