Dissecting the Cyborgian Swamp Thang at Super Dutchess Gallery / New York

the Cyborgian Swamp Thang

Cloud, Emmett Metier, Naomi Nakazato, Alexander Ross, Randy Wray

by Andrew Woolbright

15- February 18, 2021

Super Dutchess Gallery
Orchard St, New York, NY, 10002

wasn’t until Francis Bacon (1561-1626) that there was comprehensive
distinction within the word “organ.” Before, organs were in
plants, trees, our bodies, and our words. They were also medical
instruments, microscopes, telescopes, musical instruments, hammers,
surgical tools, saws, and lenses. The Greek word organon meant
“tool” or “instrument.” What is “organization” then, if
not the assembly of an instrument, an organ, or a tool.

Bacon’s retooling of the word,
to our modern understanding of organs as both internal and
circulatory, was a covert drift hiding within the Enlightenment. A
reality was instantly erased where shoehorns are organs the same way
our intestines are, the same way chlorophyll is, the same way tree
trunks are. The world of stuff and things, all held darkly and
mysteriously together by churning and moving organs, now had
categories separating the living from the dead – the apeiron’s
of thingness.

In We
Have Never Been Modern
Bruno Latour proposes a “Parliament of Things,” an organization
of hybrid objects that
pass between social constructs and natural sciences. The telescope
and microscope placed nature and all of its miracles “over there,”
away from the social, walled off by Empiricism and the natural
sciences. Latour’s proposed parliament forms a breach in the wall.

The new, dark ecology, as Timothy
Morton describes it, is circling in on us from every direction. Where
we once felt that we
are here
and it
is that
and over
, we now find
ourselves in a non-hierarchical post-human limbo. It is not just the
melting icebergs and covid and zika that are trying to recode the
human genome through their knocking, but the unrecognizable world of
algorithmic governance, data-driven policy design, Juicero’s, and
attention resource mining that churns the wave pool of subjects and

Art offers itself as a scalpel to
vivisect not just living things but the
hybrid objects here to confuse their boundaries
to cut through and find again that it’s all organs all the way down –
through and amongst and within. The organs of the internet, the
arteries of the Transatlantic cables running along the ocean floor
carry the internet back and forth might also be in the organs of
flowers now, our organs too, all of us acting like cyborgian swamp
thangs and adapting and dancing along to the music as best we can.
We’ll only ever learn what it all is through the surgical
incision, the amputation, the laser cut, to see that the half
sections of all things are stuff again. Latour’s parliament offers
us a prescient moment towards animism, one of circuits (organs),
systems (organs), algorithms (organs), living systems (organs), tools
(organs), maps (organs), and dead things (organs). The decisions of
the Industrial Revolution, Exxon, PARC, and the Silicon Valley haunt
us now and forever; but aren’t ghosts just organs too?

Justin Cloud (b.
1987 Houston, TX) is a visual artist from a family of farmers,
mechanics, and engineers. Derived from his experiences as an
automotive technician, Cloud’s work often references machinery and
automation by way of its contemporary relation with nature. In 2015,
He moved from Wyoming to NYC, receiving his MFA from CUNY Hunter
College in 2018. While sheltering at his home in Brooklyn during the
2020 outbreak of Covid-19, Cloud refocused his creative energy
through cultivating a garden, growing vegetables and plants, and
giving away food to his local community. The garden became a
sanctuary for introspection and a laboratory for community activism.
His work has been shown nationally and has been included in recent
exhibitions with LTD LA, Frederic Snitzer Gallery, and Thierry
Goldberg. He has been featured in ArtMaze Mag, Brooklyn Rail, Art
News, and Daily Lazy among other publications. Justin Cloud
currently lives and works in NYC.


(b. 1993, Fort Dodge, IA) is a Brooklyn based multi-media artist,
working to narrate an experience within a body that is undefinable
and exceeds boundaries. Referencing the duality of biology and
digital culture in form, he draws upon cyborg theory, science
fiction, BDSM, transsexualism, and psychedelics in the various ways
experiences within and conceptions of the body are altered. He holds
a BFA from The University of Iowa and an MFA from Pratt Institute.

‘s (b. 1992
Arlington, VA) multidisciplinary work spans drawing, painting,
sculpture, printmaking, and installation to examine belonging, faulty
language, and location within hybridity. She received a BA from
Anderson University, South Carolina and an MFA from The New York
Academy of Art, New York. Her work has recently exhibited at Field
Projects (NY), 5-50 Gallery (Queens, NY), Galerie Tracanelli
(Grenoble, FR),Geary Contemporary (NY), Paradice Palase (Brooklyn),
and VACATION Gallery (NY). Nakazato was awarded two Elizabeth
Greenshields Foundation Grants, an initiate Brandon Fellowship at the
Greenville Center for the Creative Arts in Greenville, South
Carolina, a 2017
summer residency at the Leipzig International Artists Program in
Leipzig, Germany, and a 2018-19 Keyholder Residency at The Lower East
Side Printshop. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

is represented by
David Nolan Gallery in New York. He has shown at Marianne Boesky
Gallery, Paul Kasmin Gallery, Mary Boone Gallery, Derek Eller Gallery
and Feature Inc., among others. He has also shown his work in London
with Stephen Friedman Gallery, in Paris at Gallerie Hussenot, in
Germany at Nolan Judin Berlin, and in Stockholm at Wetterling
Gallery. Robert Storr wrote a feature article about Ross’ work which
appeared in ArtForum in 2003. Alexander’s work was exhibited at the
Biennial at Site Santa Fe 2004 in a show called “Our Grotesque”,
curated by Robert Storr. In 2005 Alexander was one of the eight
artists participating in the “Remote Viewing” show at The Whitney
Museum of American Art in New York. Among the awards Ross has
received are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award,
an Art Production Fund Fellowship and Residency at the Musée Claude
Monet in Giverny, France, and is a two time recipient of The
Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.


(b.1965, NC) is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. His
paintings and sculptures have been exhibited at the Weatherspoon Art
Museum, NC; Galeria Camargo Vilaça, São Paulo; White Columns, NY;
Greenville County Art Museum, SC; MoMA PS1, NY; Cranbrook Art Museum,
MI; Socrates Sculpture Park, NY; and Kohler Arts Center, WI. Wray is
the recipient of awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Gottlieb
Grant, a NYFA Painting Fellowship, a Lillian Orlowsky and William
Freed Grant, and the Inaugural Irving Sandler Prize.