29th September - 13th November 2016
Thandi Loewenson - Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo - Jade Montserrat - Emily Mulenga
How can one create a future, in the present, without the constraints of histories? Better yet, how can we imagine a future that it is not defined by the terms of a dominant narrative now or in the past?
Taking its title from a song on Frank Ocean’s 2016 Blonde album, Futura Free: A Sensing is the second exhibition in our Possible Futures Programme which reappraises the work of the gallery since 1988 to consider how we might move forward. Curated by agency for agency, the exhibition features work by four emerging artists Thandi Loewenson, Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo, Jade Montserrat and Emily Mulenga. Ocean’s lyrics present an allegory of defiance. A personal ode to a self defined possible future. The work in this exhibition reflects a similar desire by the artists to resist the given order of things with actions and propositions to define their selves and their worlds.
Emily Mulenga places herself centre stage in her digital creations. Inspired by gaming culture and on-line conversations about beauty and the black female body, Mulenga advocates for a type of resistance, which can be enacted on a daily basis. Jade Montserrat's The Rainbow Tribe: An Affectionate Movement, videos and photographs are inspired by Josephine Baker’s adopted family and lifestyle as a way to rethink ‘utopia’ as created in learning, nature and culture from a historical fictional perspective.
Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo's grio(r)/(t) is an audio film installation, that introduces the role of the griot in a technological future to unearth lost and disregarded accounts in history objects and spaces, questioning the practice of audio extraction to raise resistance in the debate between “fact” and “truth”. Thandi Loewenson's Spooky Action at a Distance brings her research from one city space of urban speculation, Lusaka, Zambia to Brixton, London, Loewenson, will create an evolving drawing that explores the ‘the city’ as a site of wastes, which paradoxically, through resourceful waste management hints at a possible future which may emerge, and in doing so reject, the harmful cycles of extraction.
Although the title of this exhibition is inspired by the Ocean song, it must also be mentioned that Futura is a popular font, designed in the 1920’s by Paul Renner. The intent behind its design was to reflect the creation of new models not revive historical ones, as such making a proposition for designs that project forward thinking.
This exhibition begins to explore possible futures as they are imagined by the four artists in relation to the past and the present. The subtle sensing of each artists project is an attempt at a kind of making sense of things, which is tied to their historical, social and political positions in the world. A world where their presence in the present is determined by colonial legacies, migrations, distant connections, spatial negotiations, expressions of belonging and the defining of place. Bringing with them the knowledges contained in their bodies personal, social and historic experiences Lowenson, Lutterodt-Quarcoo, Montserrat and Mulenga, are working through imagined futures using the tools of the present to reflect or contrast supposed grander narratives.
Exhibition artists Thandi Loewenson and Christopher Lutterodt Quarcoo will speak with musician and architect Gianmaria Givanni about their work and the pieces they are showing in the exhibition.
Both Lowenson and Lutterodt- Quarcoo's pieces in the exhibition consider the possibility of the archive as what's there, in the form of the waste dumped or left in the streets of Lusaka or language as in oral tradition of the Griot. Both make propositions for what might be retrieved, proposed and what might happen in the future, to the city or to the unmaterialised histories.
Although pieces are being shown in a gallery setting both Lowenson and Lutterodt- Quarcoo's work begin from the premise of design solutions as they both come from design backgrounds, Lowenson's being architecture and Lutterodt- Quarcoo interactive design. This talk will not only explore the the parallel themes in their work but also the way that their creative approach to design solutions intersects with other creative practices to broaden the scope of the kinds of conversations they can have with clients, commissioners and the public.
Thandi Lowenson is a space maker, writer and freelance venture futurist. She is currently a PhD candidate at The Bartlett School of Architecture, where she also received her MA with distinction.
Christopher Lutterodt - Quarcoo is a graduate of The Royal College of Art, holding and MA in Design Interactions. He is a designer, director, writer who's research based practice explores intricate narratives, lost and unusual accounts, to reconsider histories and contemporary global relationships.
Gianmaria Givanni is the founder of Studio Givanni, a London based design practice, that works of a variety of design projects from urban design interventions to multimedia installations and print graphics in the U.K. and abroad. Studio Givanni aims to bridge the gap between architectural practice and media production by cross referencing techniques, narratives and compositions from both disciplines.
Possible Futures is supported by a Grants for the Arts Award from The Arts Council of England
Image: Field Notes- Mtendere- Thandi Loewenson
Gender Resistance in Utopia
Experiencing Evidence, Readings and Visions
Exhibition artists Jade Montserrat and Emily Mulenga will speak with artist Jamila Johnson Small about their practice.
Mulenga’s installation explores contemporary digital living and utopic spaces of online existence. MulengaMoji: Healing Crisis features an avatar of Mulenga in various familiar scenarios some fantastical and others of everyday life. The avatar of Mulenga dances, entertains, relaxes she is a female existing in a variety of landscapes and spaces that have the potential to be part of real life.
Jade Monteserrat’s installation features work from her on-going research and art making titled The Rainbow Tribe. The Rainbow Tribe is inspired by Josephine Baker’s own ‘rainbow tribe’ of children, which she displayed as a utopic living family. Montserrat at the centre of her work is the female protagonist acting and doing in order to challenge the standing order of things and to explore places of healing for a future existence.
Left Emily Mulenga. Untitled. 2016
Right Jade Monserrat, Still image from film Clay made with Webb-Ellis. 2015