Rodell Warner: Augmented Archives

TERN Gallery, Nassau, Bahamas
26 Mar 2021 - 14 May 2021

Rodell Warner, Family and Friends no.1, 2017. Still from Video.

Rodell Warner, Family and Friends no.1, 2017. Still from Video.

Augmented Archives, is an exhibition of 20 video prints by Trinidadian artist Rodell Warner and curated by Lauren Perez. Through digital intervention, found photographs are re-enlivened as video prints repairing Caribbean archival memory and celebrating Caribbean spirit in a new show at TERN Gallery, on view from March 4th to May 14th, 2021.

Augmented Archives features a series of digitally augmented found photographs set in the 20th Century in the Caribbean—created at the intersection of art, photography, and technology—that further explores Warner’s ongoing investigation of Caribbean archives.

Augmented Archives dares to revive the past. The exhibition includes three different bodies of work spanning the past five years of Warner’s practice, as well as a limited edition of video prints available for acquisition upon the exhibition’s opening. Combining digital animations and sound, the video prints reflect a newly colorized and digitized representation of mostly b&w analog photographs—with a majority of the works appearing in color for the first time at TERN.

The framed video prints depict familiar subjects in infinite, chromatic flickering motion; mostly anonymous Black and brown Caribbean figures sourced from digital archives whose lives were largely preserved under the context of colonialism and legacy of slavery. Originally depicting figures laboring or being documented under the guise of anthropology, these photographs re-emerge from the margins of the archive alongside dimensional dancing Māterias, Warner’s digitally animated sculptural objects, giving more life and depth, to shallow representations of Caribbean history.

The format of the video prints themselves references the framing of family photographs, encased to both preserve and make present intimate remembrance. Warner’s prints set forth idyllic narratives of the past that invite the viewer to reimagine not only the histories and lives of the people and places depicted, but the viewer’s own relation to them.“I’ve found a way to give form to what I’ve come tothink of as the hidden interiority of thesubjects of the photos—those invisible dimensionsof their lives that resisted or escaped or wereomitted from the archive,” said Warner.

“My intention is really to invite people to find out what they might see in these colorized, digitised, perhaps fictionalised versions of rare images from the Caribbean’s past.” Born out of an early curiosity to understand what representations of the Caribbean existed online publicly, Warner’s Augmented Archives is an artist’s and archivist’s response to a tenuous, and at times fugitive, public memory of the past. The resultis a provocative collection of moving images spanning the Caribbean diaspora, which simultaneously challenge and repair the digital archive.

Rodell Warner (b. 1986) is a Trinidadian artist working primarily in new media and photography. His works have been exhibited at The Whitney Museum of American Art in the 2016 Dreamlands exhibition as part of the collective video project Ways of Something, at The National Gallery of Jamaica in the 2016 exhibition Digital, and at the 10th Berlin Biennale in 2018 in I’m Not Who You Think I’m Not #14. Rodell is a recipient of the 2011 Commonwealth ConnectionsInternational Arts Residency, and the 2014 summer residency at NLS Kingston, and was commissioned in 2017 to create the Davidoff Art Edition, a series of five artworks printed onto a limited edition of five thousand boxes of luxury cigars and presented and sold at Art Basel inHong Kong, Miami, and Basel. Rodell lives and works between Port of Spain in Trinidad, Kingston in Jamaica, and Austin, Texas, in the US.





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