• frame of In the Year of the Quiet Sun (2013), by The Otolith Group

    frame of In the Year of the Quiet Sun (2013), by The Otolith Group

Collections, archives, databanks

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posted on 02/02/2015
The Otolith Group and the appropriation and resignification of documents. The duo, whose artwork is in the Videobrasil Collection, has collaborated for Caderno Sesc_Videobrasil 10

The Otolith Group, composed of Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun, is featured in Caderno Sesc_Videobrasil 10: Uses of Memory, edited by the curator Elvira Dyangani Ose. The duo’s contribution is the artistic proposition “Narciso de uniforme” (Narcissus in uniform), an analysis of postage stamps issued in 1960s Africa, in search of narratives of solidarity and emancipation, deceit and utopia in the African continent. According to The Otolith Group, such stamps “ignored the instability of Africa’s new independent states.”

Archives and databanks are also the foundation for the video Otolith, a depiction of a grim future where a mutant archaeologist pores over archives from the 20th and 21st centuries. The piece has been in the Videobrasil Collection since 2005, when it was featured in the 15th Festival’s Southern Panoramas show. On that occasion, Anjalika Sagar was a speaker for the debate cycle "The Databank as a Possibility for the Accumulative Construction of Ideas and Artworks," alongside the artists Akram Zaatari, Giselle Beiguelman, and Pablo Romano. The conversation revolved around how image and information collections serve artists who work by appropriating and resignifying said contents, and around artists who focus on creating new archives. Other topics included copyrights issues and the parameters that determine the ownership and rights to images and texts.

In 2010, The Otolith Group was nominated for the Turner Prize, Britain’s premier visual arts award. Exploring the legacies and potentialities of liberation struggles, tricontinentalism, future scenarios, and science fiction, The Otolith Group has exhibited at the dOCUMENTA (13) (Kassel, Germany), the 29th São Paulo Art Biennial (Brazil), Tate Britain and Tate Modern (both in London, United Kingdom) and the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, Holland).