July 14 – October 3, 2014
Reception: Saturday, September 6, 2014, 6-9 pm
Miljohn Ruperto brings the Artist Labs into dialogue with science and philosophy. In collaboration with animator Aimée de Jongh and neuroscientist Rajan Bhattacharyya, Ruperto investigates the speculative possibilities of mineral “anomalies” inspired by Georges Canguilhem’s text, Knowledge of Life. The three come together to grapple the assertion of Canguilhem, a philosopher of science, that “there are no mineral monsters,” or rather that the scientific category of mineral is incompatible with human notions of normalcy and deformity.
Canguilhem, a French philosopher and physician, served as a mentor to many scholars and philosophers, notably Foucault and Derrida. His work often questions accepted science, arguing that it serves to reduce organisms to neatly functioning and predictable machines when in fact biology is complex and subject to wide variation. According to Canguilhem, all minerals exist in nature, whether they contain mutations or not, and thus the idea that there exists typical and atypical varieties of minerals is simply a human construction. Ruperto and his collaborators use Canguilhem’s negation of human potential for influence over nature as the starting point for a meditation on the mineral as a neutral ground, resistant to anthropomorphic projections.
Using the Artist Labs as a working studio, Ruperto untangles the relationship between science and philosophy and contemplates the ways in which the categorization of natural phenomena both shape and hinder our broader conceptualization of life. Working together with de Jongh, Ruperto creates computer-generated visuals of forms derived from his research and also from conversations based in concrete scientific principles with Bhattacharyya.
Miljohn Ruperto’s Artist Lab Residency at 18th Street Arts Center and all associated events have been made possible through the generous support of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.