Bonus Space / Residency Exhibition

Bonus Space
Residency Exhibition at Nars Foundation, New York.
03.07.16 – 30.09.16

Io Makandal in collaboration with Samantha McCulloch

Bonus Space is a framework, a set of rules and parameters. It encompasses our studio and the space between our bodies and actions, evoking tension between autonomy and control. Taking its name from spaces designated public but owned by the private sector, our project explores questions of intimacy, movement, confinement, ownership and instruction.

Contemporary sociological accounts of urban space advance the notion of a ‘mobility turn’. Urban space is conceived as interlocking sets of relations between people, objects, signs and systems. Not just existing within, but rather fundamentally constituted by these dense relations, these social elements are themselves in constant circulation, and in shifting relations with one another. However, these elements are also subject to confinement, challenging claims to a smooth space of unhindered action.

During our residency, technology is used to reflect on what Bernard Stiegler terms the ‘hyperindustrial epoch’ wherein audiovisual and digital technologies control and discipline bodies, modulating patterns of thought and movement. We will navigate moments of confinement and control through a series of collaborative dialogues and actions. Treating the urban environment as a site for interrogation, works seep out of the studio space to unfold across Brooklyn, New York and surrounding areas.

Having worked via correspondence for five years between South Africa and Australia, our collective practice occured in the space between us to form a third space. We called this third arena Bonus Space. Although internally focused on our collaborative relationship, the impetus for work is often our respective environments. During a residency undertaken at the New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) in Sunset Park, we became interested by the cities abundance of plant life; it’s cultivation and annihilation, and the proliferation of urban farming and foraging.

Bonus Space is composed of multiple and varied components. Colleting and cataloguing pieces of paper found in and around Sunset Park (promotional material, flyers, receipts, gallery collateral) denoted our movements around the city space. This material was pulped down and remoulded into sheets of handmade paper peppered with weedy seeds. This paper is the substrate for our weed labels, which contain nutritional facts about the plants. From this initial series of acts, we have produced a body of sculptural work, a video of us chewing and spitting out pages of a book on weeds of North America, and finally, a recipe book.

Io Makandal copyright 2023