Liveable Worlds

On view: October 6 – December 15, 2023

Reception: October 6, 5:00–8:00 pm

View Exhibition Website Here

By most any measure, the world is becoming less liveable. Climate breakdown undermines ecosystems and ways of living, paralleling crises in social life. These disruptions reflect long-standing patterns rooted in the inseparability of settler-colonialism, anti-blackness, and environmental destruction. Whether under political occupation, psychic pressure, or environmental duress; artists, designers, and filmmakers have long found ways to create in what are otherwise unlivable conditions. Liveable Worlds takes as its point of departure the notion that there are multiple “worlds”— material, psychic, and communal—and opens space to envision new forms of visualization, survival, collaboration, and community.

The artists in Liveable Worlds combine organic materials such as soil, water, and plants, with found materials and technological tools to create sculpture, painting, film, photography, installation, community projects, and performance. Some works in the exhibition combine scientific inquiry, organic systems, and recording practices with speculative imaginaries in order to envision alternate futures. Others conceive of imagination as not simply future-oriented, instead engaging notions of inheritance, ancestral gifts, and legacies of extraction. Seen together, Liveable Worlds focuses on how artists, designers, and community members have long seen environmental disruption as a moment to reimagine and rebuild.

Parallel to the exhibition, the ICA will host events focused on community engagement surrounding environmental justice, on regional and global scales, including a Symposium on November 3-4.

Artists include: Futurefarmers, Sky Hopinka, Athena LaTocha, Patte Loper, Mary Mattingly, Pamela Moulton/Posey, Oscar Santillán, Cauleen Smith, Will Wilson

Symposium: Saturday, November 3-4, 2023

We have invited a number of community organizations to the ICA to collaborate with the sentiments and aims of the show during an evening keynote and a day-long symposium. These organizations are oriented to environmental justice and were chosen because their practices are, as we see it, part of an attempt to make our City and our state more “liveable.”

Community organizations include: Greenhorns, Bigelow Labs, Maine Youth for Climate Justice, Fresh Food Gardens, Wild Seed Project, Plant Office, Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions

Curated by Associate Professor of MFA Julie Poitras Santos and Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities and coordinator of Sustainable Ecosystems: Art & Design (SEAD) Minor Sabine Malcolm. Generous support for the exhibition was provided by the Jeremy Moser and Laura Kittle Fund, and by Robert W. Burgess, Jr. and Barbara Rose Burgess. 

Header Image: Sky Hopinka, Sunflower Siege Engine, video still, 2022. HD video, 16mm to HD video, stereo, color | Courtesy of the artist.