University of Dundee
13 October – 16 December 2023
Monday – Saturday, 12–5pm
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.
…But There Are New Suns approaches the politics of time through its engagement with the poetics of temporal reconfiguration.
In drawing upon moments and moods specific to the aesthetics of Afro-Asian avant-gardes, as formulated by Joan Kee in The Geometries of Afro-Asia: Art Beyond Solidarity, The Otolith Group’s inhabitation of the structures provided by The Ignorant Art School aims at sustaining ‘interpretive communities’ enabled by the prospect of aesthetico-political work.
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’. [i]
Underscored by a commitment to methods of study and objects of investigation that operate beneath, between and beyond the protocols and parameters of institutional legitimation, The Otolith Group approaches Cooper Gallery as an opportunity to assemble an interscalar vehicle that enables a tractive force upon what C.L.R. James calls ‘the future in the present.’
In approaching digital video as the occasion and the site for the study of study …But There Are New Suns focuses upon 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.
A work whose refusal to satisfy the disclosures expected from what appears, on first sight, as documentary, returns the eye and the ear to the play of recursion and the work of attunement.
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.
Researched, videographed and recorded over a period of five years, O Horizon alludes to the quotidianity of Tagorean ecosophy transfigured by the multiple crises of capitalogenic violence.
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 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.
In assembling dialogues between the political aesthetics and aesthetic politics of science fictions, insurgent futurisms, chronopolitics, anti-colonial, postcolonial, decolonial and settler colonial theories, theories of anthropogenic and capitalogenic crises, and experimental musics, electronic and otherwise, 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 upon the convergence of multiple crises.
[i] See Kathryn Yusoff, A Billion Black Anthropocenes, University of Minnesota Press, 2019 and Françoise Vergès, Racial Capitalocene, Verso Blog Post, 2017.
Sit-in Curriculum #3 | DXG: The Department of Xenogenesis
Sit-in Curriculum #3 is conceived and activated in collaboration with The Department of Xenogenesis or DXG, a time space enacted by The Otolith Group. The curriculum of events is an open invitation for interlocutors to think together critically.
DXG is an experiment with pedagogy that emerges from and extends the research practice of The Otolith Group. DXG treats science fiction as a narrative vehicle that enables an imagination of scale which allows thought to gain traction upon the denaturalisation of the human, the extinctions of the earth, the necropolitics of technofascisms and the entanglements of global blackness and decolonization.
DXG #1: Thinking the Otolith Sigil
Thursday 12 October, 6–9pm
DXG #2: Thinking Futurisms Critically
Thursday 26 October, 6.30–8PM (Online)
DXG #3: Thinking Hydropoetics Critically
Thursday 2 November, 6.30–8pm (In-person)
DXG #4: Thinking Butler Attentively
Thursday 23 November, 6.30–8pm (Online)
* POSTPONED *
DXG #5: Thinking ‘The Idea of Black Culture’ Critically
Thursday 30 November 6.30–8pm (Online)
DXG #6: Thinking with Improvisation Critically
Thursday 7 December, 7–8.30pm (In-person)
L’École du soir Cinéma
Inspired by Senegalese film director Ousmane Sembène’s concept of cinema as ‘night school’ or l’école du soir for collective study, Cooper Gallery will transform into a temporary cinema over four evenings of screenings of moving image by The Otolith Group. Each screening will be complemented by audio recordings from The Otolith Group and responses from invited artists and writers in Scotland.
L’École du soir Cinéma #1
Otolith II (2007)
Wednesday 18 October, 6–8pm
L’École du soir Cinéma #2
I See Infinite Distance Between Any Point And Another (2012)
Tuesday 31 October, 6–8pm
L’École du soir Cinéma #3
In the Year of the Quiet Sun (2013)
Wednesday 15 November, 6–8pm
L’École du soir Cinéma #4
INFINITY minus Infinity (2019)
Wednesday 13 December, 6–8pm
The Otolith Group is an award-winning artist led collective founded by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun in 2002.
Their moving image, audio works, performances and installations are characterized by an engagement with the legacies and potentialities of diasporic futurisms that explore modes of temporal anomalies, anthropic inversions and synthetic alienation.
Recent solo exhibitions include: I See Infinite Distance Between Any Point and Another, greengrassi, London (2023); A Sphere of Water Orbiting a Star, Galway Arts Centre, Galway and Hangar Artistic Research Centre, Lisbon (both 2023); What the Owl Knows, Secession, Austria (2022-2023); Xenogenesis, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2022-2023); Sharjah Art Foundation (2021-22); SAAG (2020); Buxton Art Gallery, Melbourne (2020); ICA, Virginia (2020); Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven (2019); O Horizon, The Rubin Museum of Art, New York (2018); Reconstruction of Story 2, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (2018); The Radiant, Art Gallery Miyauch, Japan (2017); In the Year of the Quiet Sun, CASCO, Utrecht (2014); Novaya Zemlya, Museo Serralves, Porto (2014); and Medium Earth, REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/Cal Arts Theater), Los Angeles (2013).
Approaching curation as an artistic practice of building intergenerational and cross-cultural platforms, the collective has been influential in critically introducing particular works of artists such as Chris Marker, Harun Farocki, Anand Patwardhan, Etel Adnan, Black Audio Film Collective, Sue Clayton, Mani Kaul, Peter Watkins, and Chimurenga in the UK, US, Europe, and Lebanon.
Cooper Gallery is located to the right side of the DJCAD buildings on Perth Road. The entrance is via double doors which face onto a car park.
The gallery is on two floors. Ground floor has ramped access. First floor is accessible by an internal lift and six steps with a handrail. Wheelchair access is via a stairclimber. Please email in advance if you require lift or stairclimber access.
First floor is also accessible via 24 steps. Two flights of 12 steps with handrails are separated by a landing.
Exhibition videos are subtitled and captioned in English. Audio will be played aloud via speakers. Seating is provided and/or additional seating available, please ask an invigilator.
For all enquiries please email: email@example.com
The ground floor has a wheelchair accessible toilet. The toilet is gender neutral.
Large print versions of the exhibition information handout are available, please ask our Guides. If you require alternative formats for material in exhibitions please email or ask our Guides.
Header: The Otolith Group, What the Owl Knows, 2022 (film still)
Gallery: The Otolith Group artworks installed at Cooper Gallery. Photography Sally Jubb.
The Ignorant Art School at Cooper Gallery, DJCAD is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.