List Projects 28: Sophie Friedman-Pappas and TJ Shin
MIT List Visual Arts Center
November 16, 2023 - February 11, 2024

In their respective practices, Sophie Friedman-Pappas and TJ Shin work across a variety of media, including drawing, printmaking, expanded cinema, sculpture, and installation.

Both artists share an affinity for featuring and animating organic materials in their work. Shin, for example, has spliced, or “transfected,” mugwort leaves with their own DNA, and Friedman-Pappas has incorporated urine-tanned sheep hide and bird excrement in recent pieces. In past works that query ecological, social, and economic entanglements, both Shin and Friedman-Pappas have prioritized literary methods, developing projects that layer history with fiction and speculation.

In addition to their kaleidoscopic approaches to narrative, the two share an interest in technical devices for representation and vision—from drawing machines to cameraless photography and filmmaking. On view is a moving-image installation by Friedman-Pappas featuring a homemade projector that functions as an inverted camera obscura (Deltille-d Wall’s Necessary Anachronism 2 [2023]) and an experimental film by Shin for which the artist spliced 16mm film stock with segments of Super 8 footage and phytograms, which employ the internal chemistry of plants as a photographic emulsion (Duration [2023]). The two expanded cinema pieces look at sites of unconventional tourism: Shin’s work emerges from their visit to the demilitarized zone spanning the border between North and South Korea, and Friedman-Pappas’s centers on dovecotes-turned-Airbnbs on the Greek island of Tinos. Both sites are indicators of the pressures and contradictions of a postindustrial economy caught between climate disaster, conflict, and the principle of growth. A collaboratively authored series of “travelogues,” presented in an artist-designed display structure, record real and imaginary encounters with these locations.

Boston Art Review

Exhibition Brochure

Sophie Friedman-Pappas and TJ Shin, Untitled (Travelogue 1-32), 2023. Thirty-two mixed media works on paper 17 × 11 in. (43.2 × 27.9 cm) each.
Duration (It takes 22,000 minutes or 367 hours to project 150 miles of film at 24 frames per second, which is the equivalent of walking an average pace of 0.41 miles per hour or 47 minutes per mile for 150 miles.), 2023. 16mm and Super 8 transferred to digital, 7:00 min.

Photos by Dario Lasagni