Five Heads (Tavan Tolgoi)—Art, Anthropology and Mongol Futurism

Friday, August 31, 2018 - 18:00

The exhibition FIVE HEADS marks the beginning of a season of events co-curated with Arts Catalyst and Hermione Sprigg and a residency and exhibition with artist Tuguldur Yondonjamts. 

Opening ceremony and publication launch:
August 31st, 6 – 8.30pm 
Greengrassi Gallery & Corvi-Mora
1a Kempsford Road London SE11 4NU
Nomin Bold & Baatarzorig Batjargal | Bumochir Dulam
Yuri Pattison | Hedwig Waters
Dolgor Ser Od & Marc Schmitz | Rebecca Empson
Deborah Tchoudjinoff | Lauren Bonilla
Tuguldur Yondonjamts | Rebekah Plueckhahn
Feat. Mongolian Rapper “Big Gee”
What does the future look like, or feel like, from the perspective of a yak in the coal mining
district of Khovd? A Mongolian root extracted, illegally traded and sold internationally as a
pharmaceutical product? Or the toolkit of an urban shaman, securing economic fortune for
professional women in Ulaanbaatar?
Five Heads (Tavan Tolgoi) brings together the work of five anthropologists and five artists/
collectives researching and responding to the dramatic rise and fall of Mongolia’s mineral
economy. Drawing from ongoing fieldwork in Mongolia, the artists in this exhibition examine
crisis as a space for the emergence of new possibilities.
Curated by Hermione Spriggs
Exhibition dates: September 1st – 15th, 2018
Conversations & events in collaboration with Arts Catalyst
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In 1964, at a time when Mongolia was suspended in the social and economic stasis of Soviet
rule, Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan seized upon Ezra Pound’s definition of
the artist as “the antennae of the race,” claiming “the power of the arts to anticipate future
social and technological developments by a generation and more.” Indeed, art (or perhaps the
synaptic negative space which exists between art and anthropology) has taken on antennalike
properties in the context of Mongolia, where the need to rapidly re-think the impacts
of mineral extraction and economic chaos is pressing and real, and where a resurgence in
shamanic practices—often explained by shamans themselves through a language of code
and telecommunications—can itself be thought of as a kind of radar or antennae capable of
reaching through time, assuring future fortune in the face of agsan (the invisible and chaotic
forces of transition).
Nested within what might be described as an “aesthetics of estrangement” (Castaing-Taylor)
or a process of “optimal distortion” (Neilson & Pedersen) are proposals for alternative maps
and re-surfaced trajectories that shatter a teleological timeline of progress, staking territory
instead for speculative thought and practical forms of human-nonhuman reciprocity. As
global cores and peripheries exchange places and rehearse histories of empire formation, Five
Heads explores geo-ontological emergence, (post) capitalist futures, and alternative strategies
for creative survival in the present.
The accompanying publication Five Heads (Tavan Tolgoi) Art, Anthropology and Mongol
Futurism (Sternberg Press, 2018) features documentation of the art-anthropology exchange
processes, alongside written contributions by Simon O’ Sullivan, Uranchimeg Tsultem, Richard
Irvine, Tsendpurev Tsegmid, Hermione Spriggs & Rebecca Empson, and will be available
for presale for the duration of the exhibition.
For more details please visit the following link.
Photo: Tuguldur Yondonjamts Binary story/ 875-887, single channel video, sound, 18 min (2018)
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