press release

October 13–December 16, 2023
Preview: October 12, 6–9pm, with conversation between Kodwo Eshun, Anjalika Sagar and Dr. Ranjana Thapalyal

The Otolith Group
…But There Are New Suns
The Ignorant Art School Sit-in #3

Cooper Gallery’s critically lauded five-chapter exhibition and event project The Ignorant Art School: Five Sit-ins towards Creative Emancipation enters its third iteration in Autumn 2023 with Sit-in #3 titled …But There Are New Suns; the first major exhibition in Scotland by the Turner Prize nominated artist collective The Otolith Group.

Founded in London in 2002 by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun, The Otolith Group practices modes of digital image making, exhibition making and discourse making that seek to activate the chronopolitical potentials of differentiated futurisms.

In its recitation of the epigram, written by the great science-fiction novelist Octavia Butler, the exhibition title …But There Are New Suns alludes to an imagination of scale capable of gaining traction upon the multiple alienations differentially experienced by communities living and working in and through the“Racial Capitalocene.” *

In approaching digital video as the occasion and the site for the study of study …But There Are New Suns focuses on two installations: What the Owl Knows (2022) and O Horizon (2018).

Co-produced with Cooper Gallery, the UK premiere of What the Owl Knows can be characterised as a work that revels in what it does not reveal, a work that attunes the auditor to the tone and the texture of attentiveness devoted by painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye to the demeanour and the disposition, the manner and the moods within and outwith her paintings.

The installation O Horizon (2018) invites audiences to encounter scenes from the life within and outwith Visva-Bharati, the university that extends the art school founded in Santiniketan in West Bengal in 1921 by the polymath Rabindranath Tagore. The studies of study evoked throughout O Horizon offer prismatic insights into the forms and shapes of a Tagorean ethos in the second decade of the 21st century.

In embracing Senegalese film director Ousmane Sembène’s idea of cinema as a night school or l’ecole du soir, the events series Sit-in Curriculum #3 celebrates the sociality of moving images as the occasions for the informal study of study. The screenings, discussions, performances and reading groups that constitute the Sit-in Curriculum #3 aim at the interruption and suspension of colonial orders of knowledge production through an open invitation to all that wish to gain traction on the convergence of multiple crises.

*See Kathryn Yusoff, A Billion Black Anthropocenes, University of Minnesota Press, 2019 and Françoise Vergès, Racial Capitalocene, Verso Blog Post, 2017.

The Ignorant Art School: Sit-in Curriculum #3—DXG: The Department of Xenogenesis
The event series, Sit-in Curriculum #3 is conceived and activated in collaboration with The Department of Xenogenesis (DXG), a time space enacted by The Otolith Group. The curriculum is an open invitation for interlocutors to think together critically.