Another end of the world is possible
Julieta Aranda, Elizabeth Povinelli / Karrabing Film Collective
On May 25, 2022 (from 6pm to 9pm), Prometeo Gallery Ida Pisani - via Ventura 6, will inaugurate Julieta Aranda, Elizabeth Povinelli / Karrabing Film Collective’s exhibition Another end of the world is possible, with a critical text by Chus Martínez.
Through a narrative designed to keep us inside the problem - to quote Donna Haraway - the exhibition explores the work of Julieta Aranda, Elizabeth Povinelli and Karrabing Film Collective. In Another end of the world is possible, Julieta Aranda (Mexico City, 1975) departs from and entangles her work with the work of Elizabeth Povinelli (Buffalo, 1962), a thinker and a friend of hers, anthropologist and artist supporting and voicing an anthropology of the otherwise, and Povinelli’s colleagues in the Karrabing Film Collective. Julieta and Elizabeth engage in a study of time’s infatuation with creating an image of its own indexicality - starting with Aranda’s camera obscure sand-timers that flow upwards, like Earth itself seeing as a watch!
Povinelli explores the sedimentations, compressions and incommensurabilities of memories, bodies, referentiality as social worlds moved and shoved into the infrastructures of colonial and racial time. With a selection of original drawings and new compositions from her graphic essay, The Inheritance (Duke, 2021), and a haunting film remix of the same with her collaborator, Thomas Bartlett, Povinelli tracks the deformations of meaning in the stories of her Trentino grandparents and how they decompose as they move into the racial and colonial spaces and of the US, where liberal progressive time turns them into debris fields of shattered incommensurate embodiments, and layered compressed sound tracks.
In The Family and the Zombie (Karrabing Film Collective) follows a group of future ancestors living within the remains of the current ecological crisis. Alternating between contemporary time in which Karrabing members struggle to maintain their physical, ethical and ceremonial connections to their remote ancestral lands and a future populated by ancestral beings living in the aftermath of toxic capitalism and white zombies, The Family and the Zombie rejects colonial clockwork in which the past is buried on the relentless domination of the future. It asks viewers to reflect on the practices of the present as the material debris on which multiple ancestral futures will be walked.
The experience of the collapse of human imperial time at its very terrestrial border, has been the subject of many of Julieta Aranda’s works, starting with “You had no ninth of May!” in 2009, and continuing through today with the film and photograms “If you tell the story well, it will not have been a comedy”, and her series of images and objects “Another end of the world is possible”, which gives name to this exhibition. This continuous exercise of detailing a case that particularly embodies power and its absurdities, together with the creation of pieces - knots - made from the remnants of ghost nets that have been spat out as flotsam by the sea, and that the artist has collected over the past decade, present dynamic and simple ways of moving away from this gritty realism. For her series “The knot is not the rope”, the knots and broken pieces of rope are seen by Aranda as calligraphic propositions, presented as “written” articulations of their own failure, in a language that is not quite readable, perhaps because of our own limitations as readers, or because of the limitations of language itself.
Yet another way in which Aranda looks at time is through her interest in the intergenerational cycles of life. Images of bones, processes of decomposition and skeletal remains are fundamental in her practice, as a way to address both notions of infrastructure, and the technologies of life supporting other ideas of time, other -future- lives. Bones serve as a fertile platform, introducing matter after the more formal and conceptual languages of photography and film. Objects argue in their own and subtle way with time reminding us of the multiple orthodoxies that biology - our own time determinations - but also space impose on us.
The works displayed, made the minds wander as if it was performing camera movements and co-creating with us, with our presences and imaginations, an overly communal and almost choreographic collective composition able to produce counter-narratives, otherwise-dreams of those from the Modern time machines. We become then a new generation. We trespass a “line” and something long submerged reappears: the millions of vernacular and indigenous cultures of duration and life.