Press Release

Start with the ancient elements—earth, water, fire, air—and then broaden your view of the elemental world. Think about sunlight, weather systems, rare earth minerals, and electromagnetic fields, to name only a few other natural phenomena. These things can be elusive, easily forgotten, or kept out of sight, even as they become the foundations of our virtual worlds, driving factors in geopolitics, or longer, deeper influences on human cultures.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2018

Unthought Environments

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago (USA)

17.02 - 08.04.2018




Exhibition February 17 - April 08, 2018. The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, Cobb Hall, 4th Floor , 5811 S. Ellis Ave - Chicago, Illinois 60637 (USA). Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–5pm, Saturday–Sunday 12–5pm.








Unthought Environments, The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2018. All Rights Reserved

Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Avant Tout, Discipline, 2017. Photo: Boudewijn Bollmann. Courtesy of the artists.


The elemental world can seemingly be there to be used or overlooked, but it continues to shape us, too. Sometimes it veers into the foreground, leaving profound changes in its wake. Unthought Environments features new and recent works that offer different focal points in the elemental sphere as it intersects with our more human-made domains. The artists' sculptures, photographs, videos, digital images, and installations delve into subjects such as the control of water; the effects of the sun; the mining operations that feed our computers; electric currents made visible; California dust storms; and other environmental forces.

From the growing effects of climate change to the extractive demands of global capital, among other realities of our age, the elements shadow much of what we do. Perhaps fittingly, Unthought Environments is informed by emerging discussions in a number of fields, including media studies, ecology, anthropology, and philosophy—some of which are presented in a series of public programs that run in parallel to the exhibition, and in a publication to follow. As recent work in these many areas suggests, the elements can offer a compelling frame of reference, perhaps a means to think differently about our environments, technologies, and infrastructure. One might ask, what are our unthought environments today?

Artists: Daniel G. Baird, Marissa Lee Benedict, Nina Canell & Robin Watkins, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Cécile B. Evans, Peter Fend, Florian Germann, Jochen Lempert, Nicholas Mangan, Miljohn Ruperto, Xaviera Simmons

Unthought Environments is curated by Karsten Lund and supported by VIA Art Fund, the Goethe-Institut, and Pro Helvetia. Related talks are supported by the Art, Science + Culture Initiative at the University of Chicago.



Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Avant Tout, Discipline, 2017. Photo: Boudewijn Bollmann. Courtesy of the artists.