To Carry the Earth

June 3, 2023 – July 19, 2023
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space

88 Essex Street, No. 21
New York, NY

Reception Friday, July 14 from 6-8p

[descriptions of underlined words are provided in the Reference section]

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is pleased to present artist Casey Tang’s new exhibition, To Carry the Earth, a spatialized audio and sculptural installation that investigates the limitations of dominant Western dialectical logic and egocentric frames of reference.

Drawing from the artist’s extensive research into the history of systems science and psycholinguistic spatial frames of reference (FoR), the site-specific project speaks to the ways individuals, communities, and cultures make sense of the multiscalar processes underlying the phenomena we experience.

The conceptual framework of the installation is inspired by the artist’s experience of designing large-scale agroforestry and sociotechnical systems, which present a biosemiotic network relationality nested in an absolute FoR. This revised system accommodates a multiscalar, predicate-value logic, largely absent in egocentric frameworks, as a proposition to root humans with our senses in consensual coordinates tethered to place.

“When I speak, I rely on the English subject and predicate to make a daily prayer to relative and intrinsic separation. This grammatical structure was first conjured centuries ago by the Peripatetic school using Aristotelian logic. Today, when I intake phenomena and push air through my mouth to crudely fit what I sense into the same old syntax and metaphors, I reflow the past into the present, sending a constant perturbation in our meaning systems. When enough of us do this, we aggregate these values into our Reality––amplifying the boundary conditions of things and beings while placing everything in a Patritus, Bruno, Gassendi, or Newtonian infinite three-dimensional void.

“Life is characterized by complex adaptive systems recursively interconnecting outwardly and internally to maintain autopoiesis, communicate, navigate, learn, and adapt. In a critique of arborescent knowledge structures for its linear progressive structures and its connotation of hierarchical supremacy, like the phylogenetic tree, tree diagrams, and directory information tree, Deleuze and Guattari, influenced by Gregory Bateson’s cybernetics, praised the rhizome and its many deterritorialized lines of flight, but the rhizome, once thought emancipatory, is now commonplace in our networked culture. It surges through all parts of our lives, separating and moving us along, from app services and bureaucratic state systems to planetary-scale infrastructures, even leading some to drive into rivers and deserts towards their untimely GPS deaths.

“Ecological gardens, and the ecosystems they mimic, are a bridge from our semioticworld to the logic and attitude of atmosphere, the recursive processes of evolution, the interdependent organization of multi-species, and the rhythms of metastability in non-equilibrium dynamics within a world of complexity. Living beings at this scale resonate with our most fundamental being—within the evolutionarily older parts of ourselves—still unconsciously tied to the ebbs and flows of nature or persistent ancient networks of relations. These are the cells that constitute our bodies and, with our medulla oblongata, are responsible for unconscious processing. They regulate our lungs easily and without self-reflection, allowing us to continuously breathe oxygen from Earth’s atmosphere and expel carbon dioxide to be taken up by our symbionts, the vegetal beings.

“Algorithms and AI unleashed by their corporate creators meet and influence us as we navigate and obtain information from the Internet. Their systems enable and amplify selected agents’ behavior. Corporate algorithms are superseding human agency and creating partitioned echo chambers. Platforms with Internet network dominance choose to amplify emotional content—often extremist views and propaganda—in exchange for engagement, influence, and money. Leading to frequent global disruption faster than we can comprehend and respond collectively.

“An ecosystem or any phenomenon viewed from an egocentric perspective is more personal, experiential, and localized. No matter what relational metaphor is theorized and ‘understood’ or ‘kept in mind’. We will always default to embodying a nodal being within a network floating in a void.  If we were to step out of the network enclosure into one with more degrees of freedom, we will be assisted with the absolute frame of reference, a fixed, external point of reference based on sociocultural importance, e.g., cardinal direction, cosmology, etc. If we enlarge our de facto coordination system and spatial thinking from the relative and egocentric to the absolute and planetary-scale geocentric, we can move from sensing as nodes in a network to carrying the Earth everywhere we go. An absolute FoR roots us and our senses in consensual coordinates tether to place.”

– Casey Tang


The intentional integration of trees and shrubs into crop and animal farming systems to create environmental, economic, and social benefits.

Sociotechnical systems
A sociotechnical system is an approach to complex organizational design that recognizes the interaction between people, organizations, and technology.

Study of signs and meaning in living organisms and systems. Tang’s exhibition further explores the ways living organisms and systems orientate themselves and how they make meaning of their environment, as an alternative to how most Western societies follow a predominantly egocentric frame of reference.

The term autopoiesis describes the capacity of living cells to reproduce and organize themselves. Another way to understand the term is that it denotes the ability to self-create.

The science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things.

The study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation within meaning making. Tang’s exhibition explores alternative processes and references we use to make sense of the world around us.

Medulla oblongata
The connection between the brainstem and the spinal cord, carrying multiple important functional centers.

Cardinal direction
The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the four main compass directions: north, south, east, and west. Relative to north, the directions east, south, and west are at 90 degree intervals in the clockwise direction.

Geocentric spatial frames of reference are a way of describing and understanding spatial relationships in language and cognition using Earth’s coordinate system as reference points. Geocentric frames allow us to communicate and perceive spatial information based on a community’s agreed-upon fixed axis rather than our perspective or the position of objects.


Casey Tang is an artist and researcher focused on the interrelation between linearity, recursion, agency, organization, and self-organization within large social-technical-ecological systems. Casey graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology. He is a recipient of the 2021 Digital Diasporas Research Fellowship at Chronus Art Center, 2018 Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu Fellowship, 2015 Queens Museum/Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists, and 2013 New Vision Award from He Xiangning Art Museum.

He has exhibited in the US, Europe, and Asia. Including “Catalyst” at the Queens Museum, “CAFAM Future: Observer-Creator” at the Central Academy of Fine Art Museum, Beijing,and “LANDMARK” at Socrates Sculpture Park, a solo exhibition at Charpa Gallery, Spain, book project, First Sounds with Booklyn. His work is in various collections, including Stanford University, the Inelcom foundation, and the He Xiangning museum.