Locust Projects presents The Command Center by Whitney Humphreys, a current dual MFA degree-seeking student at San Francisco Art Institute. She is the sixth student featured in our summer LAB MFA open call since 2013.
The installation in Locust Projects Project Room allows visitors to enter an alternate plane of reality, where a distant and mysterious machine known as the Rocket with Hoopskirt is in a perpetual state of pre-departure, monitored from across the country. The work extends and recontextualizes her ongoing MFA thesis focus, centrally figuring this skirt-clad model of rocketry pioneer, Robert H. Goddard’s so-named, formative rocket engine test. Built from found and recycled materials, the station reimagines systems of control by inviting engagement yet denying manipulation. Jumbled streams of imagery and noise emissions engulf the space in obscure, but familiar messages.
The artist’s site-specific construction addresses the role that Florida itself has played in the history of rocketry and the impact the project of space travel has made on the state’s cultural, political, economic, and physical landscape. It offers a portal into narratives that embody intersections between and across gendered associations that are culturally attributed to the mechanical. And, engaging directly with both personal and collective histories, this project examines the complex web of influences that have shaped both real and imagined relationships between human and non-human beings and objects.
About the Artist
Whitney Humphreys is a San Francisco Bay Area artist and teacher currently pursuing a double Masters in San Fransisco Art Institute’s Dual Degree program, where she has held the position of 2018 Co-Director for the Legion of Graduate Students. Upon completion, she will earn an MFA in studio practice, with a focus in printmaking and sculptural installation, as well as an MA in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art with her thesis titled Gendered Machines. Having grown up in California with a creatively, politically, and academically driven family and community, she has been studying art her entire life. Culminating in a practice rooted deeply in processes of research, her work addresses modes of knowledge production and representation that impact constructions of identity, examined through an Intersectional Feminist lens. She has exhibited throughout the Bay Area during her career as an artist, muralist, designer, maker, event coordinator, and instructor.