Seeds of Dispersion

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Galeria Arsnel. Bodies of Dispersion. Curated by Denise Carvalho. Group exhibition with spurse collective and the students of Matthew Friday’s Art and Ecology class. Funded in part by a grant from Ohio University. Bialystok, Poland May 21 – June 30.

Spurse’s Engines of Dispersal: Seeding the Premises (2010) begins with the now globally ubiquitous apple seed. Each apple seed holds within itself a unique and individual possibility of forming a new apple species. It is a pure difference engine, as each seed’s genetic material is a full variation from its source tree. To maintain the continuity of a variety, the apple tree is held in a static relationship with the farmer via grafting and cloning. We entangle with these cross species alliances every time we eat an apple. To allow a seed to propagate is to invite emergent farmers, both human and non-human, to participate in the experimentation of that seed’s potential fruiting. This project will take the form of mundane everyday apple seed distribution systems. Bars of soap, building mortar and plaster, earth to add to puddles. These materials are for distribution from the gallery. With the possibility of germination, we are entangled into a broad future of relations- ecological diversity, management practices, genetic variation, stewardship, habitat recomposition and economic diversity.

This project continues the group’s collective work by asking how are we of the world and not simply in the world. It is their premise that the ordinary is better understood as a type of entanglement that implicates us in a larger ecosystem of social, biological, and cultural forces. These entanglements, when considered as engagements between human and nonhuman actors that produces a new relation, necessarily exceeds the metaphorical, the critical, the procedural and the narrative while relying at times on the catalytic and animating forces of each of those. Spurse enters this proposition on that which is both ordinary and deeply entangled – the apple and its seed. The apple is at once part of an established system of stabilities- genetic management, global food distributed networks, technological branding regimes and metaphorical tropisms. Spurse proposes a series of interventions at Arsenal to directly engage the fluid set of relations the apple presents in the context of overlapping cultural, economic and biologic milieus. A distributed orchard awaits.

Spurse’s Engines of Dispersal: Seeding the Premises (2010) continues the group’s collective work through ecosystems of exchange, propagation, and dispersal. For this show, Spurse examines the apple seed from its genetic design and relationship with the farmer, the fact that the product depends on the intervention of human touch and the role of touch within the product’s system of economic distribution, branding, marketing, and consumption, therefore creating a kind of epiphenomenon. Spurse writes, Each seed holds within itself a unique and individual speciation. It is a pure difference engine, as each seed’s genetic material is full variation from the tree. To maintain the continuity of a variety, the apple tree is held in a static relationship with the farmer. We consume the farmer every time we eat an apple. To allow a seed to propagate is to invite emergent farmers to participate in the experimentation of that seed’s potential fruiting. The apple is a vector of the economic circulation, but it is also the source that embodies the preconditions for success of the economic system. The project at Arsenal entails a participant of the collective articulating the usage and display of apple seeds and their aggregate objects as systems of dispersion throughout the gallery. These objects include an outdoor bar soap with engrained seeds engrained, bags of building plaster with seed aggregate, a recipe for public sweeping and seed collection, and a street chalk with seed pointing. Instead of focusing on issues of criticality or reflection that highlight a division between subject and object, Spurse articulates Karen Barad’s idea of agential realism and her use of diffraction, focusing on knowing as a direct material engagement that derives from subject/object interaction rather than opposition. Spurse activates Bruno Latour’s notion of politicizing ecology as other than the intersection between politics and ecology, equating action with direction, and fostering encounters that are always inevitable but never unintended.

Finally, Bodies of Dispersion disperses into a multiplicity of meanings and encounters. It is where existing systems of thought are deterritorialized within the boundaries of the gallery space, allowing these systems of thought to become gestures, and to be decoded through constantly shifting contexts and experimental happenings. Every experience can only be meaningful within a collective. Every becoming is a block of co-existence and a line of becoming is not defined by points that it connects, or by points that compose it; on the contrary, it passes between points¦ A point is always a point of origin. 7

1 Jacques Ranciere, The Future of the Image, pp. 109-116. London, GB: Verso, 2009.
2 Jean-Luc Nancy, Being Singular Plural, p. 61. Stanford, Ca: Stanford University Press, 2000.
3 Felix Guattari and Suely Rolnik, Molecular Revolution, p. 192. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotex, 2008.
4 Ibid, p. 208.
6 Emmanuel Levinas, Entre Nous, pp. 62-3. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1998.
7 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p. 293. Minnesota, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.