Communities of microbes swirl invisibly on and within our bodies, enriching and contaminating. The corpses of whales decompose and unleash nutrients into the magnificence and muck of poisoned oceans. Imprints of our past and visions of the future commingle with the present. In Invisible Cultures—our latest series of thematically coalescing interdisciplinary work—live performances, film screenings, installations, discussions, and lectures map systems of coexistence within ancestral, oceanic, and microbial realms.
The series celebrates a primordial queerness in worlds whose ancient, amorphous, fluid structures metaphorically evade the grasp of colonialism and capitalism—yet are nonetheless physically vulnerable to their exploitation and destruction.
At the heart of Invisible Cultures is the phenomenon of whale fall, in which the majestic creature’s carcass plunges to the ocean’s depths and breathes new life into it. This process is embodied in the recent works of mayfield brooks, who presents their latest iteration of Whale Fall—titled Wail•Fall•Whale•Fall—and resonates with the cyclical nature of an ancestral and futuristic temporal vision offered in programs from Knowledge of Wounds and Black Quantum Futurism. Anicka Yi curates an evening considering ocean bacteria’s catalysis of multicellular life. Angel Dimayuga creates a living room environment convening artists and thinkers considering global Asian diasporic experiences, submerged in an oceanic soundscape by Miho Hatori. In quori theodor’s Open Room installation, vacuum packed fermented foods make nourishing offerings in an otherworldly, grotesque environment of curdling gender and Americana. In an evening of immersive dance and film, Galle invites us to decompose into collaboration and non-linear dimensions. Anto Astudillo curates a multidisciplinary evening gathering trans and non-binary perspectives that exude from organic matter and level hierarchies between the worlds of humans and microorganisms.
In these works, we see how ubiquitous, unseen forces are forever at play. We see how considering their queer, wild forms (and resistance to form) can shake hardened understandings of our world that put humanity at odds with nature and science at odds with spirituality; encage gender and sexuality; and flatten time itself. The series is an invitation to navigate untamed oceanic currents, temporal entanglements, and microbial swarms that mirror the very essence of queer life: interconnected, generative, and rooted in the intricate dance between chaos and structure.