SISTER GENUS is an multi-sensory installation inspired by the lifecycle and distribution of Chrysopogon zizanioides, commonly known as vetiver. Recently proven to cleanse fuel-contaminated soil, vetiver roots hold a strain of bacteria responsible for the production of an aroma often used in commercial perfume. Billing explores the plant as a metonym for growth in toxic times, examining the relationship between ecological destruction and collaborative survival. Working in reference to the historically gendered social roles of the healer and the witch, Billing poses questions about their dystopic future equivalent. Somewhere between a grow room and an abandoned laboratory, science fictive vignettes allude to collective fears of technological acceleration and genetic modification. A homemade distillation system diffuses scented vapor into the gallery, emphasizing the viewer's own bodily permeability. In SISTER GENUS, hypothetical hybrids, hacked electronics, and invented conduit circuits create a fictional ecology with biophysical implications.
Colleen Billing (b. 1991 | Baltimore, MD) lives and works in New York. She received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. She has participated in residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and Vermont Studio Center.