Nicole Condon-Shih

My interdisciplinary practice intersects art and science in inspiration, research, and technique and explores the communication between parts within a network that, together, construct an entire system. I’m often interested in the dichotomy between the microscopic versus the macroscopic in interpreting biological, cultural and societal systems. 

 

This exhibition brings two new colliding bodies of work together in revealing the exploratory and interdisciplinary process of intersecting art and science in the studio-laboratory. 


My investigations with color chromatography explore the hidden colors within the make-up of the ubiquitous black marker. This technique utilizes

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capillary action to distribute the different components (colors of ink) within the black marker at different speeds and distances. By using the process of chromatography, or “color writing” as the name means, I’m revealing the concealed and drawing attention to how some things might not appear as they seem on the surface. 

 

This study of chromatography led to my field research of lichen, as both reveal hidden wonders. Lichen can be found growing on rocks, trees, metal, bricks, and buildings within the city. Estimated to occupy nearly 10% of our terrestrial world, lichen can live over 1,000 years. Lichen display a symbiotic behavior and comprise three or more closely interacting organisms that must work together to mutually benefit from the arrangement. Lichen also act as excellent bioindicators of air quality because they can absorb pollution, which gives indication of pollution levels present in the atmosphere in a particular place. 

 

Symbiosis is a system of being collective, or “becoming-with”, as described by the prominent scholar in Science and Technology Studies, feminist, and post-modernist Donna Haraway, where there are mutual benefits gained from working together. Symbiosis embodies questions of how to co-exist with others, nature, and our interaction with nature in the urban context. How can we reimage our relationship with nature? The various works of this exhibition illuminate my interest in the generative process and reflect on difference and connectedness. What new perspectives can challenge us to “create-together” to reimage the current prevailing Anthropocene? What might be discovered in the hidden façade and what lessons might we learn from lichens?

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