For any artist, seeing a challenge develop and develop to succeed in new heights is without doubt one of the pinnacles of inventive success. Tiffany Shlain has skilled this type of artist nirvana along with her DENDROFEMONLOGY: A Feminist Historical past Tree Ring challenge. Initially on view inside Shlain’s solo exhibition Human Nature at SHACK15 in San Francisco, DENDROFEMONLOGY is on the transfer, not too long ago making the cross-country voyage to the Nationwide Mall in Washington, D.C.
As a part of a four-day occasion held from November 1 by November 4, Shlain’s feminist tree ring sculpture sat on the Nationwide Mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. The activation was held simply earlier than election day, which noticed 93,000 races with large implications for girls’s rights, trans rights, and reproductive rights.
After the occasion, I reached out to Shlain for a debrief, keen to listen to about her expertise and what comes subsequent.
What was the principle spotlight for you in the course of the four-day occasion?
The principle spotlight was that first day, watching the sculpture’s set up on the Nationwide Mall after which, by the audio system, experiencing their concepts on the sculpture coming to life.
Seeing DENDROFEMONLOGY: A Feminist Historical past Tree Ring positioned in between the patriarchal male buildings of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial was much more highly effective than I’d envisioned. I had created an artist rendering of what it might seem like virtually a 12 months in the past. I carried that picture in all places— in my bag, above my desk, and to each assembly with our presenters, the Nationwide Girls’s Historical past Museum and Girls Connect4Good.
Once I first walked onto the Nationwide Mall on November 1, what I noticed was a lot stronger than the visible I had created. The tree ring was bigger in proportion, and the sky was crystal clear and blue, not cloudy. Every part about it was extra vibrant than I’d pictured.
Then, to see the general public drawn to the monument, studying it, absorbing this historical past usually not seen, and having discussions in entrance of it was an unimaginable feeling. It felt like a much-needed feminist intervention. For the opening day, I invited ladies whom I had acknowledged on the sculpture and different feminist leaders to talk. Audio system included labor activist Dolores Huerta, MeToo founder Tarana Burke, the best elected trans official, Senator Sarah McBride, writer and chef Padma Lakshmi, and even the unique Surprise Lady, Lynda Carter.
[The event] felt like a much-needed feminist intervention.
They introduced the phrases on the timeline to life by talking in regards to the line that meant essentially the most to them and sharing what they needed to see burned on there subsequent.
One of many stuff you see within the timeline is how progress doesn’t at all times transfer in a single route. It’s a must to maintain pushing for the route you need it to go. We had two occasions in the course of the set up that spoke to this effort. One was the convening of the Equal Rights Modification Coalition with over 50 feminist organizations to get the ERA printed. The second was an Abortion is a Human Proper Parade led by artist Michele Pred. These activations confirmed the ability of artwork to mobilize folks into motion.
What’s subsequent for you and this challenge?
DC was cease one on this moveable monument’s journey. The subsequent cease can be New York in 2024. There are such a lot of races within the upcoming election 12 months that can have an effect on ladies’s rights, trans rights, and reproductive freedom. DENDROFEMONOLOGY will once more carry collectively artwork and motion. It can coincide with my solo exhibition of the Human Nature present at Nancy Hoffman Gallery in Chelsea beginning June 20, 2024. There are eight tree rings within the exhibition, all exploring totally different points like local weather, philosophy, and feminism. DENDROFEMONLOGY is the centerpiece.
There’s a movie within the works associated to this challenge. Are you able to shed some mild on that?
I work in several mediums, and movie is one among them. I view artwork as an invite to a brand new perspective or to go deeper into an thought or difficulty. On the timeline, I distilled 50,000 years of feminist historical past into 30 strains, beginning with the road “goddesses being worshiped” in most historic civilizations. The timeline goes forwards and backwards, documenting the ability battle we’re nonetheless experiencing right this moment. Proper earlier than DC, I had burned “Right this moment:” as the ultimate line, inviting folks to consider what we would like subsequent on the timeline and that what we do right this moment will have an effect on what comes subsequent.
We interviewed folks on the Nationwide Mall and requested folks on-line to reply the next questions: What’s your favourite line on the timeline and why? What stunned you? (There have been strains that stunned me doing the analysis.) What do you need to see burned on the timeline subsequent? We’re additionally asking folks on-line to submit video solutions to those self same questions.