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A year in which the suppression of a global pandemic has been the first priority, has often felt like being back at square one. Pandemic time is hybrid: spending so much time at home can feel like being slowed down at the same time as being sped up, linear as well as perpetually cyclical. And although this time may feel never ending, it also provides opportunities to imagine radical alternatives to the way we organize our societies: mass gathering, policing, office work, low budget flying, and even democracy have all had their end proclaimed recently.
Science Fiction author Kurt Vonnegut theorized that there is a shape to each story that can be diagrammed. Researchers working from Vonnegut’s theory determined in 2016 that virtually all fiction can be classified into six distinct types; the same linear stories are told over and over. US: Shaping Time seeks to challenge that idea, by presenting art that connects deep histories to future projections, long histories of labor to sudden accelerations, radical imaginations to lived transformations.
Starting from the position that art has the agency to imagine and shape the future, seven artists, theorists, composers, coders, curators and filmmakers puncture the bubble of pandemic time. US: Shaping Time features a board game on the way the covid pandemic has accelerated political realities; a film that challenges the notion of time itself; a discussion on the international allyships needed to remake the art world from the principles of transformative justice; a visual essay that connects the lives of dinosaurs to the possibility of outer-space utopias; and an A/V performance that questions why the end of the day looks like the end of the world.
ON THE PROGRAM
Join us for the live streaming event on Saturday 20 March.
SATURDAY 20 MARCH
Live streaming event.
Post-Mink: Farm or Non-Farm
How can gaming the end of Dutch mink farming help us shape the spaces that are left behind? On August 28th 2020, the Dutch government expedited a ban on mink fur farming from 2024 to March 2021. The ban was accelerated not because of changes in consumer desires or changes in societal ethics, but as a direct consequence of the coronavirus detected in mink. The rapid pace of infections among mink and the transmission to humans lead Minister Schouten to order an immediate culling of 2.4 million minks from 120 mink fur farms. The cabinet reserved 150 millions euros to help mink fur farmers, a compensation based on how many mother minks each farm owned. It remains uncertain what will happen to the abandoned former mink farms.
During US: Shaping Time, Oddkin will speculate on different scenarios for spaces of abandoned former mink farms in the form of a scripted game. Post-Mink: Farm or Non-Farm will highlight how these empty former mink farms can become intensive spaces for a radically egalitarian, caring society, or remain exploited by commercial, profit oriented interests. Through the interactive live role play of a speculative mink farmer, with the help of the online audience, Oddkin will confront us with the ethical dilemma of how a series of individual decisions could invoke a collective planetary change.
Oddkin is a formation of Márton Kabai and Natela Lemondzhava. Their hybrid practice shifts between investigative and metaphoric approaches through forensics and intuition that unfolds in critical storytelling. They depart from our apocalyptic, complex times and attempt to learn and unlearn, design and undesign radical visions and craft critical maps to de-center the human status-quo. They materialize their research in forms of books, games, videos, workshops, installations, and live performances. They are active in exhibiting, lecturing, facilitating different forms of workshops as well as collaborating with various fields of beings, cultures and disciplines.
Ana María Gómez López
Cosmos & Paleontology
14” Screening + Discussion
Cosmos and Paleontology is a visual essay on Ivan Efremov. Before the 1957 launch of Sputnik—the first man-made object to orbit the Earth—Efremov had already written about humans travelling through interstellar space, recovering fossils in galaxies thousands of light years away. This film interweaves this farseeing prose with archival and present-day material of persons, objects, and locations related to Efremov, such as the Paleontological Institute in Moscow, where he penned several short stories and novels. Cosmos and Paleontology explores Efremov’s ideas of deep space and deep time, combining prehistoric skeletons with cosmonaut relics, footage of dinosaur excavations in the Gobi Desert with Soviet cinematic adaptations of future space travel. At its core, Cosmos and Paleontology is a journey with a man who envisioned ancient Earth and the far reaches of the universe alike, defying the known limits of primordial life and death both in this planet and beyond.
In a discussion afterwards, Ana María Gómez López will contextualise the film within her multiannual research on taphonomy, the study of the decay, burial, and fossilization of biological organisms in the present and across geological time. Developed over the course of the last century, taphonomy is now central for surveying the entire postmortem history of life on Earth, from human remains recovered in crime scene investigations to traces of the earliest micro-organisms on this planet—and possibly beyond.
Ana María Gómez López is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher living and working in Amsterdam. Her practice is based on body-based and durational projects anchored on archival research in the history of the life sciences. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Rencontres Internationales, as well as the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Fonds d'art contemporain Genève, and the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, among others. Ana María was a resident artist at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten and has held fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science, the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. She is currently a fellow at the Mutations Theme Group at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart.
Denise Ferreira da Silva & Arjuna Neuman
Serpent Rain is as much an experiment in working together as it is a film about the future. The collaboration began with the discovery of a sunken slave ship, and an artist asking a philosopher—how do we get to the post-human without technology? And the philosopher replying—maybe we can make a film without time. The result is a video that speaks from inside the cut between slavery and resource extraction, between black lives matter and the matter of life, between the state changes of elements, timelessness and tarot.
Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva’s academic writings and artistic practice address the ethical questions of the global present. She is a Professor and Director of The Social Justice Institute (GRSJ) at the University of British Columbia, Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts, at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia), and Visiting Professor of Law, at Birkbeck University of London. She is the author of Toward a Global Idea of Race and co-editor of Race, Empire, and The Crisis of the Subprime (with Paula Chakravartty). Her art-related work includes texts for publications linked to the 2016 Liverpool and and Sao Paulo Biennales, Venice 2017, and Documenta 14, as well as collaborations such as the play Return of the Vanishing Peasant, with Ros Martin, the films Serpent Rain (2016) and 4Waters-Deep Implicancy (2018), with Arjuna Neuman; and events (performances, talks, and private sessions) and texts related Poethical Readings and the Sensing Salon, with Valentina Desideri.
Arjuna Neuman is an artist, filmmaker, and writer. His work has been presented at Whitechapel Gallery, London; Istanbul Modern, Istanbul; Sharjah Biennial, UAE; Bergen Assembly, Norway; at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; the 56th Venice Biennale and SuperCommunity; the Haus Der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; at KEM, Warsaw; at Ashkal Alwan and the Beirut Art Center, Beirut; Le Gaite Lyric, Paris; the Canadian Center for Architecture; and the Rat School of Art, Seoul among others. As a writer he has published essays in Relief Press, Into the Pines Press, The Journal for New Writing, VIA Magazine, Concord, Art Voices, Flaunt, LEAP, Hearings Journal, and e-flux journal. He also grows tomatoes and chillies in his studio.
Lecture + Discussion
Meenakshi Thirukode presents her long-term project, Instituting Otherwise. Instituting Otherwise is many things; a dream, a vision and an imaginary of a better art world; a labor of love shaped out of the experiences of those contributing; a manifestation of years attempting to navigate. It is a making visible as well as making opaque; and ebb and a flow of strategies; and many moments of feminist snap. From anonymous accounts of abuse in the art world, Thirukode attempts to build eco-systems that supporting, provide funding, legal support, unemployment care, and new allyships from the grass roots across interconnected contexts. Meenakshi will discuss the need and the possibilities to build the spaces that manifest 'another kind of art world'.
Meenakshi Thirukode is a writer, researcher, educator and feminist killjoy based in Delhi. Her areas of research include the role of culture and collectivity from the POV of a queer femme subjectivity, that’s located within the realm of a trans-nomadic, transient network of individuals and institutions. She runs ‘School of IO’, which is a space of unlearning, dedicated to navigating ‘study’, as a radical tool of political agency. Her recent projects include organizing the ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ conference at MAC Birmingham, UK as part of the India-UK 70 years celebration (March 2018) and ‘Out of Turn, Being Together Otherwise’, exploring performance art histories in collaboration with Asia Art Archive (AAA) at Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa, India (December 15th-22nd 2018) . Her chapter ‘Towards a Public of the Otherwise’, has been published in the Routledge Companion Series for Art in the Public Realm in 2020.
Joeri Woudstra & Robbie Barrat
Installation & performance
The technology in photographic sensors was initially developed to capture the first nuclear explosions of Trinity. No wonder that your iPhone, when taking a picture of the sunset, saturates and adjusts your holiday photos to look just like those revered explosions. The image contains nostalgia for its own making; a cliché image signaling the turn of the day evokes the transformation of the very possibility of life on earth.
In a live performance, artist and composer Joeri Woudstra and artist Robbie Barrat will collage audio and images from a neural network created by mining hundreds of iPhone shots of sunsets. The performance is the third installment of his Pavilion series, which researches the universal recognizability of iPhone field recordings and its impact onto our emotional connection to popular culture. Recording site-specific soundscapes overlaid with fragments of pop music, the work attempts to evoke ‘phantom nostalgia’ – an artificial longing for a past that never occurred.
Joeri Woudstra is a multidisciplinary visual artist and composer based in The Hague. In his work, Woudstra researches the way technological hyper acceleration and late capitalist information culture affect our perception of time and our collective feeling of generational melancholy. The ruin and relic-like collage work he creates resonate the echoes of contemporary western culture production in a future retrospect. Woudstra has realized exhibitions, screenings and performances at Somerset House, Kunstfort Vijfhuizen, DAS Bologna, Berlin Art Week, Unfair Amsterdam, Centraal Museum Utrecht, EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam, among others.
Robbie Barrat is an artist and graphic designer working with artificial intelligence as a tool and a medium. He graduated high school in Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia (USA) in 2017. Since then he has worked at NVIDIA on the use of neural networks in self driving cars, at Stanford University in a research lab exploring using machine learning for drug discovery, in New York working as an artist independently, attended art school in Saint Nazaire, France. Most recently he has opened an art/design studio in Paris.
Robbie Barrat Instagram