Artist Saya Woolfalk (NY) works at the confluence of science fiction, anthropology, technology, and art to imagine a world that is simultaneously set in the future and the past. Her work considers hybrid identities, especially in relation to the contemporary transcultural influences occurring in a technologically centered, globalized world.
Since 2006, Woolfalk has been working on the creation of a fantastical population of beings called the No Placeans who are part-human and part-plant and can change gender and color. In her narrative, a group of women in upstate New York stumbled on a set of No Placean bones covered in fungi. Over time—as the women were exposed to the bones—psychedelic visions caused a genetic alteration that fused their human DNA with that of plants. With this change in their DNA, the women renamed themselves the Empathics and set out to make this hybrid transformation possible for anyone. They founded the Institute of Empathy to excavate the site and then formed a corporation called ChimaTEK to sell this process to consumers.
For Visionary Reality Outpost, Woolfalk reimagines the gallery as a ChimaTEK day spa that fosters mindfulness, guided meditation, and self-actualization for its visitors. Harnessing its ChimaCloud, a self-replicating digital universe populated by fragments, ideas, and forms uploaded to the Cloud by people from around the world, ChimaTEK’s Visionary Reality Outpost allows users to enact their desires for a positive possible future. The installation will feature work made by Woolfalk during her Arts/Industry residency at the Kohler Co. factory in 2018.
This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding was also provided by the Kohler Trust for the Arts and Education, Kohler Foundation, Inc., and the Frederic Cornell Kohler Charitable Trust. The Arts Center thanks its many members for their support of exhibitions and programs through the year.