Friday, June 10, 2016

Drexciya, The Ocean After Nature, YBCA, San Francisco

Drexciya are featured in a very prestigious travelling exhibition, The Ocean After Nature, which opens at the YBCA, San Francisco on 17th June. Alongside an international selection of established and emerging artists they will be represented by a vitrine, with four of their albums and a playlist of songs drawn from their EP releases. The Otolith Group's Hydra Decapita (2010) film, which references the Drexciyan mythos, will also be screened (image above). In the exhibition catalogue there will be an excerpt from Drexciya as Spectre by Kodwo Eshun from Aquatopia: The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep (2013) and a short essay/poem by Virgil Taylor about Hydra Decapita. I was contacted by the curator, Alaina Claire Feldman, and the producers of the show, Independent Curators International, early this year and answered some questions about them and am very pleased to see all of their efforts come to fruition and the direct recognition of Drexciya in this context. Details of other featured artists, full programme etc here.

“Our premise is that the sea remains the crucial space of globalization. Nowhere else is the disorientation, violence, and alienation of contemporary capitalism more manifest, but this truth is not self-evident, and must be approached as a puzzle, or mystery, a problem to be solved.” — Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, 2013

The Ocean After Nature considers the ocean as a site reflecting the ecological, cultural, political, and economic realities of a globalized world through the work of twenty artists and collectives. These internationally established and emerging artists explore new ways of representing the seascape as a means to identify and critique the various interrelated and chaotic systems of power, such as land-sea divides, the circulation of people and goods, and the vulnerabilities of our ecosystems.
-from description of show

In the past fifteen years, technological, scientific, and economic shifts advanced through globalization have prompted new considerations of the ocean. Instead of fetishizing the ocean as separate from humanity, it is now understood that nature and culture are physically and representationally equivalent in power and influence. How we speak about the ocean and what we do about the ocean have become inextricably intertwined.

The international selection of established and emerging artists featured in The Ocean After Nature explore these recent shifts and reflect on the complicated planetary effects that humanity and the oceans have on each other. The exhibition features more than twenty works of art in a wide variety of media—including photography, video, sculpture, music, and design—that propose new representations of seascapes. The works span not only personal themes of identity and migration, but also more universal concerns regarding tourism, trade, climate change, and the exploitation of natural resources.
-from curator's statement


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