Talking to Carrie M. Becker

Question: Tell me about “Emergent Structures”

I’m a third year MFA grad preparing for my thesis show in March, and my latest body of work is very new to me. Before I go into that, I’d like to mention that before I went back to school, I was a commercial photography assistant in Chicago for five years. There came a point where photography had lost its luster for me and I started toying with the idea of creating installation as an outlet instead.   At its most basic, I utilize materials that I want to use (stretchy fabric, wax and plastic) and  I’m never quite sure of what I’m making until it’s done. About six months ago, I feel in love with photography again and started documenting abandoned farmhouses within a 200-mile radius of where I live in Kansas.  The properties were so great-crumbling plaster and peeling wallpaper; it felt very passive to merely document them.


My sculptural work was riding a line between being plant-like and parasitic, and I decided that it was both.  Installing the pieces by themselves in the gallery context provided too sterile an environment and on a whim, I ended up installing one piece in an attic of an abandoned house. Suddenly, all the pieces fit together and I was able to see the larger body of work for what it is: an intertwining, interloping, invading, non-native species that consumes what it touches and lives in spaces that humans once inhabited. It’s mold, it’s dust, it’s all of that. Emergent Structures refers to a phrase in biology that describes a unpredictable, random patterning, and my usage of the term alludes to the eventual appearance of “life” in a particular space that will take over without warning and eventually reclaim.

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