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Jeremy Bolen: Because the Sky Will Be Filled With Sulfur

Jun 11, 2022 - Aug 6, 2022
12pm - 5pm

2021/2022 Working Artist Project

This round of Working Artist Projects was curated by Jordan Carter, Curator at Dia Art Foundation in New York

Artist Talk, June 21, 2022

About the Exhibition

In Because the Sky Will Be Filled With Sulfur, artist Jeremy Bolen presents a new, immersive exhibition of speculative documentary works that record our current climate crisis while simultaneously speculating on the optics and aesthetics of a possible geo-engineered future. Composed of photo-based images, hybrid objects, videos and sculptures, Bolen’s works often incorporate materials and methods that have been proposed to cool the planet, envisioning a world featuring sulfur-filled skies, tinted shields for coral reefs and iridescent crops.

The exhibition centers around a climate-engineering proposal dubbed solar radiation management , in which sulfur particles injected into the stratosphere would combat rising temperatures by reflecting sunlight away from the Earth’s surface . Mirroring the cooling effects of ash clouds caused by volcanic eruptions, the procedure could have many unpredictable and unfavorable consequences including whitening the daytime sky, obscuring our views of the stars and affecting crop production.

This project also includes images of a sediment core sample that Bolen documented on a research trip earlier this year to Searsville Lake at Jasper Ridge Biological Reserve in Stanford, California. When the human-made reservoir was dammed in 1892, it created conditions that resulted in the body of water becoming almost entirely filled with unusually undisturbed sediment. Sediment cores such as this mirror our civilization, offering evidence of earthquakes, chemical residues, nuclear testing and fossil fuel combustion. They signify how we have manipulated the world in the past, and may behave in the future. Researchers at the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) believe this 127-year-old core might offer geologic signatures that indicate when the Anthropocene Epoch can be said to have officially begun. Geologists searching for this marker call it the ‘global boundary stratotype section and point’—or, more colloquially, the golden spike. They may have found the appropriate signals in core samples removed from Searsville Lake

Additionally, Bolen incorporates an array of found and cast objects—such as airplane parts, tinted coral, unexposed film from 1963, air conditioners, leaf blowers, silver corn and casts of the once abundant (and now extinct) passenger pigeon—that offer relics and artifacts of our collective global movement, as well as representations of a seemingly fantastical future.

Employing an array of materials that index human impact on the planet and the technology being proposed to salvage it, Because the Sky Will Be Filled With Sulfur offers a scenario in which we can discuss how collective human patterns affect what is, and what will remain, perceivable, knowable and habitable.

Above Image: (detail from) Coral #1. 2022. cast coral, window tinting, found automobile rim, air conditioning vent, Jeremy Bolen

About Jeremy Bolen

Jeremy Bolen is an artist, researcher, filmmaker and educator interested in site-specific, experimental modes of documentation and presentation. Much of Bolen’s work involves rethinking systems of recording––in an attempt to observe invisible presences that remain from various scientific experiments and human interactions with the Earth’s surface. Bolen received his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012 and was a recipient of the Banff Research in Culture Residency in Alberta, Canada; PACT Zollverein Residency in Essen, Germany; Oxbow Faculty Artist Residency in Saugatuck, MI; Anthropocene Campus Residency in Berlin; Center for Land Use Interpretation Residency in Wendover, Utah; Catwalk Institute Residency in Catskill, NY; Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology Residency in Mancelona, MI; Signal Fire Residency in Portland, OR and Joshua Tree Highlands Residency in Joshua Tree, CA.

His work has been exhibited widely at numerous locations including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; La Box, Bourges; POOL, Johannesburg; PACT Zollverein, Essen; EXGIRLFRIEND, Berlin; University at Buffalo, Buffalo; IDEA Space, Colorado Springs; The Mission, Houston; Galerie Zürcher, Paris; Andrew Rafacz, Chicago; Soccer Club Club, Chicago; Salon Zürcher, New York; The Drake, Toronto; Untitled Art Fair, Miami; Gallery 400, Chicago; Newspace Center for Photography, Portland; Depaul University Art Museum, Chicago and Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. Bolen serves as Assistant Professor of Photography at Georgia State University, is a co-founder and co-organizer of the Deep Time Chicago collective, and is represented by Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago.

Major funding provided by the Charles Loridans Foundation, the Antinori Foundation, and the AEC Trust, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Photography by Alvaro Santistevan