How Structures Govern

Keller Easterling, Eve Meltzer, Sung Tieu

May 31, 2023, 1pm

In the framework of Sung Tieu’s first U.S. debut solo exhibitions at Amant and MIT List Visual Arts Center, Keller Easterling, Eve Meltzer, and Sung Tieu convene in a virtual panel discussion exploring structural components as a power to regulate. Taking as its point of departure the concurrent exhibitions — which both center Sung’s research of physical and psychological realms of social and political powers, primarily articulated through space and architectural elements — the conversation will take a closer look at the legibility of infrastructure in the built environment. In particular, the speakers will reflect on the intersection of conceptualism and structuralism in visual art since the 1960s and the place of humanism—and humans—within the manifold systems that govern and organize our lives.

How Structures Govern is held in conjunction with Sung Tieu: Infra-Specter on view at Amant in Brooklyn, New York and Sung Tieu: Civic Floor, on view at the List Visual Arts Center.

Free, but registration required. Program link will be emailed to registered attendees. Accessibility: live transcription available

Image: Sung Tieu, Proximity Relation, Body vs Infrastructure, 0002, 2023

Keller Easterling is a writer, designer, and the Enid Storm Dwyer Professor of Architecture at Yale. Her books include, Medium Design (Verso 2021), Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), Subtraction (Sternberg, 2014), Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades(MIT, 2005) and Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways and Houses in America (MIT, 1999). Easterling also co-authored (with Richard Prelinger) Call it Home a laserdisc/DVD history of U.S. suburbia from 1934-1960*. Easterling lectures, publishes, and exhibits internationally. Her work appeared in the 2014 and 2018 Venice Biennales. She is a 2019 United States Artist in Architecture and Design.

Eve Meltzer is associate professor of Visual Studies at The Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU and is an affiliated faculty member in NYU’s Department of Art History. Her work explores the intertwining of psychic life and visuality with a focus on the abiding questions of subjectivity and subjectification, particularly after antihumanism. Her first book, Systems We Have Loved: Conceptual Art, Affect, and the Antihumanist Turn (U Chicago Press, 2013) situates the conceptual art movement in relation to the field of structuralist thought, reframing two of the most transformative movements of the 20th century and their common dream of the world as a total sign system. She is currently working on her second book, Not Me, Mine, Ours: Belonging and Psychic Life After Photography (under contract with U Chicago Press), which wagers that the relationship between the psyche and the camera is more intimate, complex, and important than we have yet to describe, particularly as it pertains to claims of belonging.

Sung Tieu is a Vietnamese-born artist based in Berlin. She has held recent solo exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Bonn; Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (2021); Nottingham Contemporary; and Haus der Kunst, Munich (2020). Her work was included in the 34th Bienal de São Paulo, the 2021 Kyiv Biennial and was exhibited in group survey exhibitions at Museion, Bolzano; Kunsthalle Basel (2021); Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt; GAMeC Museum, Bergamo; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2020) and Kunsthaus Hamburg (2019). She received the 2021 Frieze Artist Award and the 2021 Ars Viva award and the Audience Award of the 2021 Preis der Nationalgalerie, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin.

Ear to the Ground brings together events, performances, and talks that run in parallel to Sung Tieu’s exhibition Infra-Specter between March and September 2023.

Ear to the Ground recalls a practice of paying attention to sounds and vibrations that travel through the land, allowing the listener to predict the arrival of animals, trains, other humans, or the presence of flows in the underground as well as even more intangible phenomena.

In this series of public programs, we look into spectral practices: forms of acquiring knowledge beyond the eye that require building trust and depend on intuition. Might invisible sensations, ghostly feelings, or dreamlike perception allow us to anticipate and imagine possible futures? Might they help us in turning away from destructive, divisive acts of conspiracy to forms of conjecture that are creative and deeply informed by their earthly context?