BAD STARS is a new body of work and discursive programming series by London, Ontario-based artist Christina Battle, whose research investigates the limits of disaster. Battle regards disaster as more than a singular event and instead as a framework operating within larger systems of power. The root of the term “disaster” derives from the Greek: dus– meaning “bad,” and aster meaning “star.” For millennia, the movement of the stars have produced a profound and reliant understanding of the terrestrial. Constellations influence the development of navigational structures, and through astrological study, have the potential to both explain and predict events happening on Earth. Disruptions in these understandings are caused by the unprecedented migration of once unfailing stars—now deemed bad stars.
BAD STARS considers disaster through the metaphor of these astronomical “bad stars”—as phenomena that cause unprecedented change from a once-stable structure and influence a wider, interdependent network. To this end, Battle solicits photographic images from a community of artists, scholars, and activists through an email survey. Contributors are asked to provide an image of what they consider the term “disaster” to represents. The image can be vernacular or professional in execution, made or found online, in a book or a magazine. The options are open and endless, allowing space for personalized expressions of what the term evokes and, ultimately, to determine collective meanings. These images of disaster comprise the heart of the exhibition, taking the form of large-scale collage from which the discursive programming will develop.
Considering disaster as a series of linkages extending from environmental, cultural, political, economic, and social conditions, BAD STARS seeks to draw threads between these connections and to consider how they might be realigned in ways that will help to move beyond them. Employing strategies of participation and conversation, an interdisciplinary group of contributors will help forward the discussion by presenting their strategies for actively tackling disastrous incidents in their own communities. BAD STARS seeks to reframe perspectives about these events instead of wallowing in their destructive nature. To that end, the project sees the framework of disaster as an active strategy that can aid in the perspectival shifts necessary to advance beyond the causes of disasters themselves.