Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts

Upcoming Public Programs

The Growth and Its Perennials, a performance by Fia Backström

Friday, June 1, 2018 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

The Growth and Its Perennials, a performance by Fia Backström

Location: Bemis Center | 724 S 12th Street
Description: The Growth and Its Perennials, a performance by Fia Backström, is part of the closing reception for Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism's Temporal Bullying and will also include a performance by Zavé Martohardjono.


The globe, my intestines, the labor market, our friendships, your neuro-psychology, my compost, all entangled eco-systems. Just like the stock market can bloom, so can the garden and psychosis. After devastation, infrastructures re-structure, re-organize, re-grow and grow again. Muscles grow, as does the national debt. Everything is intertwined, my feelings become your outburst, my battery’s release leads to a bird’s disease. — Fia Backström

Much of Backström’s work has dealt with the terms of collective engagement and abstraction. In The Growth and Its Perennials, she investigates the effects of barely-visible forces on the body by considering the oscillating line between self and other/self and material. By juxtaposing intimate images of her garden with stories about the gardens of cultural figures, including filmmaker Derek Jarman’s and that of Voltaire’s fictional character Candide, The Growth and Its Perennials is offered as a site from which to understand the interconnectedness of social, economic, and sensorial forces of varying scales. Backström not only asks, “Can we use our collective anxieties to connect and to create new rhythms for future rituals?,” but she models this by inviting the audience to vocalize the presence of non-perceptible realities with her. The Growth and Its Perennials demonstrates how collectively holding space for the hypersensitivities that we are often told are not real can be a powerful ground for connection.

This performance is part of The Warp and Weft of Care, a program series associated with Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying. Backström has done versions of this performance at Artist’s Institute (New York, NY), Lawndale Arts Center (Houston, TX), Musac (Léon Spain), Rogaland Kunstcenter (Stavanger, Norway), and Museum of Modern Art (Recife, Brazil).

Fia Backström is an artist based in New York, NY. Working in diverse mediums including photography, writing, installation, and performance, Backström agitates the social life of language and materials. Her practice maintains a longstanding inquiry into the glue of collectivity. Recent solo projects include The Shape of Co- to Come at ABF, Stockholm (2016), and ME have to be turned upside down to become WE at Zinc Bar, New York (2014). She has participated in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1 (2015), MoMA (2010), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (2008) in New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2010); and tranzit, Prague (2008). Backström was the subject of a survey at the Artist’s Institute in 2015 and represented Sweden in the 54th Venice Biennale (2011). Her work can be found in the collections of Moderna Museet and the Whitney Museum.


Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts has three galleries on the main floor that can be accessed via an ADA approved ramp on 12th Street or seven steps. There is free street parking in front of the building on 12th Street and a paid lot on the North side of the building. 12th Street is cobblestone-lined. Admission is free and no ID is required to enter the building. There are multi-stall ADA approved single-sex bathrooms on the 1st floor with two grab bars, as well as on the 3rd floor where the workshop will be held.

Children and service animals are welcome. Concealed carry is prohibited. Texts and programs are in English. Large format texts are available upon request. The space is not scent-free, but we request that you come low-scent. Many ill (and non-ill) people have chemical sensitivities, which mean they do not tolerate scents (i.e. please do not wear perfumes or use scented deodorants and toiletries that day). More info on how and why to do this here and here.

Seating options will include cushioned folding chairs, but we are happy to provide other seating if requested in advance. If you need to move around, twitch, pace, or not make eye contact, you are welcome here.

If you have questions or would like support with specific access needs please let us know in your registration and we will do our best to help you attend comfortably.


Fia Backström
The Growth and Its Perennials

Lawndale Arts Center, Houston, TX, April 8, 2017
Photo: Ronald L. Jones
Courtesy the artist
Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 South 12th Street
Omaha, NE 68102
Admission and Parking: FREE
Phone:: 402.341.7130