The Otolith GroupXenogenesis
In May 2019, the Van Abbemuseum will hold Xenogenesis, the first large scale exhibition of The Otolith Group in the Netherlands. The collective was founded by artist Anjalika Sagar and theorist Kodwo Eshun in 2002. Xenogenesis will present artworks produced between 2011 and 2018. The works will be displayed in the ten rooms within the old building of the museum.
Xenogenesis is named after Octavia Butlers’ Xenogenesis Trilogy which consists of Dawn. Xenogenesis: 1, Adulthood Rites. Xenogenesis: 2 and Imago. Xenogenesis:3. As a pioneering African American female science fiction novelist, Butlers’ award winning novels investigated questions of human extinction, racial distinction, planetary transformation, enforced mutation, generative alienation and altered kinship. From her first novel Patternmaster, 1976, to her final novel Fledgling, 2005, Butler challenged the questions of science fiction in ways that transformed the cultural imagination of futurity for generations of feminist thinkers, artists and philosophers from Donna Haraway to Sadiye V. Hartman V to Denise Ferreira da Silva to the Black Quantum Futurists. Butlers’ fictions of xenogenesis, which are narrated as processes of outside becoming or becoming outside or alien becoming or becoming alien, have informed and continue to inform the movement of thought of The Otolith Group’s past, present and future work.
The most recent work in Xenogenesis, O Horizon, 2018, was named no. 1 film by curator Ed Halter in his Best Of 2018 list for Artforum International: The Year In Review. O Horizon engages with the contemporary legacy of Visva Bharati, the experimental art school founded by the renowned artist, poet, dramatist, novelist and composer, Rabindranath Tagore in Santiniketan, West Bengal in 1919. O Horizon is the agronomic term for the soil that forms the surface of the earth. The Otolith Group’s new video draws together soil science with dance, botany and poetry in order to draw a structure of feeling for Tagorean modernity.
The Otolith Group
The Otolith Group was founded in London in 2002 by artists and theorists Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun. The term ‘Otolith’ is named after the calcium carbonate micro crystals located within the middle ear that maintains human capacities of verticality and balance under the terrestrial condition of planetary gravity.
Xenogenesis brings together a cross-section of artworks from 2011 to 2018.
The works are: Anathema, 2011, From Left to Night, 2015, People to be Resembling, 2012, O Horizon, 2018, Statecraft, 2014, In the Year of the Quiet Sun, 2012, Medium Earth, 2013, Who Does The Earth Think It Is, 2013, Sovereign Sisters, 2014 and The Third Part Of The Third Measure, 2017.
Exhibition Architecture by Diogo Passarinho Studio