Embark Gallery is a San Francisco exhibition space dedicated to showing the work of current and recently graduated MFA students. This summer they launched R&D projects, a series of research-intensive fellowships in collaboration with local nonprofits. The two fellows this summer, Tanja Geis and Christopher Nickel, worked with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Internet Archive to create new bodies of work currently on view.
Geis' "Lurid Ecologies: Ways of Seeing the Bay" and Nickel's "A Few Select Bits of All Knowledge: A Visual Archive" can be seen through August 19th (12-5pm weekend, or by appointment).
"Geis has partnered with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) to develop an exhibition responding to their work monitoring, conserving and restoring the San Francisco Bay. For Embark, Geis reimagines the substrates set in the bay for colonization by Ostrea lurida, the native oyster, for a series of phantasmagoric drawings made using mud pigment from the Bay. These drawings are shown alongside a 3-channel video installation, shot in research tanks at the Romberg Tiburon Center."
"For "A Few Select Bits of All Knowledge: A Visual Archive," Nickel mines the image collection of the Internet Archive—an ever-expanding visual database of user generated digital (and digitized) media—for the raw materials to create large-scale scroll-like tableaus. These digital collages of seemingly unrelated images have been filtered through the eclectic categories employed by the Whole Earth Catalog—a publication that acted as compendium and how-to guide for the utopian visions enacted by the self-sufficient back-to-the-land communities of the 1960s and 70s. Visually drawing the two together acknowledges both the active role that the Whole Earth Catalog took in promoting digital networks as the emerging form for self-organizing communities, while also serving as a direct model for our current Internet-based aggregators, searches engines, and the non-hierarchical system the Internet Archive has applied to its multiple repositories as they seek to fulfill their mission of providing 'Universal Access to All Knowledge'."