Proof of Performances
June 24–July 29, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 24, 2:00–5:00 pm
Featuring new video and wall works, Proof of Performances expands Kelly Jazvac’s work with the material refuse of capitalism. Thinking broadly about the effects of environmental contamination, the exhibition’s tendrils of inquiry touch on the granular, the bodily, and the interplanetary.
The exhibition begins with Jazvac’s extensive research into discarded plastics: the material realities they produce and the cultural dynamics they influence. Examining this pervasive material, Proof of Performances features a new video work titled Forward Contamination. The video depicts research scientist Anika Ballent painstakingly separating microplastics from a core sample sourced from the bottom of Lake Ontario. Against this abstract and at times celestial imagery, a soundtrack features two voice actors and a drummer performing an interview conducted by Jazvac with planetary geologist Catherine Neish. Struggling to be heard above the increasing intervention of the drum track, the dialogue considers NASA’s Planetary Protection Treaty, established in the 1960s to prevent humans from contaminating other planets.
Adjacent to this multilayered portrait of environmental harm, wall pieces made from salvaged vinyl signs rework fragments of the ubiquitous corporate white-male body of advertising material. Manipulated through Jazvac’s handiwork, these images of men take on new meaning through gestures of smocking and stitching. Alongside Forward Contamination, these works playfully nod to the underrepresented labour of women: as scientists, as crafters, as agents not pictured in the corporate-capitalist model.
Proof of Performances takes its title from the fields of advertising and corporate culture: mechanisms for assessing both an employee’s work and the effectiveness of an ad campaign. Repurposed for Jazvac’s work on plastics and labour, the phrase stretches outward to query how we demarcate and measure the visible—at levels both micro and macro—and the work undertaken to track its influence.
To accompany Proof of Performances, Gallery TPW has commissioned a text featuring artist Christina Battle and Dr. Lorena Rios (Natural Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin–Superior) discussing microplastic pollution and Jazvac’s practice.