Taxidermy of The Future Project Screening & Talk
Saturday 30 October 12–2pm CEST | Sala Azcona, Cineteca
Taxidermy of the Future is a project curated by Bruno Leitão and Paula Nascimento bringing together works by three multimedia artists, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Grada Kilomba and Mónica de Miranda that dissect persistent spectres in both European and African societies, from Greco-Latin mythology to the postcolonial era. After the screening this event will feature a conversation with Co-Curator of the project Bruno Leitão and Elvira Dyangani Ose followed by Q&A.
Blurring the lines between history and fiction, memory and fantasy, these works are a living testimony of the narrative vitality of contemporary expression. The project also has its foundation as an exchange of references between the two curators, and the artists whose work has been essential in their research. Taxidermy of the Future was first shown as a film programme at the 6th edition of the Lubumbashi Biennale Future Genealogies, Tales From The Equatorial Line (2019) and then expanded into an exhibition shown at the National Museum of Natural History, Luanda (2020).
The Contra la Raza [Against Race] exhibition evokes futuristic imaginaries expressed through poetics of the Black experience, generating new forms of global and egalitarian humanism. This live programme invites you to meet some of the artists participating in the project. This proposal, curated by Katherine Finerty in collaboration with Raúl Muñoz de la Vega, takes as its departure point the exhibition curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose and The Showroom, London for the last edition PHotoEspaña. Join us to take part in a programme including screenings, conversations and performances, and revisit the exhibition in Nave 0 which will stay open until the end of November.
Contra la Raza [Against Race] questions how imagery in audiovisual formats communicates from a global Black and Pan-Africanist perspective. Inspired by the eponymous book by British historian Paul Gilroy, Against Race: Imagining Political Culture Beyond the Color Line (2000), the live programme of events will address the fundamental role played by decolonial and anti-racist movements in the historical and contemporary fight for human rights, appealing to our collective consciousness to advocate for the establishment of a new planetary humanism.
Above Image: Grada Kilomba, Illusions Vol 1, Narcissus and Echo, 2017. Courtesy of the artist
Taxidermy of the Future is sponsored by FAS – For Arts Sake. This screening and conversation event is possible because of their generous support.
This live programme accompanies the project Contra la Raza [Against Race] at Matadero Madrid 3 June - 28 November 2021, originally part of the framework of PHotoESPAÑA 2021 proposed by Guest Curator Elvira Dyangani Ose. This multidisciplinary initiative incorporates a video-based installation and live programme appealing to our collective consciousness to advocate for the establishment of a new planetary humanism.
Matadero’s dark, soaring Nave 0 hosts a multimedia installation of Relic Traveller by Larry Achiampong, alongside a group screening of audiovisual works by artists including Ramone Anderson, Rubén H. Bermúdez, Sally Fenoux Barleycorn, Amartey Golding, Jérôme Havre, Julianknxx, Katia Kameli, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Grada Kilomba, Mónica de Miranda, Nástio Mosquito, Paulo Nazareth, Heidi Ramírez, Sara Sadik, Berni Searle, Cauleen Smith, Camille Turner and Belinda Zhawi.
3 June - 28 November 2021
Tuesday - Thursday, 5-9pm
Friday - Sunday and public holidays, 12 noon-9pm
Centro de Creación Contemporánea
Plaza de Legazpi, 8
Beauty, Mónica de Miranda, Portugal, 2020, 8’, DCP
The city of Kinshasa and its liberation architectural spaces are embodied through a journey by a woman who walks alone through the ghosted spaces of history. The spaces represented in the film build on heritage built before and after the wars of independence to signal the appropriation and resignification of power dogmas and canons of beauty and Hellenistic aesthetics through the presence and the protagonist of the black woman. Absent from the history books and official narratives, their constant presence in the city here becomes a monument body. She also embodies the representation of duality and otherness in a game of similarities and differences in natural and architectural environments, where ruin and resilience project us into a terrain of social reinvention. A protagonist in this film is the Tour de l’Échanger, a tower in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was once one of the tallest in Africa at the time of its construction (1970 - 1974), designed by Franco-Tunisian architect Olivier-Clément Cacoub at the request of dictator Mobutu as a tribute to Patrice Emery Lumumba, the leading leader in the struggle against Belgian colonial domination. Monuments are erected to fix symbols, to enhance the memory of events and characters that made history from the perspective of power. They are made in a solid way to convey the immutability of glory and make these narratives last for generations. Buildings are also monuments erected to embody worldviews and to organize our way of being and apprehending time and space. Beauty suggests another category: the body-monument.
Havemos de Voltar [Debemos volver], Kiluanji Kia Henda, Angola, 2017, 17’, DCP
The short film Havemos de Voltar (We Shall Return), takes its title from a poem by Agostinho Neto. The poem defends that in order for Africans to be effectively independent they should rescue all cultural heritage from the pre-colonial period. Related to this, the short film narrates the saga of a stuffed giant sable antelope in an archive center whose soul is still lingering; or is it stuffed too? The antelope rejects its role as a historical artefact and decides to return to its glorious past. But the only memory she has of the forest, that supposedly is her home, is a museum of natural history. It achieves an impossible return, knowing that its memories have also been stuffed and exhibited in display cases. However, there is no real past here, nor a pure exterior. Nature becomes a trompe l’oeil seen through the anamorphic lenses polished by culture.
Illusions: Vol 1. Narcissus and Echo [Ilusiones: Vol 1. Narciso y Eco], Grada Kilomba, Portugal, 2017, 31’, DCP
This piece is the first of a trilogy, in which the artist uses the African oral tradition of storytelling combined with film, choreography and music, to illuminate the tensions of a post- colonial era. The first volume, commissioned by the 32. Bienal de São Paulo (2016), is dedicated to invisibility and the politics of misrepresentation, to which Kilomba staged the myths of Narcissus and Echo. In the eyes of the artist, Narcissus becomes a metaphor for a society which has not resolved its colonial history, and takes itself and its own image as the only objects of love. Kilomba questions, how do we break out of this colonial and patriarchal mould? To explore this coexistence of times, Kilomba stages the myths of Narcissus and Echo anew. Using strong elements of theatre, choreography, performance, music and storytelling, Kilomba plays with the illusion of a two layered scenario, creating a silent film in which the characters move inside a white infinity, while the artist, outside and surrounded by an installation of microphones, gives voice to the images and becomes a contemporary female ‘Griot’ - who symbolically interrupts the white cube with postcolonial urgencies. This piece was awarded by the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2018), and reconfigured as a single-channel film, for screenings.
Bruno Leitão is an independent curator who lives between Madrid and Lisbon. He co-founded and was the curatorial director of the HANGAR, Centre for Artistic Research in Lisbon since 2015. He has curated and programmed exhibitions, talks, and seminars with artists such as Luis Camnitzer, Coco Fusco, Carlos Amorales, The Otolith Group, John Akomfrah, Rosa Barba, João Onofre, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Elena Bajo, João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, Alfredo Jaar, Fernanda Fragateiro and Zineb Sedira, among others. As an independent curator, he curated Pouco a Pouco, the first solo exhibition by Ângela Ferreira in Spain at the CGAC (Santiago de Compostela, 2019); Affective Utopia at Kadist Foundation (Paris, 2019) with artists Sammy Baloji & Filip De Boeck, Luis Camnitzer, Angela Ferreira, Alfredo Jaar, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Grada Kilomba, Reynier Leyva Novo, and Paulo Nazaret; A Ilha de Vénus by Kiluanji Kia Henda in Hangar (Lisbon, 2018); Cubismo Ideológico by Carlos Amorales at Hangar (Lisbon, 2017), among other projects.
Elvira Dyangani Ose is the newly appointed Director at MACBA Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and has been the Director and Chief Curator of The Showroom, London for the past three years. She is currently affiliated to the Thought Council at the Fondazione Prada. Until September 2021, she was lecturer at the the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths and previously served as Creative Time Senior Curator, where she curated among other projects the 11th edition of their Summit. She was this year's guest curator of PhotoEspaña, Spain’s major Festival of Photography and Visual Arts.
Dyangani Ose was Curator of the eighth edition of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary art, (GIBCA 2015) and Curator International Art at Tate Modern (2011–2014). She has published and lectured on modern and contemporary African art and has contributed to art journals such as Nka and Atlántica. She studied a Doctoral Degree in History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University, New York; has a MAS in Theory and History of Architecture from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona; and a BA in Art History from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.