Social Objects is about how and why we communicate – with one another and with ourselves, in intimate spaces, and as a member of broader societies. Every day we share, respond, and question, and every day we make choices – meditated or subconscious – about how to convey these thoughts. In eras of revolution and resistance, as ours is now, our choices regarding what and how to communicate carry particular weight. How do we convey languages of resistance – resistance to oppressive structures, to art world practices, to formal and thematic binaries, among many frustrating standards – in order to make change? Relatedly, how do we use communication to heal and to sustain one another amid the tumult of present and historical injustice?
In an effort to engage these questions, Social Objects brings together seven artists across varying media – including video, ceramics, photography, public interventions, and works on paper – who make work that uniquely conveys personal perspectives and challenges sociopolitical realities. The exhibition focuses particularly on artists identifying as FQTPOC (Female, Queer, Trans, and/or People of Color) who use and meld the four primary forms of communication – text, movement/the body, visual imagery, and sound. Some of these artists are speaking to a particular person or group, some are grappling with the language of others, and some ask for a direct response from the viewing public.
Among many themes, their work addresses familial connection, encourages alternative immigration dialogues, and questions the relationships between queerness and labor. Central to Social Objects is a consideration of not only what the artists are saying, but how they are choosing to say it, as these choices are radical acts in and of themselves.
The exhibition’s title stems from Nina Simon’s book The Participatory Museum; she defines “social objects” as “the engines of socially networked experiences, the content around which conversation happens.” The viewing public is integral to activating any exhibition. Conversation between visitors in and outside the gallery is encouraged, and there will be materials available for visitors to respond to the exhibition. In conjunction with the exhibit, curator Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle and CTRL+SHFT will host a public performance in the exhibition space in early August.
Social Objects is curated by Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle and features the work of Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Lizania Cruz, Miatta Kawinzi, Camille Lee, Stephanie Lindquist, Zach Ozma, and Grace Rosario Perkins.
Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle is a Los Angeles-based curator, artist, and educator who approaches the arts as a critical tool for education and change. Through exhibitions and programming, she is committed to honoring marginalized narratives and facilitating conversation. She has worked with No Longer Empty, The New Museum, and Red Bull Arts, in addition to curating exhibitions independently in New York and Los Angeles.
Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle
Organized by Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Caroline Charuk and Jessica Hubbard, this Exhibition was selected as a part of our first call for Curatorial Proposals.
Image credit: C.A Greenlee