Unfinished State starts from a novel with holes bored through its plot. Narratives of city-branding and surges of global capital have caused waves of speculative real estate development in Berlin and Beirut, two cities that were spatially divided by conflict and have been under reconstruction for decades.
This book of images and conversations stray from these narratives into a shadow landscape of unfinished and vacant structures that remain suspended in a state of incompletion—fixed on the brink of a possible future.
This essay video moves between an unfinished hotel perched on the ledge of the Mediterranean in Lebanon, and empty condominiums in Berlin that are still seeking affluent occupants years after completion. Textures of the architecture itself are deployed as a spatial evocation of financial power and imagination. Space becomes an empty vessel for capital— but holds as well a desire for possible futures. (2016)
An experimental book of text that considers geological time alongside the deep time of trauma. Sparse, material language combines with 3D topographical data of volcanic territories, building a fractured spatial landscape across cumulative generations of sexual violence. (Forthcoming)
A film about affective geologies and the idea of becoming mineral. It follows a group of female geologists as they conspire to blow up the world by simultaneously erupting all the Earth’s volcanoes at once. Mixing science fiction and documentary, the film explores volcanoes, laboratories and geological survey sites across the world. (Work-in-progress)
Lessons in Capitalism uses the realm of play to question the language and structures of finance. Without expecting young people to provide answers to our most pressing economic problems, Lessons in Capitalism taps into the imaginative capacity of children to encounter with fresh eyes how we learn about money.
Free financial advice. Creative Time ‘Living as Form,’ Harvard Carpenter Center for the Arts. Working with Harvard Business School students, facilitators, children and the public. (2014)
An installation and public performance invited participants to survey and analyze their class background in four categories: Socioeconomic Status, Cultural Capital, Class Status, and Social Mobility.
The resulting scores were mapped onto four quadrants that served as territory to defend in a dynamic confrontation—with food as ammunition. This public battle invited open dialogue about subjects we mostly keep to ourselves: how class and social mobility permeate our culture, interpersonal relationships and careers.
deCordova Museum & Cyclorama, Boston. (2012)
A site-specific commission created for Governors Island, a former military fortress that has changed hands among nations over the centuries. I circled the perimeter of the island for 3 days endlessly declaring ‘Victory’ in an evaporating medium. (2011)
4-min looping video. A character violently confronts an oversized marshmallow amidst an idyllic pastoral landscape. The light, fluffy buoyancy promised by the giant marshmallow is never quite delivered as the character repeatedly impacts the marshmallow and is left marked, exhausted and unfulfilled. (2008)
12-min video. A desperately nostalgic character slowly gluttonizes a giant marshmallow while repeating the chorus of Don McLean’s “Bye Bye, Miss American Pie.” The cathartic repetition impels the figure to float away on the lake atop the marshmallow, and subsequently drown herself in an act of despair. (2008)
30-min looping video. Two people transfer one full pitcher of milk through the interface of their mouths, to fill an empty pitcher. The action repeats when the first pitcher is emptied and the other is full. A simple choreography evokes tender embraces and the nurture of milk. Yet the transfer of fluids from mouth to mouth and back again adds a layer of repugnance, gently pushing the boundaries of bodily permeability. (2009)
A renewable sculpture of the artist’s own disembodied kidney, cast in the frozen spit of gallery attendants. Every two hours a new frozen organ is put on display, only to melt and drip away. The artist traced the topography of her internal organ from a 3D MRI in order to materialize its form outside of her body. (2009)
A multiple commissioned by the Whitney Museum & offered to the public for free. The Delftware-style coupe plate depicts a portrait of the artist engaging in self-cannibalism. A small chocolate truffle, cast from a 3D MRI of the artist’s liver, can be eaten. The work refers to the depictions of Brazilian Tupi rituals of cannibalism, sensationalized by Hans Staden, a 16th c. Dutch explorer. It also makes homage to the 20th century Brazilian concept of antropofagia in which colonialism and Western hegemony are devoured, digested and excreted into new forms of art and abjection. (2008)
A model of the hepatitis C viral protein structure was 3D printed printed from a cryo-electron micrograph. The form of the virus was then cast into an edible form. Desire is mixed with repulsion. The chocolates served in exchange for dialogue, acting as agents of information rather than infection. (2006)
Caitlin Berrigan works across performance, video, sculpture, text and public choreographies to engage with the intimate and embodied dimensions of power, politics and capitalism. She has created special commissions for the Whitney Museum of American Art, Harvard Carpenter Center, and the deCordova Museum. Her work has shown at Storefront for Art & Architecture, Hammer Museum, Gallery 400 Chicago, Anthology Film Archives, LACMA, Lugar a Dudas Colombia, 0047 Gallery Oslo, and the Vancouver Olympics, among others. She has received fellowships & residencies from the Humboldt Foundation, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, PROGRAM for Art & Architecture Berlin, and is a 2015-17 Schloss Solitude fellow. She holds a Master’s in visual art from MIT and a B.A. from Hampshire College, and teaches emerging media at NYU Tisch Photo & Imaging.