Khoj x TBA21 on St_age The Aerosol Chronicles Capture Omlojan
Khoj collaborated with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) to curate two projects that engage with the idea of air and toxicity to be showcased on their digital platform.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) is a leading international art and advocacy foundation created in 2002 by the philanthropist and collector Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza.
About this edition
The Aerosol Chronicles Capture Omlojan is a six-part sequential exploration with sound, voice, and moving images. Conceptualized in the wake of auto-generated toxicities that swarm in the air, this artwork attempts to spend some time with the question of being in common with ‘our’ atmosphere. It is also an exploration in not forgetting that there exist radically different ways of breathing not all of which are bound to oxygen.
The work begins with the realization that through the deep time of planetary history, earth’s atmosphere hasn’t always been so abundantly oxygenated. It then attempts to place this relatively short history of atmospheric oxygen with the rather limited range of mostly oxygen-dependent life forms that humans gather under the umbrella of a presumed multi-species collectivity. But what if this gathering wasn’t so limited and so oxygen centered? What if it became much more expanded? If all the diverse bodies in this broader gathering understood toxicity differently and respired differently, then perhaps those differences would splinter the stable materiality of air itself.
The Aerosol Chronicles Capture Omlojan tries to speculate what kinds of worlds would emerge when air itself becomes unstable. What happens when air can no longer be assumed to be implicitly equated with oxygen? In the process of this speculation, this artwork also takes a detour through the policed enclosures of colonial forests in South Asia and those incendiary events that appeared to interrupt the disciplinary regime of accumulation. Perhaps it is a looped and folded line that threads together the hubris of ‘scientifically’ managed colonial forests and those twenty first century contraptions aiming to engineer human survival through planetary meddling. Some of these geoengineering projects paint an unsettling vision: the large-scale capturing of atmospheric carbon as the optimal solution for managing global warming while allowing emissions to continue dumping carbon into the air. Now, as you trace the various detours and blind alleys of the oxygen dilemma with this artwork, will you also catch your own reflection in the menacing glint of those shiny, human-made contraptions?
To explore Abhishek Hazra’s work, climate journalist, Aruna Chandrasekhar hosted Articulate Matter. The conversation begins by unpacking the idea of the Anthropocene with ecosystem scientist professor Yadvinder Malhi who talks about why a deep time perspective helps us understand how truly volatile the planet is. He also discusses the need for evidence-based science that’s inclusive of indigenous knowledge, which offers more sustainable ways of relating to the environment.
Even while the scientific establishment grapples with what is already known about changing ecosystems to enact policy and systemic change, there are parts of India where narratives and data remain suppressed and ignored by mainstream media.
Public health researcher Shweta Narayan speaks about this disparity in media coverage between the Global North and South, as well as between rural and urban areas within India, as a manifestation of environmental racism. In India, lower caste and indigenous (Adivasi) bodies bear the brunt of toxicity in their environment, while their land and labor fuels petrocapitalism’s extractive rampant greed.
Journalist and poet Jacinta Kerketta, who grew up near the Saranda Forest in Jharkhand, Asia’s largest Sal forest, which is now being destroyed by mining, talks of the disproportionate impact of pollution on India’s oppressed and marginalized Adivasi and Dalit communities. She talks of how addressing systemic inequality and engaging with the Adivasi worldview, that looks at the environment holistically to recognize just how interconnected we are, can help us weather our own climate emergencies.
A sound piece tracing the textures and toxicities of air. Invoking the presence of jinns to explore the textures and toxicities of air, Safarnama (2020) activates natural and sacred worlds to pay attention to the intimacy of toxic colonialisms. Borrowing its name from and referencing the history of travel literature produced in the Islamic world, Safarnama traces the journey of…
Formed in response to the climate emergency, the World Weather Network is a constellation of weather stations set up by 28 arts agencies around the world and an invitation to look, listen, learn, and act. For Khoj’s Weather Station, artists and researchers Shahana Rajani and Zahra Malkani, Atul Bhalla, Mithu Sen and Raqs Media Collective are undertaking walks and treks…
As an arts space, Khoj is constantly grappling with modes of knowledges across disciplines. Our curatorial approach strongly emphasises learning as praxis, accepting our role as trying to forge together new entry points into the thematics that interest us. Over the course of researching Does the Blue Sky Lie?, we realised the need to relearn what we know about the…
The Does the Blue Sky Lie? exhibition brings together works by Abhishek Hazra, Architecture for Dialogue + Salil Parekh, Hanna Husberg, Thukral and Tagra, Pradip Saha, Saraab (Shahana Rajani, Omer Wasim), and Sharbendu De. Engaging with questions of being in “common” with our atmosphere, the works delve into the effects of extractive infrastructures on landscapes, the hubris of technocratic solutions…
Come BREATHE with us Come LIVE with us Come ADOPT a piece of the sky with us Come PLAY with us Come IMAGINE a future with us Masks. Air Purifiers. Anti-Smog Guns. Smog Towers. Wearable Ion Generating Purifiers. Techno-scientific innovations are seen as the most desirable solutions for toxic airs by a neoliberal society. The first episode of Does the…
“Can man live elsewhere than in air?” – Luce Irigray Air is the site of “smell, breath, wind, weather, air conditioning, air pollution, science, sound, oxygen, smoking —the tactility of the atmosphere.” – Timothy Choy To live in New Delhi is to be in constant and intimate communion with toxicity— being marked in a bodily way by where you live…
we are opposite like that is a series of interdisciplinary works that comprises mythologies from the poles, told from the non-human perspective of an elder that has witnessed deep time: the ice. It beckons the ghosts hidden in landscapes and turns them into echoes, listening in on the resonances of potential futures. The book is an almanac, a messy collection of…
Infestations of algorithms are put under the microscope in laboratory-like environments. Each act of unveiling manifests as reimaginations of technological architectures, their histories and futures, and thus, social paradigms. Worldbuilding and mythology come handy as speculative strategies and simulated solutions to capture the shifting categories of truth. The online residency was followed by a short residency at Khoj Studios for…
OPEN DAY: 29 March 2018 at KHOJ Studios 6pm onwards: Open Day and exhibition walkthroughs with artists. KHOJ’s interest in Art and Science is in promoting a dialogue between artists and scientific concepts, phenomena and technology through practice. It fosters the creation of new expert knowledge in the arts by extending artists’ practice in connection with fundamental research. Instituted by…