May 21, 2020

The Word for World is Forest

California College of the Arts (CCA)

Sofía Córdova, dawn chorusi:_LA PREKUELA, 2016–20. Two-channel video installation, with color and sound. Courtesy of the artist.

California College of the Arts Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice in partnership with CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts present The Word for World is Forest.

A curatorial project featuring work by Sofía Córdova, Beatriz Cortez, Candice Lin, Allison Smith, and Patrick Staff

Online at

Curated by CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice Class of 2020: Fiona Ball, Naz Cuguoğlu, Chloe Kwiatkowski, and Orly Vermes.

The Word for World is Forest centers on world-building and alternative ways of being as its points of reference. The title and premise of the exhibition depart from a 1972 novella of the same title by American writer Ursula K. Le Guin. The book tackles topics like colonization and limited natural resources, while offering different scenarios for coexistence and being-in-common. Le Guin conjures a universe where the protagonists are concerned with making a positive impact while causing the least harm to others. This universe equally encompasses stones, streams, plants, birds, rivers, and the rest of our nonhuman “kin,” in the sense developed by multispecies feminist theorist Donna J. Haraway.

With this in mind, The Word for World is Forest turns to artistic practices to investigate how speculative thinking can challenge dominant narratives. Córdova, Cortez, Lin, Smith, and Staff, through various lenses, explore how time can be malleable and circular—constructing a world where a future of equality and respect is, in fact, achievable and within reach. By looking toward ways of being that value life with allied beings in a conscious symbiosis, the project imagines alternative worlds of mutual care and survival.

The Word for World is Forest is viewable online at through September 14, accompanied by an exhibition catalog accessible by free download or the purchase of a hard copy from the Wattis website.

About CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice
In CCA’s two-year MA in Curatorial Practice program, students work closely with faculty alongside visiting curators, designers, and artists to develop the intellectual and analytical skills needed to pursue a range of professional paths in curating and contemporary art. The program has a broad perspective of the curatorial, positioning the curator as a productive agent and researcher who embraces context as a valuable asset for articulating connections among artists, ideas, objects, archives, institutions, digital technologies, and audiences. The program equips students with knowledge and tools, inspires curiosity, and builds self-confidence for working creatively across disciplines and thinking imaginatively about mediation today, incorporating activity beyond art into the field of curating.

About Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is a nonprofit exhibition venue and research institute dedicated to contemporary art and ideas. The Wattis is a laboratory for testing the future of contemporary art through temporary exhibitions, public events, and in-depth research. It is part of California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

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