University of Illinois at Chicago
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Keep Together As I May

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-07-30, 00:00 authored by Courtney Prokopas
I create art installations that are self-contained support systems considering the ephemeral connotations of life. These systems each employ an inherent logic and often utilize plants and insects. Though I am in the School of Art and Design, I draw heavily across the disciplines, predominantly in the fields of botany, entomology, biochemistry and electrical engineering, to create my works. Keep Together As I May (2011) is a work I developed during my first semester as an MFA candidate. It is a visual allegory for life. Three hundred and sixty vaccine vials are filled with soil and each contains one grass seedling. A single line of absorbable suture holds the vials in a state of suspension. A plot of dirt below welcomes any fallen seedlings; eventually the suture will fully dissolve and all seedlings shall fall. A fluorescent light and humidifier system controlled via automatic timers regulate development. The vials dually purport and inhibit growth, literally and symbolically. The suture is a diminishing thread that binds individuals until it can no longer keep together. It is only when the upper strata, the suspended seedlings, belie their original form and succumb to a waning support that they may truly flourish. It is in the breakdown of a system that life may go on.


This exhibit competition is organized by the University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate College and the University Library.


Publisher Statement

Art and Design; Finalist; Copyright 2012, Courtney Prokopas. Used with permission. For more information, contact the Graduate College at


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