BRIC Announces Jonathan González: The Smallest Unit Is Each Other, A Spring Exhibition in the Project Room at BRIC House

Jan 13, 2022 • 6:15 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:
James Michael Nichols, BRIC / 718.683.5980 / jmnichols@bricartsmedia.org
Elisa Smilovitz / A&O / 551.486.3273 / elisa@aopublic.com

BRIC Announces Jonathan González: The Smallest Unit Is Each Other, A Spring Exhibition in the Project Room at BRIC House

The installation directs the visitor through various aural, visual, and haptic experiences to stimulate otherwise representations of the ‘catastrophic’ and genres of the human.

On View: January 29 - May 8, 2022

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Jonathan González, The Smallest Unit Is Each Other (Still), 2021. Courtesy of Artist and BRIC.

(BROOKLYN, NY — January 13, 2022) -- BRIC is pleased to present Jonathan González: The Smallest Unit Is Each Other, a video installation that centers surrealist narratives based on climate justice, Black ecology, hybridity, and migration. The exhibition will take place in the Project Room at BRIC House (647 Fulton) from January 29 to May 8, 2022. Reservations by staggered entry are encouraged.

González (they/them) juxtaposes original video content alongside archival ephemera, creating a graphic, impressionistic effect. The artist believes that storytelling is not just what makes us human, it is also a radical form of reshaping colonial perceptions of the environment; to retell what is biologically understood and explore these new narrative possibilities. The title, The Smallest Unit Is Each Other, is both a message and an invitation to consider the smallest unit is not the individual but the community as we require each other for survival. This concept is engrained through organizing the various elements within the installation, which Gonzáles refers to as sides. For González, each piece–the video sides, the chair, the consol pad–together create a larger narrative. Each side is choreographed in relationship to the other. How one interacts with the different sides is based on their own choosing. 

Each side, or object within the space is created with disability aesthetics in mind, and is designed to allow access and comfort to a wide range of abilities. The projected video (Side A-F) is controlled by the visitor through a pad on the floor designed by Gil Sperling, allowing them to play with and randomize each side. Each section of the video presents information on topics such as climate catastrophe, colonialism, and aquaponics in various genres of video and sound ranging from ambient noise and 3D graphics to playful animations to documentary.  In front is a custom-made chair with a pillow featuring text “Words made flesh muscle and bone animated by hope and desire.” (Sylvia Wynter) specialty designed by Shannon Finnegan to ensure comfort and support. To the side of the chair is a touchable topographical model made by Rudy Gerson, of Cockpit Country, Jamaica, home to a maroon colony. The different sides of the exhibition, and their collaboration with other artists, can be described as “archipelagic” — the smaller pieces are to be considered in relation to one another, rather than as discrete entities.

Inspired by Caribbean poetics and scholarship on humanism, González emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living things, and the need for new forms of narrative, one that accounts for all bodies, human and non-human in order to broaden awareness of colonialism and climate catastrophes. Just as the individual is not the smallest unit, the objects in the exhibition relate to each other and compose an elemental part of the larger whole.

González’s installation will be on view during the same exhibition cycle as Suné Woods: Aragonite Stars in BRIC’s Gallery and Na’ye Perez: What You Know Bout Love... in BRIC’s hallway exhibition space. All three exhibitions are curated by BRIC Contemporary Art Curator Jenny Gerow.

Jenny Gerow, BRIC Curator, Contemporary Art, said: 

“One of our greatest joys at BRIC is providing a pipeline for artists to grow and evolve throughout different stages of their career. As a former BRIClab resident, Jonathan’s project was developed through the BRIClab Video Arts residency, providing support to present a new shift in their practice toward video work. These different, meaningful chapters of an artists’ life are all part of the larger BRIC story – one that we are so proud to share each and every day.”

Jonathan González said:

“Sylvia Wynter has been a guiding light to this exhibit. When creating the works in the show I kept coming back to this quote by Wynter, ‘Human beings are magical. Bios and Logos. Words made flesh, muscle and bone animated by hope and desire, belief materialized in deeds, deeds which crystallize our actualities. ‘It is man (sic) who brings society into being’ (Fanon). And the maps of spring always have to be redrawn again, in undared forms.’ ” - Sylvia Wynter*

Jonathan González (they/them) is an educator, cultural organizer, farmer, and artist at the intersections of performance and time-based media. Their recent projects and collaborations include those at MoMA, MoMA PS1, Abrons Arts Center Performance Space New York, and Danspace Project, all NY; and Paragon Arts Gallery, Portland, OR. They have done residencies and Fellowships at BRIC, LMCC, NARS, Jerome Foundation, Mertz Gilmore, Art Matters, and Performance Art/Theater Foundation for Contemporary Arts. González holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

This project is made possible, in part, with funds from the Media Arts Assistance Fund, a regrant partnership of NYSCA and Wave Farm, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. 

BRIC’s contemporary art program benefits from generous private funding from B&H Photo Video, Coby Foundation, Harold and Colene Brown Family Foundation, Harpo Foundation, Humanities New York, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and numerous individual supporters. 

General support for BRIC is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Booth Ferris Foundation, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Con Edison, Harpo Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Industry City, JP Morgan Chase, Lambent Foundation, M&T Charitable Foundation, New York Community Trust, Scherman Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Surdna Foundation, Tiger Baron Foundation, and numerous individuals.

Collaborators

Side G - Our Chair,  Shannon Finnegan
Shannon Finnegan is an artist. Some of their recent work includes Anti-Stairs Club Lounge, an ongoing project that gathers people together who share an aversion to stairs; Alt-Text as Poetry, a collaboration with Bojana Coklyat that explores the expressive potential of image description; and Do You Want Us Here or Not, a series of benches and cushions designed for exhibition spaces.

​​Side I - a touchable topographical model of Cockpit Country, Jamaica, Rudy Gerson
Rudy Gerson is an artist working across mediums of design, installation, and word. They have been a lighting and stage designer for Gonzalez’s 2019 works Lucifer Landing I & II, in addition to contributing towards the sound design and topographical sculpture for The Smallest Unit Is Each Other. They are currently organizing and fabulating upon deterritorialized practices of social and cultural sovereignty in diasporas. They are an Ashkenazi Jewish-Cuban person based in West Philadelphia and currently an MFA student at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Side H - a media player stationed for use, Gil Sperling
Gil Sperling is a multimedia designer and creative technologist. He is a 2019 Bessie Award recipient for outstanding visual design in Ni’Ja Whitson’s “Oba Qween Baba King Baba”. As video designer for live performance Gil has collaborated with directors David Herskovits, Kristin Marting, Erika Latta, Mia Rovegno,  Edward Einhorn, and Uwe Eric Laufenberg, and choreographers Stacy Grossfield, Ni’Ja Whitson, and Hadar Ahuvia. Gil holds a master’s degree in interactive technology from NYU’s ITP program. Gil’s multimedia installation and performance work has been presented in New York, Berlin, Kyoto and Tel Aviv.

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BRIC is a leading arts and media institution anchored in Downtown Brooklyn whose work spans contemporary visual and performing arts, media, and civic action. For over forty years, BRIC has shaped Brooklyn's cultural and media landscape by presenting and incubating artists, creators, students, and media makers. As a creative catalyst for our community, we ignite learning in people of all ages and centralize diverse voices that take risks and drive culture forward. BRIC is building Brooklyn's creative future. Learn more at bricartsmedia.org.


* Wynter, Sylvia (1995) The Pope Must Have Been Drunk, the King of Castile a Madman: Culture as Actuality and the Caribbean Rethinking of Modernity. In A. Ruprecht & C. Taiana (Eds.)