An image is an event in and of itself; a moment of reflection, of recognition, of memory. The images assembled here between the years 2021/2022 on THE NEW INSTITUTE’s website are the first curatorial approach of turning a website into a platform for artworks actively demanding planetary rights for a global society, exploring questions of humanity, transgression, gender and new forms of coexistence. These artworks might surprise you, as they do more than illustrate an idea or a set of values: artworks foresee possible worlds ahead of us.
Based on a selection by curator Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung for our 2nd Paper Edition, Antonia Lagemann and I reflected on further artworks that pursue Hope. As Ndikung puts it, Hope is “a combination of four things: fate, faith, love and an incredible desire to survive”, advancing the process of rehumanisation. The artists – Akinbode Akinbiyi, Jota Mombaça, Kiri Dalena, Raisa Galofre, Paul Kolling, Lin May Saeed and Sim Chi Yin – all share the strength of activists out in the world, connecting to the willingness of THE NEW INSTITUTE: to dismantle the causes of global, environmental and societal problems, and at the same time, to collectively believe in a more solidary future. Through the arts we see what it means to act towards the current political and ecological urgencies, as the arts have always condensed in its multiple forms, an overarching concern: how social justice might be. And that goes beyond Utopia.
Akinbode Akinbiyi presents what he calls “instant images”, photographs of scenes on streets and passageways, thereby slowly assembling the daily habits of humans, lived rhythms and social textures of places. Jota Mombaça shows queer bodies anew, questioning social and material conventions and liberating them from a history of opression.
Kiri Dalena puts devastating catastrophes in the center of the viewer’s attention; a poetic awakening through film transcends climate concerns and social struggles. Paul Kolling reveals the fragility of the silk road by integrating it in the landscapes that reveal the compromised structures of economic processes: borders, rethorics, technologies.
Raisa Galofre swings her camera along the rituals of the Daughters of the Muntu, makes a series around them and the Pluriverse, bringing ancestral energies into our eyes today, while Sim Chi Yin and Lin May Saeed open up the horizons from ports of the world, asking themselves questions for which everyone would like to have an answer: What holds us together, in this world? Is there an interspecies storytelling for planetary rights? Which are the stories we need to hear, in times of global depletion?
These artworks might surprise you, as they do more than illustrate an idea or a set of values: artworks foresee possible worlds ahead of us.
To assume that research is enough for change would be to ignore the everyday struggle people go through in this world. We choose artworks to have a glimpse of what affects global society as such. By recurrently gathering curated groups of artworks, and putting them in dialogue with the fellowship programs at THE NEW INSTITUTE, we showcase the multiple repercussions of people’s pursuit for social and environmental justice and through it, wellbeing.