A new art exhibition coming to the Qualcomm Institute’s gallery@calit2 explores the shadowy middle ground between objects and beings, or personhood and “thingness.” Drawing from the vivid imagination of visual artist Terike Haapoja, Between Thingness and Being contrasts her early artwork with an all-new installation to create a meditative space to contemplate the relationship between people and things. The exhibition premieres Thursday, October 10 at 5 p.m. in the Atkinson Hall Auditorium and gallery.
Two media works from Haapoja’s early career, “Entropy” and “Mind over Matter over Mind,” will appear in Between Thingness and Being. Both pieces use infrared and ultrasound technologies to examine the thresholds marking an individual’s birth and death. Their attempts to understand these moments of transition instead create ritualistic images that allow the viewer to exist in relation with the unknown, while prompting questions about the materiality of technology as a means of understanding.
In the 15 years since creating “Entropy” and “Mind over Matter over Mind,” Haapoja has built a complex body of work that uses large-scale, discursive installations and related publications to question humanity’s relationship with other species, the motions of “othering” people who differ, and the legal and political structures of making beings into things and things into beings. Her most recent work deals specifically with the body, law and biopolitical operations that regulate the boundary between “beingness” and “thingness.”
Outside the gallery@calit2, a new work of Haapoja’s, “Persons and Things,” will display archival material and photography across two 30-foot walls. This new work looks at how the history of legal personhood always defines a negative space that is inhabited by “things.” By juxtaposing “Entropy” and “Mind over Matter over Mind” in the gallery with the new work “Persons and Things,” the exhibition Between Thingness and Being will bind the artist’s long-term research to these fundamental ethical themes.
Haapoja is a visual artist based in New York. Her large-scale installation work, writing and political projects investigate the mechanics of othering with a specific focus on issues arising from the anthropocentric world view of western modernism. The question of animality and the possibility of a community of difference are recurring themes in her work.
Haapoja has been honored with multiple awards, including the ANTI prize for Live Art and a Finnish State Media art award in 2016, and represented Finland in the 55 Venice Biennale with a solo show in the Nordic Pavilion. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Parsons Fine Arts, New York, co-edits several publications and speaks internationally.
Haapoja will join Pinar Yoldas, a visual arts assistant professor with UC San Diego, in a panel discussion and reception during the premiere on October 10. RSVPs for opening night are requested through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Between Thingness and Being will be on display daily through Friday, December 6 from noon to 5 p.m. in the gallery@calit2 in Atkinson Hall.
gallery@calit2 events are free and open to the public.