southern panoramas | selected works

Videos, installations, performances, photographs, sound pieces, and sculptures provide a panorama of the worldviews and issues that currently mobilize artists from various parts of the geopolitical South. Selected through an open call for entries, they outline either a crisis scenario where pressing political and social issues require addressing, a post-utopian environment beyond human presence, or the possibilities for a new engagement of the subject in the world.

Statement

In view of significant global changes that point to a shift in power dynamics from North to South and West to East, as purportedly outlying countries amass political power, and economic collapse threatens traditionally hegemonic areas, to what extent does it still make sense to speak of a geopolitical South?

Without corresponding to an easily identifiable set of political, social, historical, and economic situations, the global South reaffirms itself as an imagined territory, where attempts are being made to produce discourses about our world that do not involve the hegemonic modalities associated with the West.

Within the contemporary art context, countries in this symbolic axis are habitually absent from the encompassing narratives that are considered to underlie current art practices. The circulation of the counter-narratives they produce is met with historical resistance.

The selection featured here points to questions that animate and fuel art production in the South today. The selected works outline three broad scenarios. The first one could be defined through the growing idea of crisis. Addressing political and social issues—predominantly manifested in the subject’s condition and his or her relationship with the other—becomes a pressing need.

Other pieces explore a post-utopian environment that lies beyond human presence. The subject is absent or objectified, the landscapes are bleak, and the relationship with time is ambiguous. Historical narratives juxtapose into oft-indistinct layers.

A third set heralds the possibilities for a new engagement of the subject in the world. Several pieces address the man-nature connection or nature as a big system of power. Here, the artist operates performatively, presenting him or herself as an agent of this interweaving.

Amid artworks in different materials and media, video and film appear as relevant devices in number and quality of propositions. Producing image, in motion or otherwise, installed in the exhibition venue or presented as an immersive cinematic experience, remains a key strategy in our time and region.