Elevate: Rm 921
Colleen Plumb Holding Rhythm, 2022
Dates: September 2022 – September 2023
Colleen Plumb’s newest video, Holding Rhythm, 2022 is the first commission made for Elevate: Rm 921. This site-specific video projection is viewable after dusk from the windows of 21c Chicago guests with interior-facing rooms. 21c Chicago will commission an artist annually to create a video work in response to the space and address complex issues that shape our diverse and rapidly changing world.
About the Artwork
“[Animals] are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
– Henry Beston, The Outermost House
During challenging times, many turn to nature for its ability to provide solace. Holding Rhythm, 2022, Colleen Plumb’s newest experimental video, contemplates our intersection with and impact upon the natural world. Interlacing scenes of animals in captivity with vast landscapes, Plumb examines contradictions in human-animal relationships and acknowledges nature’s capacity to calm or soothe. Tall green grass swirls in the wind, a tiger paces in his cramped cage, a beaver relentlessly swims behind a glass wall, while ocean waves rip back and forth. These sequences accentuate the forces and rhythms of our natural world, acting as a guide to finding and forging ties of symbiosis and potential pathways toward remedy.
About Colleen Plumb
Colleen Plumb makes photographs, videos, and installations that look at the complex and contradictory relationships people have with the natural world. Her work explores ways that both animal captivity and land-use reveal persistent colonial thinking, that a striving for human domination over nature is normalized, and that consumption masks as curiosity. Her work sheds light on extractive practices in order to bring attention to implicit values of society as a whole, particularly those that perpetuate power imbalance and tyranny of artifice. One of her recent projects, Invisible Visible, reflects upon the industrial food system through the bones and bodies of chickens. Her 2021 installation, Surveilling Snow Lily, was highlighted as a must-see in ARTFORUM gallery guide. Plumb’s work is held in several permanent collections and has been widely exhibited. Her first photography monograph, Animals Are Outside Today (Radius Books, 2011), critically documents ambivalent dispositions towards animals. Plumb’s recent photography book, Thirty Times a Minute (Radius Books, 2020), examines the plight of captive elephants. It was listed as a LensCulture favorite book of 2020, by Eastman Museum curator Lisa Hostetler. Plumb’s work has appeared in LitHub, Psychology Today, Virginia Quarterly Review, Village Voice, New York Times LENS, Time Lightbox, Oxford American, PDN, Artillery Magazine, and Orion Magazine. Plumb lives in Chicago and has taught photography and video at Columbia College Chicago since 1999.