Towards a New Animism
at Amos Eno Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2022)
Towards a New Animism
January 6-30, 2022 Amos Eno Gallery 56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn
Towards a New Animism was an exhibit featuring works by artists Candace Jensen, David Nakabayashi, Kathleen Vance, Jo Watko & Joyce Yamada, with Grant Johnson in the Project Space.
Towards A New Animism included the work of 6 artists whose practice observes and responds to the vital and infinitely complex relationships between humans and the living planet. The show explored possibilities for shifting cultural focus, especially in the context of our universal crises; climate change, and ecosystem degradation and destabilization.
“Animism” is an anthropological term used to define and categorize worldviews and spiritual beliefs which attribute soul or spirit to places, creatures and material. It implies that places, creatures and matter have animacy or agency, even if rather different from our own. The artwork included in Towards A New Animism offers both critiques and subtle alternatives to the flawed perspectives of anthropocentrism and human exceptionalism, and posits moving toward a new ecological baseline; if we recognize the qualities of agency in non-human beings and matter, then navigating new relationships with them, and acknowledging their rights to exist and thrive, becomes imperative.
This assembly of visual work joins conversations already happening between scientists, philosophers, activists, and thinkers of all stripes— synthesizing views which acknowledge that Life is self-generating, complex, deriving from relationships of both competition and co-operation, and insistently re-forming balance moment by moment through all interactions great and small. There was a time when some in the sciences thought that life was nothing more than a mechanical process, like a machine— and so many of our cultural views still echo this. However, we are now invited to regard that as a radically outmoded idea, and to instead see life as a creative process, and to creatively participate and collaborate. This vision of humanity within a continuum of all beings related to each other, entwined and entangled, dependent on each other in mysterious and unexpected ways, is not a new idea exactly, but in this dire time, new ways of enacting and embracing this idea could be a vital and inspired turn.
And how do we get there? We start where we are; we become engaged in an erotic ecology with place and life through simple acts of observation, through reverent contemplation, and through curious attention— such as we see here in paint, writing, collage, sculpture, photography and recording. We build relationship to place, establish an awareness of beauty. Towards a New Animism proposes that a humble appreciation of complexity and cultivation of wonder will make possible what all of the knowledge of our dire circumstances hasn’t been able to do on its own— to inspire us to protect the long list of ‘things’ we love, and enable the list to grow ever longer.
Amos Eno Gallery is an artist-run nonprofit gallery and one of the longest-operating artist run spaces in New York City. Founded in 1974, the gallery is sustained by its members, and has an active annual programming schedule featuring visual arts, installations, new media, performance, lectures, and interactive activities. Amos Eno serves as an alternative, artist-run platform for professional artists in a variety of media, The gallery has been based in Bushwick for over ten years.
Download the Towards a New Animism Press Release PDF --->
Amos Eno Gallery partnered with Public Herald studios during the Towards a New Animism exhibition, to offer gallery patrons an exclusive FREE virtual film-screening of ‘Invisible Hand.’ A limited number of tickets were available in-gallery (limited to 100) for the virtual screening, which was available from any personal web-browsing video/audio device.
The film can still be rented on-demand for as little as $1 at https://www.invisiblehandfilm.com/
Invisible Hand is an award-winning, “paradigm shifting” documentary from Public Herald Studios about the Rights of Nature and community rights, narrated and executively produced by actor and advocate Mark Ruffalo.
"The system is rigged to destroy Nature. But people are defying it and shaping another world.” - Director Melissa Troutman
Film Press Release
View the discussion between the exhibiting aritsts and the filmmaker, Melissa Troutman, below: