Shadi Habib Allah, George Awde, Carolina Fusilier, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Hiwa K, Nicholas Mangan, Sean Raspet and Nonfood, Susan Schuppli, Daniel R. Small and Hong-Kai Wang.
They for sure take risks with their work, but at the same time we also chose artists who come to their forms and materials through rigorously considered ways of depicting their subject matter.
– Ruba Katrib and Lawrence Abu Hamdan (email interview 1 May 2018)
The evidence that artworks can produce forms the central thesis for the exhibition, 74 million million million tons and is curated by Ruba Katrib (Curator, MoMA PS1) and Lawrence Abu Hamdan (artist and audio investigator). Katrib and Abu Hamden have been in dialogue for several years on issues pertaining to art and politics, so it seemed logical to bring this conversation into an exhibition that attempts to create a framework whose practices they found were distinct and wanted to bring them together in an open-ended and experimental process.
The curators were interested in artists who take on considerable risks by putting themselves on the line in order to look, probe and question ‘official’ narratives put forward by corporate and governmental industries by ‘producing specific knowledge and corroborative objects around unmapped historical and political events.’ This resulted in a diverse selection of artworks including documentation of the 2010 Deep Water Horizon spill by Susan Schuppli with Slick Images and Nature Represents Itself, 2018, to the legal thresholds around the new realm of virtual reality pornography explored by Sidsel Meineche Hansen’s with EVA v3.0: No right way 2 cum (Oculus Rift), 2015. Whilst works by Shadi Habib Allah (Did you see me this time, with your own eyes?, 2018), Hiwa K (A View from Above, 2017) and George Awde (Public Shadows, 2017) all investigate dark networks, off-grid relations and coded strategies for resisting state power. All of these artists find ways to document the stories of marginal communities while at the same time working on formal strategies to encrypt and encode their subjects.
74 million million million gives an insight into the level of risk-taking and uncompromising processes artists undertake to create works that not only prevent art from becoming stagnant on the one hand, but on the other, feeds a creative spirit that is not driven by fear of repercussion. By rejecting indoctrination and operating ‘inside delays, silent pauses, sensory impairments, and omissions’ the exhibition presents a new perspective and hopefully, new sources of knowledge that oppose what has been handed down and left largely unquestioned.
74 million million million tons is on view at SculptureCenter, New York through July 30, 2018