Milik Bersama Rekombinan
(Recombinant Commons)

the multiplicity inside all of us
only because we are porous, radically.




Created for the Yogyakarta International Contemporary Visual Arts Festival ARTJOG: Arts in Common curated by Agung Hujatnikajennong and Ignatia Nilu. Photos courtesy of the artist and ARTJOG MMXIX at Jogja national Museum.


At first glance, River Code ("cho-deh") in Yogyakarta, Indonesia is a surreal landscape colonized by plastic, with its citizens believing their water is clean enough for daily use. While the root of the problem is complex and multi-faceted (income level, pollution as colonialism, and lack of government infrastructure) it can ultimately be addressed at the social-cultural level, requiring empathy to live and cope in toxic conditions. In this trilogy of works, the artist reflects on the polluted landscape of the river and the local citizens who live densely and intimately in its watery embrace. While water is the medium that connects us all, it is also the primary carrier of the industrial molecules, simultaneously queering both the river and the bodies of its inhabitants. Can the marginalized people of River Code care for the health of the river as if it were their own bodies? Can mutation and shape-shifting be acknowledged as legitimate strategies for survival?

The installation includes a rotating mandala projection comprised on trash found in the river, symbolizing the constant recombination of plastic particles inside our own bodies. The installation also includes a bamboo sculpture of River Code filled with blue agar that invites microbial contamination juxtaposed against contained samples of bioremediating fungi. Next, the river is flanked by a set of two latex sculptures embodying the porosity of skin as it is embedded with trash from the river. And lastly, the installation plays a child's recording of the story "Bagaimana Dunia Berhenti Bergerak" or "How the World Stopped Moving," a story about the river who speaks to a little girl and tells her it is hurting because it cannot digest all the plastic, so it must return it all to humanity.


This work would not be possible without Lifepatch - Citizen Initiative in Art, Science, and Technology, Pak Donny Widianto and Mbak Ardhiani from UGM Biotechnology, and Fulbright AMINEF, the organization funding the artistic research project, "River Gynecology." Furthermore, here is a warm thanks to the people who helped me along the way: Ferial Afiff, Nova Rachmad Basuki, Agus Tri Budiarto, Andreas Siagian, Suherman, Agung Satriya Wibowo, and Deki Yudhanto. And finally here is my greatest gratitude to new river friends: Ibu Suryawati, Pak Bejo Utomo, Pak Liliek Suroso, and Pak Mul.








River Code, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2019)










 

 Micro Performativity of Sex Hormones 💦





Through an open call for a group exhibition Interacting Art at Raumschiff Gallery, a particiating show at the Ars Electronica festival, Micro Performativity of Sex Hormones uses the “Urine-Hormone-Extraction-Action” protocol to create “hormone portraits” of the other artists in the show. I approached each artist asking them for a urine sample so that I could extract their hormones and put them on display. I also informed them that the hormone samples will not be anonymous and would be connected to oxygen masks, allowing the audience to smell and partake in the hormone experience. Almost all of the artists reacted with discomfort, mainly at the thought that the smell of their urinary hormones would repulse members of the public. Hormones, when extracted from the urine, continue to act outside the body as chemically-signaling pheromones. From my experience, the olfactory reaction to urinary hormones actually differs from person to person because everybody has a different composition of receptors in the nose. Smell being the least understood of the five senses, there isn’t enough consistency in scientific data to explain the effects (neurological, psychological, behavioral) of urinary hormones in humans. However, we can still speculate that the inhalation of the pheromones initiates a “micro-colonization” of the mind that is both ancient and evolutionary, a chemical signaling that spans all animal taxa.







































OPEN LAB - OPEN PROCESS - CONTINUOUS EXPERIMENTATION

Who was the nomadic biohacker searching for a new hormone intimacy, experimenting in a dank, dark dungeon somewhere in Linz? Showing the aftermath of urine-hormone extraction, the hormonal shrines situated themselves next to the “freak-science” open lab process from which they originate, displaying the Estrofem! Lab nomadic suitcases filled with all the materials, samples, and chemicals customized to the artist’s biohacking style and personal methodology. Revealing the experimental process not only demystifies the scientific method but also demonstrates that process is just as significant as final result. The open lab installation of Estrofem! Lab suitcases also reject the sterility and purity of both the laboratory space and the gallery “white-box.” The open lab installation shows biology and biochemistry for what it is: messy, uncontrollable, and open for mutations and subjectivitie outside of institutional access and normalization.







URINE WORSHIP... WHAT WILL WE FIND NEXT?





 PLANTS OF
THE FUTURE




Designing post-naturalism for an impossible
eco-emancipated futurity.  (Version 2 coming soon)



This project is inspired and motivated by the deforestation of Cusuco National Park, Honduras, the loss of an idealized landscape that is one of the best-suited environments for biodiversity. Hydroponics, the science of growing and sustaining plants using only water and light, is meant to be a solution where the soil disappeared from the development of a plant, and therefore “unchained” them from the earth. I envision these “post-natural” plants as organisms of the future. I have uprooted them from the degradation of the planet, and from tiny dormant seeds, they know nothing but pipe, metal, and fluorescent lights. They have never seen the sun, and yet they thrive more successfully than their mothers, fathers, and predecessors. In doing so, I ask: can I uproot them further? Can I design a system in which all components are portable, free, and self-sustaining? How much more can I liberate my plants from the earth that is the source of their destruction?

This inter-disciplinary project addresses today’s environmental issues through the artistic metaphor of scientific spectacle. By combining a hydro-aeroponic system, custom-blown glass vessels, and a six-foot satellite dish, this piece is a symbolic reversal of one of the most primitive natural processes: the uptake of water by the roots of plants as they blossom towards the sun and sky.



I would like to thank my professor Rich Pell for introducing me to the concept of “postnatural,” my mentors Joe Mannino and Ali Momeni for the progression and completion of this project, Bob Bingham for the satellite dish, the Undergraduate Research Office, Jason and Billy from the Pittsburgh Glass Center, the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Stephanie Murray and the BXA department, and finally Christian Aponte and Benjamin Welmond for their unwavering support.
@ Miller Gallery; Pittsburgh, PA, USA (2013)









CONSTRUCTION













GARAGE HYDROPONICS
EXERCISES INTO THE MATERIALITY AND
DISCOURSE OF INDUCING POSTNATURALISM




Three experimental hydroponic systems that vary in complexity to fit the growing needs of maturing plants. The plants are sprouted from seeds - their entire existence begins post-naturally. This project explores the potential of technology and bio-manipulation to reproduce and replenish locations that lack or have lost natural flora, as well as limitations to do so. Consists of found objects, fluorescent lights, and pretty much anything you can find at Home Depot. This installation marks the halfway point of a year-long Senior Studio Project.










EARLY PROTOTYPES
INHABITATION & THE ICEBERG





Nothing short of an inconclusive experiment, this project attempted to grow plants upside down in a dusty, humid basement closet. This three-week long project transformed the closet into a sort of inhabited space for both the grower (me) and the plants. Simple drip systems were constructed on the second level of the closet to sustain both plants above and below, which shared the same soil bed.