by Ido Radon
Do you remember it? Blown on the winds, on current and tide, its gas-filled float like a silicone potsticker on the surface of the ocean. Iridescent bubble with a gradient to a deep blue. Below the waterline dragged bulbous tentacles, mucous-y midnight blue with venomous barbs coiled, trawling for passersby. Many as one, this colony of function-specialized clones in their symbiotic interdependence, four types of physiologically integrated zooids in unseverable relation. Colloquially a man-o-war, it/they was/were in its/their exquisite mutuality and organization nonetheless operationally rudderless, adrift, opportunistic.
This essay was edited by Stephanie Snyder, John and Anne Hauberg Curator and Director, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, and appeared in CONDITIONS, a publication of The Ford Family Foundation. The annual arts journal (shifting title as it progresses) is part of the program element CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS, led by the University of Oregon with partners Portland State University, The Cooley Gallery, Reed College; and PNCA at Willamette University.
The title and concept for CONDITIONS came into focus as the editorial team launched its first issue, FIGURING. Here, we shift from FIGURING’s multiple perspectives on the body and the psyche to examine the cultural and biological mysteries and actualities of life at this tenuous environmental and socio-political moment. As our need for breath and sustenance are foregrounded across an accounting of our shared lives, we hope that CONDITIONS offers a space to meditate on the ways in which works of art (including writing) support us in making meaning from our state of, and provisions for, being.
Featured Contributors: Amelia Rina, Laura Butler Hughes, Luiza Lukova, Sara Krajewski, Malia Jensen, Lumi Tan, Steph Littlebird, Ido Radon, Alejandro Espinoza Galindo, Stephanie Gervais, Stephanie Snyder, K. Silem Mohammad, Prudence Roberts, Sara Jaffe.