The Department of Planetary Futures: ACSE Laboratory Special Collections Fluid Preserved Planetesimal Specimens Archive by Jacklyn Brickman

Fine Arts Library
1871 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43210

February 4, 2022 - April 18, 2022
Exhibit Hours: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Open during Fine Arts Library hours
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A close-up shot of a variety of onions preserved in glass jars.

The Department of Planetary Futures (DPF) Special Collections Fluid Preserved Planetesimal Specimens Archive is an exhibition by Jacklyn Brickman of the Department's preserved planetesimals collection. The exhibition will include 54 jars containing onion planetesimals preserved in vinegar, a publication outlining the scientific processes of DPF, lab book, archival images and a video tour and explanation of the Allium Cepa Stella Erratica (ACSE) Nebular Mitosis laboratory.

DPF is a fictional entity through which multi-species collaborative experiments are employed to investigate the interrelationships humans have with other life forms and one another. At the heart of these endeavors is a desire to connect to the surrounding world and its organisms with care and humility; to learn from, engage with and speculate possible livable futures through an intersectional feminist lens.

The ACSE (Allium Cepa Stella Erratica or onion planet) Lab was a multimedia installation of a fictional laboratory that implemented experiments to develop a new planet through onion propagation. Methods and procedures using live onions were performed daily for four weeks. Contrived of breathing inflatable sculptures of various sizes, sculptural objects, video projection and lab equipment, the goal was to engage in absurd speculations about the impossibility of the human production of a Planet B. The experiments performed in ACSE analogized biological and astronomical processes such as mitosis and the nebular hypothesis to inspire methods and procedures for onion propagation to yield a new planet, so that humans may continue life as they know it, beyond earth.

The Department of Planetary Futures ACSE Lab experienced an accelerated closure in March of 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. These planetary propagules were preserved in vinegar in sealed glass jars. Over the past two years in storage, the color of the fluid has darkened with age. As with any form of research, the process of archiving specimens is essential to preserving data for the future.

The DPF ACSE Archive is a narrative that weaves storytelling, historical references, and future projections. This failed attempt at nurturing an onion planet for human colonization aims to generate dialogue about the collective social and environmental experience of the now. The Archive conflates common perceptions of the laboratory, kitchen and art studio, thus blurring lines between multi-species mothering, cooking, dissection and object making. This melding is not to challenge the value or efficacy of science, art or domesticity, but instead to broaden their perceived possibilities.

About the Artist:

Jacklyn Brickman (she/her) is a visual artist whose work entangles science fact with fiction to address social and environmental concerns by employing natural objects, processes and technology. Her work spans installation, video and performance, with special interest in cross-disciplinary collaboration and social engagement. Fellowships include The National Academy of Sciences, U.C. Davis, Chaire arts et sciences, École Polytechnique, The Ohio State University, Jentel Foundation, Popps Packing, National Endowment for the Arts, The Erb Family Foundation, Connecting Heritage- Maryland Milestones/ Anacostia Trails Heritage Area and the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. She has exhibited her work in the US, Canada, France, India and Slovenia. Brickman resides in Columbus, Ohio, which is the ancestral and contemporary territory of the Shawnee, Potawatomi, Delaware, Miami, Peoria, Seneca, Wyandotte, Ojibwe and Cherokee peoples. Learn more on Brickman's website.


Photo of Courtney Hunt Courtney Hunt
Art and Design Librarian