Approximately Infinite Universe is an exhibition loosely inspired by science fiction, with its exploration of other possible worlds, its dislocation of spatial and temporal trajectories, and its challenges to distinctions between self and other, human and alien. The artists in the exhibition understand art as a vehicle for time travel, employing an array of mediums as means to move backward and forward through time. Such work revisions fraught histories and envisions utopian futures, with the effect of gaining insight into our complicated present.
Recently, allusions to space travel and depictions of the cosmos have appeared with increasing frequency in contemporary art and in the broader culture. One way to understand this phenomenon might be to see it as part of a larger escapist impulse in the twenty-first century zeitgeist: consider the recent development of commercial spacecraft and privatized space exploration, or last year’s proposal by presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich for a colony on the moon.
Rather than simply referencing the motifs and rhetoric of space travel, the artists in Approximately Infinite Universe employ ideas and metaphors associated with experimental science fiction (such as that of writers Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia E. Bulter, and Samuel R. Delany) to rethink cultural categories, imagine new and different sets of social and sexual relations, and to create alternative realities in which historical and fictional figures interact.
Approximately Infinite Universe is an exhibition featuring contemporary artistic thought experiments, exploring ideas surrounding aliens and others, bodily mutations, disorientation and weightlessness, reproductive technologies, utopia and dystopia, cities of the future, Afro-futurism, and meta-histories, among others. Artists in the exhibition include Edgar Arceneaux, Andrea Bowers, Matthew Buckingham, Luke Butler, Victoria Fu, Chitra Ganesh, Desirée Holman, Emre Hüner, Ann Lislegaard, Simone Leigh, Yoko Ono, the Otolith Group, Jacolby Satterwhite, Amie Siegel, Cauleen Smith, Kara Tanaka, and Saya Woolfalk.
Approximately Infinite Universe is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and is made possible by a generous gift from the Cochrane Exhibition Fund. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.