May 1 – 15, 2022
Honors Candidate Exhibition
Growing up in Texas as a queer woman from a family of Southern Baptist missionaries, I, like most queer people, have had to critically think about and de/reconstruct many of the narratives and social constructs I was raised to uphold. Attending church every Sunday used to be a nice weekly reunion for me, but many elements of the experience always felt off. The God I knew and felt most connected to has always been found wandering through the woods, examining a blade of grass, or reflected in a fox’s prolonged stare. To me, heaven is the soil underneath a church. I could never quite understand the need for the gold-plated superfluous structures that alienated me from God. Nor could I accept the image of God as some white dude in the sky who inserted us into a ‘temporary purgatory’ called earth. No, this view of being alien to the ecological life-system was not only isolating but also incompatible with the inherent continuity and interconnection of the ecosystem within me to the living earth I grew out of. The motive of this exhibit is not anti-religious nor is it a criticism of the variations of the Christian faith that I have not experienced, but rather an urgent interrogation of a critical question: how are we all harmed by this view of Genesis in a time of increasing planetary peril?
Although I may never know the solution, my exhibit Alien//Continuous serves to continue the paradigm shift that Alan Watts and other contemporary ecological theologists brought to the west. Through a series of mud-based sculptures, paintings, and drawings, I aim to confront the anthropocentric foundation of the Christian creation story which ‘authorized’ imperial/colonial exploitation of both lands and peoples. Instead, this exhibit offers a counter-perspective of being continuous with, rather than having “dominion over,” the invisible energies in all life forms from which we have been alienated (Genesis 1:26-28).
Addressing the fundamental issues that come with perceiving the world through a fabricated
duality between in-here (our human bodies) vs. out-there (other-than-human life forms) will
require much more than a single exhibit. My hope, though, is that participants walk away from
the installation with a better understanding that your skin is more than a soul sack in a temporary
purgatory and that the soil beneath your feet is just as much you as our own hair. Our bodies are
nature. If we hope to continue on, we must decenter human interest from the narrative of creation
and recognize that we are continuous with, rather than alien to, the earth, our collective body.
MC Goff is a senior studio art and finance double major from Dallas, Texas. MC has had several public art installations across the Wake Forest campus, most notably her and Ramona Suris’ 2-acre young forest, Alula Arbor, which was bulldozed to be replaced by an athletic facility. Outside of her sustainability-focused artwork, MC involves herself with various environmental activities including giving talks across campus, being a Campus Garden Ambassador, and working as an ESG-focused consultant at KPMG.