Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 1, 2012.

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Hybrid Cosmology is an outdoor sculpture and video that explores the willful transformation of a culture from one form into another.

Hybrid Cosmology

What is it like to inhabit a plant-human body? How does one's experience of the world change after being exposed to a community of humans who suddenly become like plants, populating what appears to be a forest of hybrids or a diorama in an otherworldly natural history museum?  "Hybrid Cosmology" is a mixed media installation that explores the work of a fictional group of women called Empathics who inhabit and explore this unfamiliar experience of interspecies hybridization.

Woolfalk uses this science-fiction inspired project to attempt to undermine stable conceptions of identity and examine how hybrid identities emerge and transform through biological and cultural contact.  The Empathics strive for a condition of permanent and ongoing hybridization and the Institute is their research hub.  Through it, they seek to transform their biology, social organization, and knowledge.  The work has been imagined out of interdisciplinary collaboration (science, art, dance, etc.) and is made habitable in large scale craft based installation, and live performance.

For Disjecta, Saya Woolfalk will develop a series of Shinto gate-like structures activated by a live performance in our outdoor exhibition space.  She will be working with three dancers from Portland who will become Empathics and who are slowly mutating from an un-pigmented plant form to a polychromatic one.  The performance is durational and will happen during the opening as gallery goers move through the indoor and outdoor spaces.  After the performance has been staged, the costumes for the performance will be showcased inside of the vestibule, and the dancers will be replaced by a projected video. Under the direction of the dancers, the performance will continue to be staged after Woolfalk has left Portland.

Local Sponsors

KeeganMeegan & Co. of Portland, Oregon was co-founded by Katy Meegan and Keegan Wenkman in 2007. By combining our knowledge of design, letterpress, bookbinding and silkscreen, we work to print beautifully; use the best materials; and support and inspire the local through to the global community.

Ned Ludd restaurant is owned and operated by Chef Jason French. His weekly changing menu is influenced by the seasons, the weather and a growing list of passionate, committed artisinal producers.  Ned Ludd believes great restaurants derive inspiration from their location.  Sourcing is an important aspect of our operation.  Our menu draws from the bounty of Oregon, the Northwest and greater West Coast region.  Our love of spices, coffee and chocolate necessitate a global approach to sourcing and we work closely with importers and our purveyors to ensure these products are responsibly procured. Wherever possible we reach out to producers to make a personal connection.

Artist Statement

I use my work to attempt to re-imagine how humans understand themselves and their social, natural, and technological worlds.  I am influenced by my background (African-American, white, and Japanese) and by the artistic, craft, and folk traditions I have studied in my exploration of my background and the wider world. I use materials and methods within these traditions to make work about classifying systems (race, class, gender, etc.); group identities (African American, straight, middle class, etc.); and political and technological tools we use to transform our lives (political utopias, pleasure machines, empathics). I then exaggerate these categories artistically.  With gouache, textiles, and craft-based materials, I play with these elements and insert new characters into the everyday world.

Past Performances

Past Work

Empathetic Plant Alchemy

Institute of Empathy

Ethnography of No Place

About the Site

Disjecta is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to contemporary art. Funded through generous grants from the Portland Development Commission and the Oregon Community Foundation, Disjecta's Open Space received in-kind support from community partners like Depave, Stacy Witbeck, Teufel Nursery, and Merge Studio Lab to replace 8,0000 square feet of asphalt with a multi-purpose outdoor community space.

With features like a sloped amphitheater and stage, native flora and trees, and earth-friendly elements including a bioswale and permeable pavers, the Open Space will be a site for art exhibitions, concerts, and a number of community-supported art projects for years to come.

Your Support

Your tax-deductible donation will support the following:

  • Saya Woolfalk
  • Three Portland-based performance artists
  • Materials for the exhibition
  • Installation costs
  • An exhibition catalog

Rewards

Receive this amazing poster designed by Portland artist, Jeremy Okai Davis if you donate $10

Exhibition poster designed by Jeremy Okai Davis
Exhibition poster designed by Jeremy Okai Davis

Limited edition cards will be available to those who pledge $25 or more. They  will be printed by Portland-based press, Keegan & Meegan, on archival paper with archival ink. The images come from a series of insect study paintings that Saya Woolfalk created. The paintings themselves are available at the $250 donation level.

Love beetle
Love beetle
Butterfly
Butterfly
Fly
Fly
Wasp
Wasp
Ladybug
Ladybug
Butterfly
Butterfly

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    Hey, $50 backers! You guys rule, an we wanted to give you more stuff. The NEW $50 Reward features: A hand-written thank you plus a set of 3 blank limited edition cards designed by Saya and printed by Portland's own Keegan and Meegan Press. You will also receive an exhibition poster signed by the artist.

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    All rewards at the $50 level plus dinner for one at a donors' reception at Disjecta. Dinner will be sponsored by Ned Ludd Restaurant, a seasonal and locally sourced American-craft kitchen headed by Chef Jason French.

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    All rewards at the $100 level plus a small original study painting (about 6 x 4 in.) of your choice by Saya Woolfalk. To view images of the works available, please visit the updates page, or send us a message to schedule a viewing at Disjecta.

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    All rewards at the $100 level plus a large (about 10 x 12 in) original study painting of your choice by Saya Woolfalk. To view images of the works available, please visit the updates page or send us a message to schedule a viewing at Disjecta.

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    All rewards at the $100 level plus a four color lithograph by Saya Woolfalk printed with Anchor Graphics in 2011. To view images of the works available, please visit the updates page, or send us a message to schedule a viewing at Disjecta.

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Funding period

- (45 days)