It’s very important for me to foreground [the] relationship between power and culture and perception through the senses. – Anicka Yi
For her 2017 exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum (a result of winning the 2016 Hugo Boss Prize), Anicka Yi worked with biologists to cultivate samples of bacteria taken from sites in New York’s Chinatown and Koreatown neighborhoods. In the museum, Yi created a room lined with agar tiles growing the bacteria, effectively creating a living environment that is infested (and decorated) with a bacterial strain connected to these sites of cultural displacement. Placed in the room were lamp/hive hybrid objects like the one seen here in Pollution Pattern. This slumped nest form is loosely based on a wasp nest Yi saw during a trip to the Amazon to make her 3D film The Flavor Genome. With a digital clock interface imbedded inside, the work becomes a meditation on time, speed, and the processes of the natural and technological worlds. Yi’s other work has incorporated materials as diverse as perfume, snails, bacteria, ants, and Teva sandals, and she uses these culturally and scientifically rich materials to ask basic human questions about the nature of identity, technology, and human psychology. Yi’s work was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial, and has been included in exhibitions worldwide.
photo credit: joerg lohse