A.K. Burns: Negative Space

Copublished with Wexner Center for the Arts
Edited by Karen Kelly and Barbara Schroeder
Text by CA Conrad, Mel Y. Chen, Aruna D’Souza, Megan Hicks, Simone White, and a conversation between the artist and Karen Archey
168 pages, 160 images, open spine binding, 8 x 10 inches
ISBN: 978-1-954947-06-1


Deploying science fiction, material feminism, ecoanarchism, queer theory, and technoscience, artist A.K. Burns critically explores the fraught relationships between humanity and nature in an epic multimedia work Negative Space (2015–23). This four-part nonlinear allegory provokes questions about marginalized bodies, resources, environmental fragility, and technology. First developed as a series of video installations, the four nonlinear episodes of Negative Space are united in this publication, which—through imagery, research, commissioned critical and creative writings—probe preconceptions of space and to imagine new relationships to the spaces we occupy and the meaning of our bodies in these spaces. Set in a speculative present, the premise of the Negative Space tetralogy is to envision a new materialist cosmology wherein hierarchical relations permute. Within Negative Space, there is a conceptual proposal, to perceive and act from an inverted position: As a formal term in art, negative space denotes the matter between and around the subject, a definable or known entity that is the focus of attention. Open to shifting possibilities, negative space is instead a compositional gap, emerging from a “subordinate” position, that holds potential for alternative forms of agency.

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