Nicole Condon Shih
Nicole Condon-Shih's interdisciplinary practice seamlessly intertwines art and science, drawing inspiration, conducting research, and employing techniques that explore the intricate communication among components within a network, collectively constructing entire systems. She is particularly intrigued by the dichotomy between the microscopic and macroscopic realms, using this perspective to interpret biological, cultural, and societal systems.
This exhibition harmoniously brings together two distinct bodies of work, providing insight into the exploratory and interdisciplinary process of intersecting art and science within the studio-laboratory.
One facet of her investigation delves into color chromatography, unraveling the hidden hues within the ubiquitous black marker. Utilizing capillary action, this technique disperses different components (colors of ink) within the black marker at varying speeds and distances. Through chromatography, or "color writing," as the name suggests, she unveils the concealed, drawing attention to the notion that appearances can be deceiving.
This exploration of chromatography naturally extended to her field research on lichen, both endeavors unveiling hidden wonders. Lichen, found in diverse urban environments on rocks, trees, metal, and buildings, occupies a significant portion of the terrestrial world. Capable of living over a millennium, lichen exhibit symbiotic behavior, comprising three or more closely interacting organisms working in tandem for mutual benefit. Beyond their ecological importance, lichen also serve as bioindicators of air quality, absorbing pollution and reflecting the atmospheric conditions in a specific location.
Symbiosis, as conceptualized by scholars like Donna Haraway, becomes a central theme, embodying a system of collective being, where mutual benefits arise from working together. This prompts contemplation on coexistence with others, nature, and our interaction with nature in urban settings. The exhibition encourages a reimagining of our relationship with nature, showcasing works that illuminate the generative process and reflect on the interconnectedness of difference. Nicole poses questions about creating together to reimagine the prevailing Anthropocene era, urging viewers to explore the hidden façade and draw lessons from the symbiotic relationship exemplified by lichens.