(Un)Timely Untethered Part I
The afternoon was wearing on, and the toaster had begun to feel, as all of us do at times, a definite need for solitude. Much as it liked its fellow appliances, it wasn’t used to spending the entire day socializing. It longed to be off by itself a moment to be private and think its own thoughts. So, without saying anything to the others, it made its way to the farthest corner of the meadow and began to toast an imaginary muffin. That was always the best way to unwind when things got to be too much for it.
—Thomas M. Disch, The Brave Little Toaster (1980)
appliance (n.) action of putting into use; instrument, thing applied for a purpose
When encountering a new technology we spend time figuring out what portion of the tool we fit into: a button, a handle, a seat, a strap, a sleeve, a lever. These entry points are always in relation to our bodies and needs. But can we consider appliances independent of their function? As purely formal objects?
A rusted shell of a car drowned in a swamp causes wonder and concern. How and why did it lose sight of the road it belonged to? A bar of soap sudsing on the sidewalk is a disintegrating archive. When did it last purify the contours of a body? There is something unsettling about encountering these objects outside of their function and context. We imagine narratives of misuse and tragedy, or just pure obsolescence. Injecting humanity into these inanimate objects whose sole purpose is to serve our needs, they can quickly become metaphors for our own futility, chaos, and decision-making. This ontology of function as life and obsolescence as death is oriented around the human.
Perhaps a rug has never wished to be stepped on, or a furnace to be seen as a structure of comfort for our interior living. If they could tell their own story, what would it be? What emotions would it evoke? Would we even be able to understand the poetics of a toaster?
Nicholas Sullivan (b. 1987) is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Sullivan earned his M.F.A. in Sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA, and his B.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA. Recent exhibitions include; Make Hay in the Sun, HG, Chicago IL; Ashes Denote Fire, Fortnight Institute, New York NY; Shoot The Lobster, New York, NY; Comfort Animal, A-L Gallery, Seoul SK; The Pit Presents: Step Sister, The Pit, Los Angeles CA, Neu, No Place Gallery, Columbus OH, ; The World Without Us, Brennan & Griffin, New York NY; Gist & Gesture, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL; Foster Prize Exhibition, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA.
Bri Williams (b. 1993) lives and works in Oakland, CA. Solo exhibitions include Progetto (2021); Et al. (2021); Queer Thoughts (2020); Mumurs (2020); Interface Gallery (2018). Williams’ work has been presented in numerous group exhibitions, including Capitain Petzel (2022); Kunsthaus Glarus (2021); Smart Objects (2021); Kunstraum Niederösterreich (2021); Pina (2020); Karma International (2018); Queer Thoughts (2018); amongst others.
Stephanie Boyer (b. 1991, Riverside, CA) is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BA from UC Riverside (2015) and an MFA from Mason Gross School of Art, Rutgers University (2022).
Sophie Stone (b. 1987, Massachusetts) received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (2009). She has been featured in exhibitions at White Columns, Halsey McKay (2022), Safe Gallery, Company Gallery (2019), The Whitney Museum of Art, New York, Nina Johnson, Miami, M+B Los Angeles (all 2018), Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles (solo), Romeo, New York, James Fuentes (all 2017),Johannes Vogt, New York, Del Vaz Projects, Los Angeles, Shoot the Lobster, New York (all 2016), Eli Ping, New York (2013), and Nicole Klagsbrun, New York (2012). Sophie has been written about in Art News, Artforum, Artsy, Frieze Magazine, and Hyperallergic. She lives and works in New York.
Nora Normile (b. 1992 NYC) is an artist currently living and working in New Brunswick, NJ pursuing an MFA at Rutgers University, Mason Gross. Received her BFA from NYU, a solo show at Entrance Gallery (2019). Her thesis show will be opening september 15.
Bruno Smith (b. 1990 NYC) is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in NYC with roots in Mexico city and Brownsville Texas. He received his BFA at SAIC (2012), and his MFA at Rutgers University Mason Gross (2021). He has had solo exhibitions at Ki Smith Gallery (2017, 2019, 2022), 6Base (2018). Was a member of Apostrophe Base12 collective shows and happenings (2015-2017) and has been featured at ThreeFourThreeFour (2019), Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery (2018).