S H I F T I N G G R O U N D
319 N 11th St, Philadelphia, PA
Dec 6 -Jan 4, 2020
Free fall, the idea we are perpetually in a state of dismantling chaos, is the central theme represented in Hito Steyerl’s essay, "In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment On Vertical Perspective." Steyerl begins by describing the history of the horizon used in early navigation, from which scientific linear perspective was created—a political effort at grounding through limitation. According to Steyerl, linear perspective was built into art and culture as a true representation of the world using one vantage point, proclaiming itself to be, “natural, scientific, and objective.” However, as Steyerl also states, this is “decisive negation.” By ignoring that which does not exist in one’s central, subjective position, the worldview becomes limited as it is grounded in assumptions of linearity. The real fact is that the future is a much more malleable object. Shifting Ground is a group exhibition of six artists, Molly Dillon, Melanie Johnson, Kim LaVonne, Julia Monté, Keira Norton, and Sophia Reed, who, through a variety of materials, think about dismantling the preconceived notion of stability that exists in this world; pointing to the liberation found in groundlessness.
We live in a post linear perspective world, where the downfall of colonialism has been precipitated by breaking the flat horizon in order to display scenes of mayhem. We see snapshots of the global perspective that fractures our myopic worldview. Moreover, new technologies offer the illusion of a complete vision with aerial gazes from above, being controlled through a screen; we are a floating observer, ever more distant, yet are still told we are on solid ground. This exhibition hopes to break the trust we have found in a contemporary spatial vision that claims itself to be all encompassing, going against delusions of safety found previously through extreme mastery. We aim to show viewers varying glimpses of life seen while embracing free fall, without presuming any particular perspective. We instead propose that there is no stable ground, nor single truth, but shifting forms pieced together from one artwork to the next. The works bear witness in a world without a horizon line, admitting to the uncanny and unknown all around us.