Locally Localized Gravity is both an exhibition and a program of events. Its focus is the phenomenon of artists working as producers. From running exhibition spaces to organizing music and performance events, to publishing zines and books, these artists do it all. The show is catalyzed by Philadelphia’s artist-run scene—its abundant art schools and affordable real estate contribute to a do-it-yourself ethos—but includes artists from other cities working in a similar spirit. Their practices are social, participatory, and communal, and the consequent energy created is provocative and generous. Such ways of working are often youthful, even tribal in spirit, and find artists banding together to tap into shared resources and inspiration.
To create an exhibition about artists-as-producers, eight artists and artists’ groups have been invited to create installations that will play host to special events. Each has created an installation that characterizes how they operate in the art world. They in turn have invited others: during its run, Locally Localized Gravity will feature over 100 artists, musicians, lecturers, performers, writers, and many other creators. Many of the groups will use ICA as their base of operations during the show, essentially using the gallery as a satellite location. Each group has programmed events, from multimedia performances to planting demonstrations, solo artist exhibitions to film screenings. Over the course of ten weeks, January 20–March 25, 2007, the gallery will host over 75 events of all kinds. Viewer participation required.
Locally Localized Gravity features the local, expanded exponentially—a nodal approach. In cities like Philadelphia, artists have long operated as organizers, often collaborating with other artists to produce special events, lectures, performances, and music events as well as run galleries. Locally Localized Gravity is inspired by and responds to the ways many artists choose to work in Philadelphia, where an abundance of art schools, generous public funding, and affordable real estate have attracted an extremely productive artistic community. Philadelphia-based artists provide the real energy of the local scene, running galleries, producing events, opening their spaces to performances and concerts, and publishing zines. “Locally Localized Gravity” will look to other cities as well, including Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland, Oregon, and New York for similar manifestations.
The title is borrowed from string theory, a complex scientific term describing four-dimensional gravity (three dimensions of space and one of time). Artist Matthew Ritchie first suggested the title to the curators, whose own work explores ideas of string theory, among many things. The term locally localized gravity can be applied to art scenes where artists, by generating a huge amount of energy, can create centers of gravity.