Art21 Extended Play

Science Fiction in Ellen Gallagher’s “Osedax”

Ellen Gallagher Osedax

Ellen Gallagher discussing “Osedax” (2010) at the New Museum in New York City. Production still from the series Exclusive. © Art21, Inc. 2013. Cinematography by Rafael Salazar.

“The protocols of science fiction and the protocols of science are not separate—they’re woven together.” —Ellen Gallagher

In today’s Exclusive, filmed in 2013, artist Ellen Gallagher discusses her large-scale installation Osedax (2010), which is on view at the New Museum in New York City until September 15. Made in collaboration with Dutch artist Edgar Cleijne, Osedax was inspired by and named after bone-devouring worms recently discovered in an ocean canyon near Monterey, California. Drawn to scientists’ description of this discovery, Gallagher recognized similarity between their account and how science fiction narratives unfold through the transformation and evolution of characters and physical matter.

Ellen Gallagher: Ice or Salt, an exhibition of iconic and recent works, opens at the SCAD Museum of Art on September 9, 2013 and continues through January 19, 2014.