artists & participants
Anachronism looks at the work of artists from different generations who have insistently grappled with history, both personal and general, and related issues of nostalgia, retrospection, and temporality. More specifically, their work often refutes the image of history as a neat trajectory moving smoothly forward in time. They acknowledge instead the possibility of working against time—of creating works that deliberately counter received ideas of what the present should look like, what the past was, or what the future will be, and thus direct attention to the seams in the construction and presentation of history. Their alternate “histories” might thus be read as alternate readings of time, and a mode of showing the ultimate constructedness of the narratives we are given about the past as well as the problems inherent to late capitalism’s notion of an inexorably progressive and productive future.
The cinematic cut, spatial dislocation, formal repetition, appropriation, idleness, waste, idiosyncratic archiving, entropic undoing of the object: these are just some of the means these artists use to create the sense of disruption at the heart of the narration of history. In diverse ways, and through various media, their work is thus not so much or certainly not only about history or historical events as a reflection on and questioning of the temporalities implict in history’s unfolding—past, present, and future. And if the possibility of a genuine revolution according to Giorgio Agamben, lies above all in the effort to “change time,” the promise of these works is in their questioning of the temporality of history as it has been given to us so that we might all the better be able to read our present and possibly redefine the future.
Works by 18 international contemporary artists —with several in situ new productions, including a functional cinema built by Tobias Putrih — are featured against the exhibition’s backdrop of a continuous screening of La Jetée, Chris Marker’s historic cinematic meditation on the paradoxes of time and memory. The exhibition is curated by Elena Filipovic, an independent curator and writer based in Brussels.
Participating artists include: Boris Belay, Guillaume Bijl, Tobias Buche, David Claerbout, Babak Ghazi, Felix Gmelin, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Erwan Maheo, Chris Marker, Deimantas Narkevicius, Sophie Nys, Paulina Olowska, Roman Ondák, Tobias Putrih, Pia Rönicke, Martha Rosler, and Bojan Sarcevic.
In its first floor exhibition space argos will present the film Otolith I, by the Otolith Group. The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 by the artist Anjalika Sagar and the cultural theorist Kodwo Eshun, who collaborated with the artist Richard Couzins to make Otolith I. The film essay probes the potency of archival images, exploring the poeticisation of mediated memory. Taking its name from otoliths, the minute particles found in the inner ear that help us to balance and to navigate our way across space, the film aims at reorienting our perceptions of the world by weaving personal and public histories together into a meditation upon the persistence of utopian aspirations.
“Earth is out of bounds for us now; it remains a planet accessible only through media”, the viewer is told at the beginning of the film, suggesting a post-nuclear future in which humankind is confined to outer space. Through prolonged space travel, the film tells us, otoliths have ceased to function, leaving homo sapiens unable to walk the earth. Instead the new mutants research images “sifting aging history from the tense present in order to identify the critical points of the twentieth century”. The film’s narrator is Dr. Usha Adebaran Sagar, a fictional descendant of Anjalika Sagar, living in space in the year 2103. The narrator looks back at several generations of women from the Sagar family, linking her own experiences with those of Sagar’s grandmother during the 1960s when she met Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to orbit the Earth. “For us”, the narrator declares, “there is no memory without image and no image without memory. Image is the matter of memory”. Her attempts to understand multiple dimensions of the historical, the terrestrial and the evolutionary bring together existing images of very different qualities and registers.
In addition, the new video by the Otolith Group, Otolith II, will premiere at Argos on Monday 14th May at 20.30 pm. Following the premiere of the film Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun of the Otolith Group will talk about the film and their work in general. From the 15th – 26th May, Otolith II will be screened in Argos’ Black Box.
The Otolith Group
Anachronism / Künstler: Boris Belay, Guillaume Bijl, Tobias Buche, David Claerbout, Babak Ghazi, Felix Gmelin, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Erwan Maheo, Chris Marker, Deimantas Narkevicius, Sophie Nys, Paulina Olowska, Roman Ondák, Tobias Putrih, Pia Rönicke, Martha Rosler, Bojan Sarcevic