Venue: P!, New York
Exhibition Title: Post-Speculation, Act I
Date: September 1 – September 12, 2014
Full gallery of video, images, press release and link available after the jump.
HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, appropriated version of The Wayblack Machine, 2014, 24-channel video installation with sound, 122 mins
Images and video courtesy of P!, New York
Post-Speculation begins where Speculation, Now ends: as a postscript, a footnote, an addendum, and a reflection of a book that does not yet exist. In an age of geopolitical upheaval, unstable financial markets, environmental uncertainty, and distributed artistic production, Post-Speculation explores the fringe, the edge, and the double-bind of this broad topic.
“Speculation” is often associated with financial markets and defined as measuring investment risk against future returns. At the same time and in its original usage, “speculation” is the creative leap of looking both beyond and within the known in order to imagine something unexpected. In this context, speculation is a framework for action and thought that can be constructive in a historic moment of radical change and uncertainty. Ironically, the concrete environment of the exhibition setting provides the foil to engage in such provocative questioning.
The exhibition begins with Post-Speculation, Act I. For twelve days, the art collective HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? will occupy P! in order to launch thewayblackmachine.net (2014), an internet archive of activism around black embodiment inspired by The Wayback Machine (web.archive.org). Addressing contemporary conditions such as police brutality, American-funded international violence, and the ways that memes and hashtags collapse and make legible such threats to personhood, the collective’s conceptual and spatial intervention uses the gallery itself as a medium that extends onto the street. Designed by A(n) Office with HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, Act I will feature multiple screens, projections, black walls, and void space. Through performances and architectural maquettes, multiple operations are modeled on and for the House Opera | Opera House, a found/acquired house in Detroit that places art at the center of the community and offers community members a space to create.
This implicit merging of closeness and distance, reality and story, sets the stage for Post-Speculation, Act II, a group exhibition building upon the conditions left by Act I. The exhibition opens with Sarah Oppenheimer’s reactivation of her 2012 façade instal- lation at P!, C-010100. Like other aspects of the show, Oppenheimer’s work plays on the reversal of temporal sequence, restoring the gallery windows to a mirrored condition from two years ago. Similarly, Josiah McElheny continues his series of “collaborations with dead artists” that result in temporary and site-specific works. For Act II, he speculates on how Blinky Palermo (1943–1977) might restage one of his monotonal murals in the New York gallery space, responding to both the physical environment and other artworks. Peruvian-born, Berlin-based artist Gabriel Acevedo Velarde presents Ciudadano Paranormal (2013), featuring video interviews with state employees regarding their encounters with the “ghosts” of government institutions. The video is accompanied by fantastical drawings that reflect on the Modernist architecture where these encounters have allegedly occurred. With a sensitivity keenly attuned to translating the ever-shifting present, Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Synthia (2000–2002) uses real-time financial data to control the movements and mood of a fictional female character as she wanders the city. European art and design collective Åbäke presents a series of photograms and glass cubes produced in collaboration with Finnish glass-blowing icon Oiva Toikka. The resulting series, A History of the World (2014), abstractly represents events spanning the history of the universe, from the Big Bang to Heat Death. The photographs from Amie Siegel’s Black Moon / Hole Punches (2010) series trace parallel time within post-apocalyptic science fiction and the 2008 economic recession and housing crash. At an accompanying event in October, Siegel will screen her short film Black Moon (2010) at The New School in conversation with the exhibition curators. Finally, Walid Raad presents Section 88: Act XXII_Views from Inner to outer compartments (2010), which is part of the project Scratching on things I could disavow. Shown for the first time in New York, these floor-to-ceiling photographic strips hide miniature architectural details that become literal and metaphorical thresholds to access new spaces and experiences. Through this combination of site-specific instal- lations, real-time explorations, and otherworldly dimensions, the exhibition itself becomes a speculative playing field for the interactions of objects and ideas.
Post-Speculation precedes the launch of Speculation, Now, a comprehensive consideration of the speculative in disciplines ranging from art to anthropology, history, and science. The book is published by Duke University Press, in association with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, and designed by Project Projects, with an anticipated book launch in early November 2014.
A proposition rather than a statement, Post-Speculation also inaugurates Parallel Systems 2014–2015, a yearlong series of exhibitions and events at P! focused on the embedded structures of thought, belief, and action that shadow our commonly-held rational systems.