O Horizon
O Horizon (2018)
4k video, color
90 minutes

Commissioned by Bauhaus Imaginista and co-produced with the Rubin Museum, with kind support of Project 88
Researched, filmed, and recorded on Visva-Bharati campus at Santiniketan, Sriniketan and surrounding areas of Birbhum, West Bengal, O Horizon stages moments from Rabindranath Tagore’s extensive environmental pedagogy as a series of portraits, moods, studies, and sketches that allude to what might be described as the outlines of a “Tagorean cosmopolitics.” The film begins with recital of a question posed in one of Tagore’s poems of what has transpired “today in a hundred years,” revealing the future– radical and monumental cultural achievements along with extensive environmental degradation – of Tagore’s interventions into this region after a long century.
The title refers to the surface layer of soil, changed in the area around Santiniketan as the result of Tagore’s introduction of new flora in development of the campus. In studying this trajectory, the film extends The Otolith Group’s ongoing consideration of the Anthropocene, a premise that denotes that the current geological age is one wherein human activity spurs the primary changes on climate and the environment. With O Horizon, The Otolith Group also proposes that Tagore’s project maps onto the notion of terraforming—a term originating in science fiction and now more widely used—whereby a party (typically but not always an interloper) reshapes the atmosphere of a place for their own needs.
O Horizon reflects upon modernist theories of dance and song developed by Tagore and the experimental practices of mural, sculpture, painting, and drawing developed by India’s great modernist artists affiliated with Santiniketan: K.G. Subramanyan, Benode Behari Mukherjee, Nandalal Bose and Ramkinkar Baij. O Horizon draws together visual arts, dance, song, music, and recital to assemble a structure of feeling of the Tagorean imagination in the 21st Century.

Posted on: 05/11/2018
Nucleus of the Great Union (2017) HD Video, 32.30 mins Colour/ Sound
The Nucleus of the Great Union

Exhibition : Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War

Commissioned by Haus Der Kulturen De Welt, Berlin

2017, Nov 03 — 2018, Jan 08

In the Summer of 1953, Richard Wright, the most renowned African-American novelist in the world, travelled to the African continent for the first time. For ten weeks, Wright travelled throughout the Gold Coast, where he witnessed Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party, West Africa’s first mass socialist party, as it campaigned for independence from British rule. In 1954, Wright published Black Power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos, a text whose conceptual restlessness registered his existential alienation from the Gold Coast and challenged readers expecting a comforting ode to the consolations of racial belonging. Generations of intellectuals have journeyed from the United States to the new nation state of Ghana ever since; each of them compelled to confront the discomforting questions Wright asked of himself.

Despite the critical attention devoted to Black Power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos, few of its readers realized that Wright shot over 1,500 photographs with his own professional grade camera on his journey throughout the Gold Coast. Wright intended Black Power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos to be an ambitious photo-text in which images shared equal space with text. Wright’s publishers Harpers refused to publish the book with his carefully selected and captioned images. The negatives and paper prints of this still unseen photographic archive are now housed in the Special Collections at the Beinecke Library in Yale University; several hundred have recently been digitized.

The project provisionally entitled Through the Camera Sight returns to this archive to compose new links between its unseen images and its historical text in order to reconfigure both. By treating Wright as the photographic modernist he was, Black Power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos is reimagined as an aesthetic of espionage assembled from still images and floating captions. The unease and the disquiet experienced by Wright in Ghana is reciprocated by the distrust and the distance of the CPP’s Pan-African Socialists. In a Global Cold War, the watchful eyes and the sullen stares, the unspoken suspicions and the undeclared affiliation speak of the tension and the trepidation of political transfer from the British empire to the Gold Coast colony to Ghana the postcolony.

Posted on: 13/11/2017
The Third Part of The Third Measure
The Third Part of the Third Measure (2017), a new audiovisual composition commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and SB13, creates an encounter with the militant minimalism of avant-garde composer, pianist and vocalist Julius Eastman. The Third Part of the Third Measure focuses on what The Otolith Group describe as ‘an experience of watching in the key of listening’, invoking political feelings of defiance and the collective practice of movement building that participates in the global struggles against neoreactionary authoritarianism. The Third Part of the Third Measure invites viewers to attend to exemplary ecstatic aesthetics of black radicalism that Eastman himself once described as ‘full of honour, integrity and boundless courage’.

Posted on: 03/02/2017
In The Year of The Quiet Sun
Bergen Kunsthall opens the spring season with In the Year of the Quiet Sun the first major exhibition by The Otolith Group in the Nordic region
Opening: 17 January until 9th March 2014
Curated by Martin Clark and Steinar Sekkingstad

The Otolith Groups first exhibition in Norway, In the Year of the Quiet Sun configures moments from the grand project of mid-20th Century Pan-Africanism, envisaged as the total liberation of the African continent from Europes Empires, through the media of animation, video, interior decor, display-system, reading room and publication.

Posted on: 01/01/2015
Medium Earth REDCAT Los Angeles
Part prequel and part premonition, Medium Earth is a work caught within its own imminent future. A notebook film that initiates a new cycle of production by London-based artists The Otolith Group, Medium Earth represents the outgrowth of research undertaken throughout California in advance of a larger project. Conceived as notes toward the making of a future film, Medium Earth attunes itself to the seismic psyche of the state of California. It listens to its deserts, translates the writing of its stones, and deciphers the calligraphies of its expansion cracks. Commissioned by REDCAT and complimented by a series of public programs on the geopoetic practices of prediction and premonition, it is the first work produced by The Otolith Group within an American context.

Posted on: 01/01/2014