A geneticist at a university in northern Florida unhooks a padlock and opens the door to a greenhouse, revealing thousands of loblolly pine trees. Industrial grow lights hanging from rafters illuminate orderly rows of seedlings in beakers, spindly trunks rising from plastic tubs. The plants appear unremarkable, less like the subjects of an experiment than the offerings at a big-box store’s gardening section. But the setting—the trappings of a laboratory, the measurement devices and log sheets—marks the plants as different, as deserving scrutiny and protection. They aren’t meant to prettify an oversized yard or shelter squirrels. They’re vessels for information, designed to reveal something over time—as needles grow from the branches, as bark sheathes the trunks, as resin ducts fill with oleoresin. They’re symbols of a world in which all life is both under threat and subject to enhancement (or even salvation) through engineering.
The modified pines—as actual organisms and as fodder for fiction—are components of a multifaceted work in progress by the artist duo Goldin+Senneby. The geneticist has dramatically increased the production of resin, which includes oleoresin, a toxic chemical that defends against predators and pathogens; he has, essentially, overdriven the plants’ immune systems. When the bark of an older pine is pierced, beads of sap trickle down the trunk like tears. The story of the trees is being told by the writer Katie Kitamura, in a novel that follows an investor who wants to exploit them as an alternative source of fuel, a boon for the clean-energy sector. The investor, who suffers from an unspecified autoimmune disorder, visits the greenhouse to convince the geneticist; he offers her a tree to take home.
For Crying Pine Tree, Kitamura will read the prologue to the novel in a setting devised by Goldin+Senneby. In the coming months and years, Goldin+Senneby will engage in research, biological experiments, and the staging of events involving the modified pines, which will inform the development of Kitamura’s novel, and vice versa. These works—to be created in conversation with and, ultimately, published and presented by Triple Canopy—will ask how we understand ourselves and the world through the interplay of narratives and scientific interventions. How can these seemingly disparate technologies be employed to change who and what we are, and to what ends? How does the bodily experience of autoimmune disease relate to ongoing ecological transformations, which position humans both as experimental subjects and engineers of their own fates? And how might the sites and subjects of the geneticist’s experiment multiply after the pine has left the lab?
Crying Pine Tree is occurring in conjunction with Goldin+Senneby’s exhibition “Insurgency of Life,” on view at e-flux in New York City through February 8.
This public program is made possible through generous support from Jane Hait, a founding member of Triple Canopy Director’s Circle; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; the Jacques Louis Vidal Charitable Fund; the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts; and the Opaline Fund of the Jewish Community Endowment Federation and Endowment Fund. Additional support for this program was provided by the Swedish Research Council.
Seating & accessibility
Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to ensure that events are accessible and comfortable, we’ll open the doors thirty minutes prior to each event and strictly limit admittance to our legal capacity. Please check Triple Canopy’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates, as we’ll indicate if events are sold out.
Triple Canopy’s venue is located at 264 Canal Street, 3W, near several Canal Street subway stations. Our floor is accessible by elevator (63" × 60" car, 31" door) and stairway. Due to the age and other characteristics of the building, our bathrooms are not ADA-accessible, though several such bathrooms are located nearby. If you have specific questions about access, please write at least three days before the event and we will make every effort to accommodate you.
- Goldin+Senneby is a Stockholm-based artist subject established in 2004 by Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby. Goldin+Senneby often focuses on speculation and contemporary financial markets, and employs the practices that distinguish those markets. Goldin+Senneby’s retrospective, “Standard Length of a Miracle,” was on view in 2016 at Tensta konsthall in Stockholm and in 2017 at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane. Goldin+Senneby has had solo exhibitions at e-flux, New York; CCA Derry-Londonderry; Kadist, Paris; and the Power Plant, Toronto, among other venues. In 2015, Triple Canopy published Headless, a detective novel, ghostwritten by K. D., that culminated Goldin+Senneby’s eight-year investigation of offshore finance and human sacrifice. In 2019, Triple Canopy published “Eternal Employment,” a listing for a never-ending job at a train station in Gothenburg, written by Lina Ekdahl as part of a project by Goldin+Senneby.
- Katie Kitamura is the author of the novels A Separation (2017), which was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Premio von Rezzori, and The Longshot (2009) and Gone to the Forest (2013), which were finalists for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. Kitamura is the recipient of fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and Santa Maddalena. She teaches in the creative writing program at New York University. Her previous contributions to Triple Canopy include “LANGUAGE Inc.,” a leaked document that reveals the corporate privatization of public speech, and “Les Fleurs du terminal,” a reflection on Headless, the Goldin+Senneby murder-mystery.