Parsons Paris

Parsons Paris.

Thingness of Energy: Jamie Kruse

- 6:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


Exhibition reception: Thursday, February 2, 2012, 6:30–9:00 p.m.

Exhibition: February 2 through April 24, 2012
Exhibition hours: Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 12:00–6:00 p.m.

Thingness of Energy is a mixed-media installation by Jamie Kruse, presented by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. The installation is being displayed in the lobby of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, a glass-enclosed gallery that opens onto Fifth Avenue. It is intended to serve as a physical and virtual hub for extended discussion as well as interactions, events, and happenings on The New School’s energy use and its economic, environmental, ethical, urban, and artistic implications.

Given wide-ranging access to the university’s infrastructure and support staff, Kruse spent six months investigating the flow of energy through various New School buildings. She used the results of her research to create a complex, intricate assemblage of the physical components of energy. The installation is made up of the material conduits of energy (pipes, wires, switch boxes, and tubes), samples of energy sources (fossil fuels and coal), and maps and photographs. Mounted on the building’s windows, the installation is visible from both the street and the building’s interior, reflecting the relationship between the producer of energy, the outside world, and the consumers of energy, the people in the building.

Energy materials and flows are often hidden from view in basements or in pipes and wires. Thingness of Energy challenges the viewer to consider and directly experience the material realities of energy. Taking The New School’s Climate Action Plan as its point of departure, the project reveals the physical qualities and the effects of the materials we use to generate and transmit energy. It also examines time as a generator of energy sources and effects.

Thingness of Energy poses the question: What if considerations of force, change, and effect on a geologic scale became a common design specification for energy production and distribution projects, policymaking, and infrastructure?

Jamie Kruse is an artist, designer, and independent scholar. In 2006, she and Elizabeth Ellsworth founded smudge studio, based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Their recent projects include Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York. Exhibitions of smudge studio’s work have been presented at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Incident Report in Hudson, New York. Kruse has been granted residencies with the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah; Sundance Preserve; the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art; and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Kruse blogs at Friends of the Pleistocene.

Thingness of Energy is presented in conjunction with several public programs, including an installation walk through and facilities tour on Thursday, February 23, at 12:30 p.m. (RSVP required; email, and an exchange on energy between faculty members from different New School programs, on Monday, March 5, at 6:30 p.m.

The opening reception coincides with openings of other exhibitions at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, including Where Do We Migrate To?

For more information, visit or For inquiries about other artist-led tours and public classes, contact

Thingness of Energy was developed and produced by Jamie Kruse in collaboration with The New School’s Office for Sustainability, the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. The project is supported in part by The New School’s Green Fund and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics.

Presented as part of the Vera List Center’s exploration of its 2011–2013 focus theme, “Thingness.” 

image caption: 300+ Million Year Old Coal from Kayford Mountain, West Virginia (Kanawha Coal Field). Approximately 67% of The New School's energy is supplied by fossil fuels. From Carbon Trading Across the Eons (Thingness of Energy), Jamie Kruse 2011-2012  (photo Elizabeth Ellsworth)


    Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 2 West 13th Street


    The exhibition is free.

    The presentation is accompanied by several public programs, among them an installation walkthrough and facilities tour on Thursday, February 23, 12:30 p.m. (RSVP required: and an energy-driven exchange among New School faculty members from different programs, on Monday, March 5, 6:30 p.m.