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between a book and soft place, installation view, ICA at VCU, 2023. (artwork c nicole killian; photography by David Hale)

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SIT(UATION), installation view, ICA at VCU, 2023. (artwork c Riley Hooker; photography by David Hale)

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between a book and soft place, installation view, ICA at VCU, 2023. (artwork c nicole killian; photography by David Hale)

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SIT(UATION), detail view, ICA at VCU, 2023. (artwork c Riley Hooker; photography by David Hale)

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SIT(UATION), installation view, ICA at VCU, 2023. (artwork c Riley Hooker; photography by David Hale)

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MURRMUR: Misread Unread Read Re-read Misread Unread Re-read

Feb 24, 2023 – Jul 16, 2023

Misread Unread Read Re-read Misread Unread Re-read (MURRMUR) is a ten-month exhibition series expanding how we think about reading, publishing, and distributing art, books, and ideas. A research framework developed in conversation with participating artists and educators, MURRMUR opens up traditional forms of education into collective, self-publishing environments, in which reading becomes a non-linear act.

MURRMUR suggests that an act of reading—which may include misreading, unreading, re-reading, and so on—is always an active experience in which our understanding continually changes. The title may also evoke the muffled utterance of a “murmur,” or maybe even a flock of starlings gathered in a “murmuration” to create communal, swirling patterns in the sky.

Artists invited into MURRMUR look at references and models that unfix and disperse knowledge authorship. We look at the book form and scale up all its components into space, so that the book becomes an experimental learning environment. MURRMUR features a series of prototypes, projects, publications, and presentations by artists, designers, writers, poets, and publishers, including Rafael Domenech, nicole killian, Riley Hooker, and Sam Taylor.

MURRMUR, on view February 24–July 16, 2023 in the ICA Shop + Cafe, presents an installation of research, references, and a materials library designed by Sam Taylor. Taylor’s installation will populate with new content over time, providing insights on MURRMUR and its upcoming iterations. Peruse the materials library online here.

Sam Taylor is a product strategist and designer at Manhattan Hydraulics, as well as, Community Steward at Index. Sam’s practice centers facilitating conversations and holding space on topics that intersect rest, literacy, community care, radical imagination, and food sovereignty. He is a Richmond, VA resident whose past work activates libraries, community centers, public streets, and galleries. Overall, he is invested in weaving the abstract ideas of theory that exist in less accessible academic spaces/texts into an earnest dialogue that brings communities together in tangible ways.

MURRMUR is organized by ICA Assistant Curator of Commerce + Publications, Egbert Vongmalaithong.

nicole killian: between a book and a soft place

April 21–July 16, 2023

Visit various ICA sites to experience vivacious play spaces dedicated to language. Inspired by conversation pits and the Italian radical design movement, each structure invites visitors to have a seat and become a book. Consider the different ways language may be carried, embodied, and queered. We dance language with our bodies, wear it, and hold it in our hands.

This new commission is a study for killian’s ongoing research questions around queering design education. “How can we understand designers as bodies in space, with agency, instead of simply ‘creatives’? And how can we understand bodies of text as living things that produce difficult conversations, instead of simply ‘content’?” The public is invited to engage with these questions, leaving traces of their presence over time.

In collaboration with HH Hiaasen; Matt Pockett, fabricator; and Jen Ansley, 3D designer.

between a book and a soft place can be found in the following locations:

L1
Abby Moore Cafe
Lewis and Butler Foundation Shop

L2
NewMarket Corporation Terrace

ABOUT THE ARTIST

nicole killian is a designer, artist, and educator based in Richmond, VA. killian’s practice oscillates between digital and analog modes for testing publishing projects. Their work has been exhibited at Sediment in Richmond, CAVE in Detroit, Arcadia Missa in London, Present Works in Milwaukee, Little Berlin in Philadelphia, Embassy in Los Angeles, Sadie Halie Projects in Brooklyn, Nomade Gallery in Hangzhou, and Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art for Lorna Mills’s Ways of Something. killian’s expanded approach to publishing considers objects as containers for language—language that gets activated when read, passed, held, and handled.

Riley Hooker: SIT(UATION)

April 21–July 16, 2023

Experience this mutable seating and display system that situates people in a media-rich environment to center the body in the act of reading. The design pulls from 1960s radical architecture, post-modern seating design a-la Peter Opsvik and Terje Ekstrøm, educational methods developed for neurodivergent students, embodiment and mindfulness practices, and anarchic political theories.

The artists hope the system will provoke a behavior inspired by the common slime mold, a colony of single-cell organisms that can live freely as individuals or congregate and move as one body when food is scarce. This behavior is the core metaphor behind SIT(UATION), a place where, communing with others, you consume narratives that are in short supply.

In collaboration with Nick Meehan, architect; LOKA, DJ and sound artist; Via App, DJ and sound artist; and Rahul Shinde, type designer.

SIT(UATION) will move to different locations throughout the season:

Phase 1: February 24–April 21, 2023

L1
Abby Moore Cafe
Royall Forum

Phase 2: April 21–June 2, 2023

L1
Royall Forum

Phase 3: June 6–July 16, 2023

L2
Landing

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Riley Hooker is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York. Their work with artist collective House of LaDosha was featured in Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon at the New Museum in New York in 2018. The artist’s first solo show, SPECIATION, was at Knulp in Sydney in 2019, and they were in the group exhibition Love Mussel curated by Water McBeer in 2020. In 2015, Hooker founded Façadomy, an intersectional publishing project focused on paradox and desire. Hooker’s work puts a distorted lens on reality by positioning elements of design, architecture, and popular culture in various states of transition, bringing forward the unstable subject and mutable nature of reality.