Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands 25 May 2019 - 18 Aug 2019
The Otolith Group, "O Horizon" (film still detail), 2018. Courtesy and copyright the artists.
The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven will present the first large scale solo exhibition of The Otolith Group; the artist’s collective with Anjalika Sagar (London, 1968) and Kodwo Eshun (London, 1966). On view from 25 May through 18 August 2019, the exhibition will survey their practice over eight years, presenting eight compelling narrative films and two installations.
The Otolith Group’s work weaves together many strands of imagination speculation about past and future including science fiction, postcolonial history, music and scientific discovery. Their work pictures a society in which screens have become part of the natural world, communication is global, culture is political, human identity is crucial but fluid and history has not ended.
The title Xenogenesis is inspired by the African- American science fiction writer Octavia Butler’s famous trilogy published between 1987-89. Butler transcended the conventions of the genre, exploring social issues of empathy, climate catastrophe, hybridity, conservation and tribalism. Her writing unleashed a legacy of feminist thinking and new imagination from the late 1980s that influenced Donna Harroway, Sadie Plant and the Xeno Feminists and the Black Quantum Futurists, all of whom are key influences for the Otolith Group’s own work. It is then through the prism of this radical, generative Afrofuturist fiction that the exhibition can be seen and experienced.
The Otolith Group was established in London in 2002. Eshun and Sagar have been leading experimentalists in the fields of documentary and filmic essays, known both for their own work and for their support and exploration of other filmic practices by programming and organizing discursive events, much of which is done under the name the Otolith Collective. Through these projects, the Otolith Group challenges a white modernist mode of artistic production and expands the global view of art.
In addition to the exhibition three events are being organized with presenters Richard Kofi and Simone Zeefuik. They will be joined by scientists, performers, musicians and artists to investigate how the themes from the exhibition are of significance in Eindhoven and the Netherlands. Dates: Saturday 22 June (Creolizing the Canon), Saturday 29 June (Afrofuturism), Saturday 6 July (Self-care). During the last week of the exhibition, a residency for emerging literary artists will take place in collaboration with the Watershed Foundation. The participants will be coached by philosopher and writer Simone van Saarloos, poetry slammer Jörgen Gario and artist Julius Thissen.