Our New System

Christa Donner

In Our New System, Chicago-based artist Christa Donner builds on her virtuosic body of drawings that concern the complexities of the human organism, further exploring collectivities and spaces for new forms of human sociality. Donner’s visual research has grown out of a practice that includes interviews and dialogic workshops with individuals and communities.

Using drawing as a tool to both investigate and imagine, Donner envisions a speculative future anchored by larger-than-life drawings of “Future Foremothers”—artists, thinkers, and friends imagined here as the mythological mothers of the “New System” of the show’s title. Her works on paper employ various practices including collage, printmaking, small-press publications, and large scale installation. Colorful image-scenes propose models of community that move beyond current anthropocentric and capitalist systems, while intricately cut paper structures are used to cast shadows of new constructions. These projected images expand into the physical space of the Gallery, incorporating tables stacked with research materials referencing science fiction, adventure playgrounds, activist projects, and the female-run social structures of wasps, ants, and bees as sources that might direct us toward ways of imaging our communities of the future.

The works that make up Our New System question the possibilities for cooperation, struggle, and negotiation in living together. The exhibition will extend into multiple formats for participation, including childcare-supported programming, workshops rethinking relationships between artists and institutions, and other public events. Throughout the duration of the exhibition in a dedicated room of the gallery, somatic ‘tours’ will guide visitors through their own visualizations of the hidden architecture of the human body, linking structural and sensory worlds.