You should now make arrangements to leave

I went to see The Show Is Over at South London Gallery.

In the Fire Station:

In Gallery 1:

“Installation Composed From The Fragments Of 60 Dismantled Traps” (2021-2) – Luanda Vitra.

“In Brazilian culture, if you know how to threaten, you are protected.”

Gallery 2:

“FOODTOPIA: Despues de todo territorio” (2021) – Las Nietas de Nono.

A film about industrialised food production in the San Anton barrio on Puerto Rico, an island which still has colonial territorial status. Las Nietas are a pair of artists current in residence at SLG.

Gallery 3

“Drawing for Bellevue Estate” (2018) – Santiago Mostyn. A 30 minute film, shot on Tobago.

This work is a portrait of the island as a sentient being and as a site of past and present exploitation. One segment of the film recalls the legend of ‘Gang Gang Sarah’, the ‘African slave witch’ who wishes to return to her homeland only to find she has lost the power of flight during her stay on the island.

Gallery 4

Another 30 minute film. “Plateau” (2021-2) – Karimah Ashadu, showing undocumented Nigerian tin-miners working in poor conditions.

Around the room are also the 4 sculptures inscribed YIELD, TILL, BURROW and OPEN SHIELDS, made with materials from the region.

In the Main Gallery:

“Drag Paintings” (2016) – Moshekwa Langa.

Views from the other end and the side:

“We, the inconsolable ones” (2019) – Donna Kukama.

“Darkness the potential of blossoming light” (2022) – Oscar Murillo.

“Lamentations” (2006-8) (film) – Anawana Haloba.

A work by Oscar Murillo that was added late after the nameplates had been put up, I was told by one of the attendants.

“Holes in the ceiling” (2020), “Gift of life” (2020) – Misheck Mazamvu.

“Live On” (2015), “Ending V” (2016), “Ending X” (2016), “Election Date” (2015), “Unstuck” (2019) – Misheck Mazamvu.

“Sacral Animals, Motouleng Cave, Clarens” (2004) – Santu Motokeng.

“Weeping tulip” (2019) – Banele Khoza.

“Do more of what you love” (2021), “The after life of peonies” (2021) – Banele Khoza.

“Where are my fuckin’ Flowers” (2013) – Ishkar Richard

“My Dream” (1990) – Mmakgabo Helen Sebidi.

“How Many ___ Does It Take?” (2020) (film) – Simnikiwe Buhlungu and Tessa Mars.

This last work is a 10 minute film weaving together different threads in “a history of emancipatory politics in Haiti and South Africa” including critical moments when leaders took the wrong paths.

There will also be events in this series: A Sonic Lecture by Satch Hoyt, and a screening of Sometimes It Was Beautiful.

In the shop I saw a copy of The Decolonization Of America by Steffen Zillig.

The translation is not perfect – “und” gets through at least once – but the general idea comes across as a hyperspeed parodic cyclone of various declinist theses. America is consumed by guilt about white supremacy at the same time as the tech corporate state finally swallows all of culture and offers a solution tailored to the self-aggrandizing spirit of the leadership class who still need to believe they are “the good ones”. The “Euro-Americans” will “decolonize” by physically departing North America (abandoned to the remaining indigenous, plus all the losers deemed unfit for the voyage to build a new old society), and returning to Europe. But Europe isn’t able to receive them since it abandoned the idea of technical progress some time ago and reverted to hedonism mixed with ironic regret of its own history.

Satire that will never be seen or appreciated by anyone already expecting “this, but unironically”.

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