Politicians, mass media, and the general public are more preoccupied with blaming and shaming each other than with proposing solutions to humans’ most urgent problems, like the climate crisis, habitat destruction, and extreme plastic pollution. Polish-born, US-based artist Basia Goszczynska puts these absurd inefficiencies and contradictions front and center in her installation Alien Nation at Chashama’s Space to Present at One Brooklyn Bridge Park
You enter the main room through a curtain of plastic—large strips of the ubiquitous packing material that covers so many of the objects we interact with create a semi-transparent barrier. The floor is covered with rainbow-colored shredded plastic that starts sticking to your clothes. A figure lying in the plastic draws your attention, and each detail on the body crescendos to a sensory overload; limbs sprawled as if caught in the act of being drawn and quartered, or making a snow angel, the figure is wearing a wetsuit, safety goggles, respirator, and a red Make America Great Again hat. You notice another figure on the other side of the room with the same accoutrements, except a pink Pussyhat replaces the MAGA cap. Both bodies are tarred and feathered.
The visual chaos reflects Goszczynska’s anxiety about the future, as well as her opposing fatalism and optimism. She asks her viewers to consider how we—as individuals and culture at large–can reconcile the conflicting possibilities of the end of the world as we know it and a future with harmony between technology, culture, and the environment.
About the Artist
Basia Goszczynska is a Brooklyn-based artist working in sculpture, installation, performance, and new media. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. In addition to numerous group shows and film festival screenings, she has presented her work in solo exhibitions at the Mid-Manhattan Public Library and OCAD University. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as the Ray Stark Film Prize.