L’École du soir Cinéma #4 | INFINITY minus Infinity
Wednesday 13 December 2023
Screening with artist response by Ashanti Harris and Sabrina Henry & collaborators (In-person)
University of Dundee
The Otolith Group, INFINITY minus Infinity (2019)
Duration: 56 minutes 51 seconds
4K video, colour, stereo sound
INFINITY minus Infinity draws on several inspirations: the modernist verse of the Jamaican poet Una Marson, the alluvial invocations of the Martinican philosopher and poet Édouard Glissant, the black feminist poetics of the Brazilian philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva, and the racial formation of geology theorised by British geographer Kathryn Yusoff amongst others in order to envision a black feminist cosmos animated by the principles of mathematical nihilism. The phrase “hostile environment” invokes the covert policy of targeting migrants enacted by the UK Conservative government since 2014. It stands for the criminalization of the Afro-Caribbean women and men that migrated to Britain in the 1950s to help reconstruct its industrial infrastructure after the war. The recent effort to detain and deport the women and men of the “Windrush generation”—so called because they followed in the wake of the men that emigrated to Britain from the Caribbean on board the HMS Empire Windrush in 1948—reveals the commitment of the British State to disarticulating the forms of attachment and belonging of Afro-Caribbean settlement that helped decolonize the British empire from within.
INFINITY minus Infinity extends its confrontation with the Tory policy of the ongoing hostile environment into an interscalar movement between times and spaces. It brings together dance, performance, music, recital, and digital animation to compose a transhistorical zone in which the unpayable debts of racial capitalism cannot be separated from the ongoing crimes of climate catastrophe. INFINITY minus Infinity enacts the past distress, present duress and future dread of the British Capitalocene through the assembly of a chorus of transtemporal deities whose utterances, expressions, gestures, and movements allude to the accumulated times and spaces of the United Kingdom’s environmental hostility. INFINITY minus Infinity confronts the compounded timelines of the afterlife of slavery enacted by British imperial capitalism with the forces and the fictions of 21st Century black feminist digital cosmology. Commissioned by Sharjah Architecture Triennial SAT01, 2019. Co-produced with Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture.
The Re-Action of Black Performance
A response by Sabrina Henry and Ashanti Harris
The Re-Action of Black Performance is a British Art Network research group led by Sabrina Henry (Curator, CCA Glasgow) and Ashanti Harris (multidisciplinary artist, Glasgow) which explores how the state of being reactive (re-active) is used as a theme in Black British performance art; not only as an act of agency and resistance but additionally as a creative catalyst in the form, process, intention and legacy of the works created.
In response to the film Infinity Minus Infinity (2019), by the Otolith Group, Sabrina and Ashanti are collaborating with Award winning choreographer and Director Mele Broomes to facilitate a live, improvised, call and response performance, exploring the themes of the film alongside some of the research gathered as part of The Re-Action of Black Performance. The improvisation will be performed by Scotland-based, BPOC performance artists, each working with their own embodied medium - a dancer, a DJ, a performance artist, a costume designer, and a multidisciplinary artist. Mele Broomes, Plantainchipps, Saoirse Amira Anis, Marios Ento-Engkolo.
With support from British Art Network, Cooper Gallery, and Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow
Intro: The Otolith Group (audio recording)
Screening: INFINITY minus Infinity (56 minutes 51 seconds)
Artist response: Ashanti Harris and Sabrina Henry with collaborators Mele Broomes, Plantainchipps, Saoirse Amira Anis, Marios Ento-Engkolo
The screening event is free and open to all. Book a ticket via Eventbrite.
The screening is raising funds for medical Aid for Palestinians, donate the cost of a cinema ticket or what you can directly to MAP.
QR code available at the event.
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 readings from The Otolith Group and responses from invited artists and writers in Scotland. These screenings from part of The Ignorant Art School Sit-in Curriculum #3.
Ashanti Harris is a multi-disciplinary artist, researcher and lecturer, working to disrupt historical narratives and reimagine them from a Caribbean diasporic perspective. Ashanti originally trained in sculpture and so, engaging with materials and physical making processes is an important part of her work. Alongside this, she is drawn to the expanded ways an artwork can be experienced and this has led her to work with performance, movement and dance as elements within her multidisciplinary art practice. She works with both sculpture and performance as processes which embody cultures, ancestral legacies and human lived experience, physically embodying histories, through the act of making.
Recent solo exhibitions and commissions include: Walking With The Ancestors in Joy and Healing, Performance Now Commission for Take Me Somewhere Festival, Glasgow (2023); A Carnival Of Overlapping Histories, Platform, Glasgow (2023); Black Gold, Fringe of Colour film festival, Edinburgh, (2023); Jerwood Staging Series 2022, Jerwood Arts, London (2022); Dancing a Peripheral Quadrille, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Edinburgh (2022). Ashanti is also co-founder of Project X Dance - platforming dance of the African and Caribbean diaspora in Scotland.
Sabrina Henry is a costume designer and curator based in Scotland whose practise uses research and collaboration, with artists of various disciplines, to connect pre-colonial traditions with the British experience as a way to re-imagine the future. Sabrina researches performance and ritual traditions of the Black Atlantic as a way to re-remember diasporic identity in a contemporary context. She is interested in dance and movement as a method of non-verbal communication that connects universally and how costume can be used as the supporting character in performance practises.
Sabrina's most recent costume work includes RESET (Alberta Whittle) for Freize and Wrapped up in This (Mele Broomes). Sabrina is also a curator at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow.
Mele Broomes is an artist and director whose work embodies stories from the collective voice, creating visceral and sensory collaborations. Her work GRIN was presented at Battersea Art Centre, London, alongside the film production which was also screened at Theatre Centre Canada and as part of Cultura Inglesa Festival in Brazil. In 2021 Mele was commissioned by Scottish Dance Theatre, where she created Amethyst, a theatre production and digital publication. Mele is co-founder of Project X Dance and was co-director (2017-2021), an organisation that champions dance and performance within the African and Caribbean Diaspora in Scotland. Mele is the director and founder of Body Remedy, a [forming] ecology that centres on physical practice for self-recovery for black people and people of colour.
Mele was the recipient of the Total Theatre Award for VOID, a collaboration with MHz in 2018. She has presented work at Take Me Somewhere, Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow; White Chapel Gallery, London; Daughter of Cups Festival, Isle of Mull; BUZZ CUT, Glasgow; London Contemporary Dance School; The Centre For The Less Good Idea, JJohannesburg; Dundee Rep Theatre; Festival del Silenzio, Milan; SPLAYED Festival, London; Fringe of Colour Films, Edinburgh; Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Traverse Theatre, Jupiter Art Land, Edinburgh; Dance International Glasgow; Tramway, Glasgow;Dance Base, Edinburgh; CONTACT, Manchester; and Black Gold Arts, Manchester.
Mele is one of the board of directors for Take Me Somewhere, mentor for Music Space artist development programme and various artists through her independent practice. Previously mentor for Dancers Emerging Bursary Scheme at Dance Base and Contemporary Performance Practice third years for their module Collaborations at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Glasgow based DJ, Plantainchipps is all about upbeat and fast-paced sounds. Music that uplifts and excites all those that listen to it. Her selection covers such genres as afrobeats, house and dancehall, however, she enjoys exploring other genres and adding them to her mix.
Plantainchipps has played a variety of gigs around Glasgow in venues that include The Berkley Suite, The Art School and Stereo, as well as supported such artists like Peach, Shygirl, Bonvaventure, Jamz Supernova and Lorraine James. She has always had an interest in music and the different genres that it includes and occasionally makes some of her own under the name Nwanneka.
Saoirse Amira Anis is a Dundee-based artist and curator whose practice prioritises radical care, informality and empathy. Saoirse’s work is informed primarily by Black queer literature, her personal ancestry, and her own body as it moves through the world. She considers the ways in which the body holds ancestral and lived memories – particularly in relation to feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Symphony For A Fraying Body, Dundee Contemporary Arts, 2023; Breach of a fraying body, performance for Art Night, Dundee, 2023; For No Other Reason Than Joy, Cample-line, Dumfries, 2022.
Marios Ento-Engkolo is a Glasgow-based dance artist, who is interested in storytelling and emotional expression through movement. Marios is half Greek and Half Cameroonian and was born and raised in Athens, Greece. His journey with movement started in 2017 and has become the primary medium of expression, connection and release ever since. Marios has worked with many artists and dance forms ranging from Street Dance, such as Hip-Hop and Afrobeats, to Contemporary and Experimental movement. Experimental dance and contemporary performance have become his main mediums, as they allow him to combine many different art forms and connect with what feels authentic. Marios has participated in various projects and programs, such as performing for the European Championships in 2018 with Ignite Theatre, Dance International Glasgow 2022 with the dance company Three60, in which he is a member. Lastly, he undertook the Dancers Emerging Bursary Scheme, where he was under the mentoring of Mele Broomes.
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.
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.
The gallery is on two floors. First floor has ramped access and disabled toilet.
Second floor is accessible via lift and for wheelchair access via a stairclimber. The screening will take place on the second floor.
Please email in advance if you require lift or stairclimber access so we can arrange support.
Large print versions of the exhibition information handout are available, please ask our Guides.
All enquiries please contact: email@example.com
The Otolith Group, INFINITY minus Infinity, 2019 (video still)
Courtesy the artist and LUX.
The Ignorant Art School at Cooper Gallery, DJCAD is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
Ashanti Harris and Sabrina Henry's response is supported with funds from the British Art Network.