Amy Yao at 47 Canal, New York

Since the early 90s, when she was a member of the riot grrl band Emilys Sassy Lime (ESL, also an acronym for English as a Second Language), Amy Yao has worked with the realities and performativity of ‘identity’ through her personal and strategic use of camp. Weeds of Indifference continues in this vein through sculptural works imbued with anxiety around issues of reproduction, gender, toxicity, and displacement as they relate to artificiality and the natural world.

If advanced consumer culture represents nature through artificiality, how are we to understand biology through this framework of the so-called natural? As Donna Haraway says, “Part of remaking ourselves… is remaking the sciences which construct the category of ‘nature’ and empower its definition… By constructing the category nature, natural science imposes limits on history and self-formation.” We are already on our way! It is fear and anxiety that hang onto an old world order under the process of becoming undone. The natural becomes an instrumentalized construct, serving as proof or logical argument of why things should stay the way they are.

Versions of authenticity are often invoked for reasons that work against themselves. The new restaurant that is so authentically this… The ceramic plates used to serve the food were made by real craftsmen… What is even real? The new authentic is used to eradicate what came before. But which is actually authentic? Are the Chinese who are buying investment properties in Chinatown authentically part of Chinatown, or are they to be feared and despised? On every block there seems to be new construction but for whom? Is the new empty space available to you? Finally healthy food? Good coffee?! How do we use concepts of the natural and authentic to maintain the status quo?


Weeds of Indifference by Amy Yao
47 Canal, New York
Through October 8