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July 6, 2022

Field Notes: Sara Garzón on Black Quantum Futurism and Más Arte Más Acción at Documenta 15

Art & Education

Más Arte Más Acción (MAMA), Whispers of the Bark Beetles, 2022. Installation view, Gewächshaus, Staatspark Karlsaue, Kassel, June 13, 2022. Photo: Nils Klinger.

Black Quantum Futurism, Clepsydra Stage, 2022. Installation view, Rondell, Kassel, June 10, 2022. Photo: Nicolas Wefers.

Más Arte Más Acción (MAMA), Whispers of the Bark Beetles, 2022. Installation view, Gewächshaus, Staatspark Karlsaue, Kassel, June 13, 2022. Photo: Sara Garzón.

Announcement of lumbung members in Asphalt Magazine, October 1, 2021. Courtesy of Documenta 15.

Field Notes: Black Quantum Futurism and Más Arte Más Acción, Documenta 15
by Sara Garzón

Organized by the Jakarta-based group ruangrupa, Documenta 15—or perhaps more appropriately, Lumbung 1—is a collective of collectives showcasing the decentralized yet ever expanding collaborative work happening across geopolitical boundaries. The roughly seventy-one collectives invited to Kassel, recast here as lumbung members and artists, were not brought together to produce new work but were granted the space, resources, and support to grow their existing and ongoing processes. Lumbung 1 marks, in that sense, a paradigm shift. Not toward a new era of more “con-temporary art” but an age of alternatives: multiple methodologies of artistic co-creation, frameworks of sustainability, community-oriented production, alter-globalization networks of solidarity, and new temporal regimes. Departing from community-oriented work, lumbung members defied both conventional forms of artistic making and the very temporality that underscores Western artistic production in the historicist regime of presentism, of which con-temporary art is both subject and catalyst in its constant reiteration of the so-called “art of now.”

Against the grain of single narratives, the one-world logic, and the master’s clock, lumbung members (collectives and artists) reinforced multiple world-making practices. Attending to the need to augment both situated and equitable forms of access and distribution, ruangrupa first announced the list of participants in the Kassel-based journal Asphalt Magazine, which is sold to generate income for homeless or underserved individuals. The lumbung network was also announced according to the collectives’ times zones, anticipating from the start an alternative space–time framework for thinking differently about action and distribution than those premised by similar high-profile exhibitions.

However, despite being an alternative way to situate and spatialize global networks of resistance, ruangrupa’s time-zone concept must not be taken for granted. Times zones, albeit widely naturalized, were created in the late nineteenth century to accommodate railroad expansion. More than a mere system for keeping time, time zones were instruments of globalization enabling deterritorialization, forced migration, and servitude. The time zone is, as the Philadelphia-based duo Black Quantum Futurism (Rasheedah Phillips and Moor Mother) states, no one’s but the master’s clock. Questioning the structuring of daily life and broader society according to the prime meridian and other mechanisms of temporality is thus central to dismantling regimes of surveillance, colonial machineries of violence, and systems of oppression to which communities of color—especially Indigenous, Afro-Indigenous, and Afrodiasporic communities—have been subjected.

Read more Sara Garzón's Field Notes review on Art & Education.

Field Notes is a new series of reviews from the next generation of art writers. Featuring texts on the 59th Venice Biennale and Documenta 15 contributed by students and recent graduates, Field Notes makes original connections between the work and the world and takes a closer look at what other observers might have missed.

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