Kaitlyn Hunter & Jacob Guzan: Existing Unapologetically

Sunday, June 12, 2016
3:00 PM 5:00 PM

For many of us, it’s rare to notice infrastructure, and much rarer to enjoy having noticed it. The manifestations of infrastructure are, when seen at all, interpreted as agents of utility and only utility. They are there to do their job, providing electrical power, water, gas, cell reception, etc, and that’s it. The actual objects that provide these important necessities are just an unfortunate side effect, and we lament their existence. These objects (radio towers, transmission pylons, substations, etc) are seen as interlopers in the environment, as the epitome of the ever-encroaching bastardization of an ideal landscape. They are simultaneously valued as an absolute necessity for the utilities they provide and derided as eyesores, always both necessary and obstructive. It seems we have a strange sort of contempt for these objects, and this contempt isn’t rooted in any sort of informed aesthetic appraisal of them, but in the degree to which they are different from other objects in the landscape. They are inherently different than other manmade objects in that they are not designed with our culturally determined aesthetics in mind. All the other manufactured, or otherwise constructed, objects we interact with or see on a daily basis in our landscape were designed with our gaze in mind, often the culmination of much design and architectural planning meant to not just provide functional utility, but to not offend our visual sensibilities. Because of this, infrastructure objects like electrical pylons, radio towers, or water pumping stations “don’t belong” in our landscape. My argument is that they do belong. The aesthetics of these purely functional manmade structures mirrors those of nature. —Jacob Guzan

There is an inherent discourse between an individual’s perception of themselves and society’s perception of the individual. Ostracism and cultural stigma are initiated by social shame. The concepts of identity and perception are an important commonality throughout my work. It is within the context of "self" that I am investigating the other. I see the combination of the grotesque and the evolution of monster mythology as the physical manifestation of shame. In storytelling, monsters are used as a cautionary device to foreshadow the repercussions of undesirable behaviors or traits. Monsters rarely perceive themselves as such, because it is always a label given by collective social fear. I see a direct correlation between the fear and perception of fictionalized monsters and how we label each other as humans. It is the merging of monster mythology and contemporary "body" politics that thread together the conceptual underpinnings of my sculpture, print and performance based work. —Kaitlyn Hunter