Asuf Ishaq   

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Not Quite Alive
(2018/19) at Goldsmiths
Sculpture, installation, CGI, moving image, sound

Exhibited at:
Articles of Home, Reid Gallery, Glasgow 2023
MFA Interim Exhibition 2019, Goldsmiths, London. Film and sculptural installations exhibited

The film begins with a translucent head rising from the soil, comprehending its own corporeality and surveying its surroundings, perhaps an alien life form dropped into the woodland, or a terrestrial being exhumed from the soil. In this landscape, things and sounds are disorientated, inverted and displaced. The movement of the trees above appears unfamiliar and cybernated, and the psithurism is electronic

Represents the silenced objects or things in the racial imaginary in which people are reduced to the non-human, and classed as lesser species, in another words closer to ‘nature’. He incorporates land and soil, recognizing its symbolic significance as both a beginning and an endpoint, a transtemporal portal, an archive of migration.

For Foucault, the body is a static conduit for biopower, but perhaps here it is also more active. Maybe the transhuman body in Not Quite Alive is a mediator, a translator, a prosthetic mouthpiece for the archival, passive yet omniscient soil and the legacies of colonialism carved into it. Its testimony, a detuned, ambiguous voice, recites lines from Sun Ra’s The Satellites Are Spinning: ‘The satellites are spinning / A new day is dawning / The galaxies are waiting / For planet Earth’s awakening.’ (Sun Ra, 2020). Satellites must spin to remain stable in relation to the rotation of the Earth. They must be dynamic and evolving but outwardly appear constant. (Text by curator Christy O'Beirne)

Articles of Home, Reid Gallery, Glasgow 2023