JAMES ALEC HARDY
INES NETO DOS SANTOS
A fox leaves its rank scent in an alleyway. A pigeon pecks at rubbish in a busy square. Snails creep in through cracked windows, depositing glistening trails. A rat lies in a bush near a children’s playground. Moths flit from a wardrobe. Squirrels scurry around in parks. Bees drift in through the office window. Tree roots buckle a pavement.
We live in close proximity to other organisms; from caged pets to wild animals, window boxes to weeds. And there are those other living things – yeasts, bacteria, moulds – that float invisible through the air we breathe or grow on our skin and in our stomachs, parasites that are essential to human lives. City dwellers try to block out these living actors that survive, adapt, and thrive throughout the urban environment. Air conditioning, double-glazing, anti-bacterial spray. Conspiracy to control, ignoring the interdependence of human and non-human lives.
‘Darlings of the Underground’, seeks to foreground these overlooked and sidelined relationships, drawing attention to human encounters with organisms designated ‘other’ to ourselves by the categories enforced by science and classical philosophy.
These forces of the ‘underground’ resist dominant models of how we define the human in opposition to everything else and challenge the concept of the self-contained individual. The domestic setting of Subsidiary Projects is used to highlight the fact that these plants, animals, and bacteria are always present - species are interpenetrated, lives are interwoven - even in contexts where we feel uncomfortable encountering the wild. Set in a space where large windows offer a view of a street ornamented