Otolith 1

A woman sleeping whilst floating.
Otolith Group & Richard Couzins, MIR, Otolith1, 2003

22’ 20 digital video by the Otolith Group, commissioned through the MIR programme

Microgravity’s reorientation of the relations of humans to space, perception to coordination and vision to motor activity implies the reconfiguration of the coordinates of visual language. The essay film Otolith is narrated by a paleoanthropologist born and raised off-world in an agravic future; a woman at home in zero g. Unable, like all future humans, to return to Earth, she has devoted a decade to retrieving, restoring and researching archives of pre-adaptive hominization. By framing the documentary image in terms of scenarios for the future of space habitation, Otolith readjusts the present until it takes on the temporality of the historical ruin.

The film traces a line between generations of female exploration, centering the story around a meeting in the 1970s between Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova and the anthropologist’s ancestor Anasuya Gyan Chand, President of the National Federation of Indian Women. The narrator recounts the journey of her recent ancestor, Anjalika Sagar, who visits Star City in 2003 to research this historic meeting. Anjalika’s investigations compel her to complete a program of quotidian actions during a parabolic flight that seek to test the adaptation of humans to zero gravity. In Otolith, microgravity is presented as a dangerous interior that locates itself between a non-aligned past, a pressurised present and a mutant future.

 

Credits

Written, directed and edited by the Otolith Group - Kodwo Eshun, Richard Couzins and Anjalika Sagar.

Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and the MIR Consortium (Arts Catalyst, Projekt Atol, V2, Leonardo Olats, Multimedia Complex for Actual Arts)

Flight: MIR Campaign 2003

Screenings & Exhibition

2006 IFC Centre, New York

2006 Tate Triennial - New British Art - Tate Britain

2005 Critical Art Ensemble benefit & 10th anniversary of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts. Festival Avril. Confluences, Paris France.

2004 City Of Women, Past Transition, Welcome to the Future, 10th International Festival of Women, Ljubljana

2004 Resonance FM, Frieze Art Fair, London, UK

2004 Our House is a House That Moves Curator -Natasa Petresin

Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Pavel House Gallery, Steirischer Herbs, Graz, Austria

2004 Luggage, Curator - Gabrielle Schleijpen, Nanjing Art Institute, Nanjing.

2004 Art & War Show, Curator - Mamta Murthy, World Social Forum, Mumbai.

2004 Critical Art Ensemble Defence Benefit (ArtsAdmin/Arts Catalyst), Toynbee Hall, London

2004 Open Sources Encounter Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-arts, Tours, France

2004 LIFT Enquiry, London International Festival of Theatre.

2004 A Free State Conference. The British Museum, London, UK

2004 Beyond Belief, Reading Utopia. Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK

2004 Fly Utopia. transmediale, Berlin, Germany

2003 Everything Normal, Arts Catalyst, London, UK

2003 MIR -Art In Variable Gravity, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK. Curator - Nicola Triscott

2003 Festival of Art Outsiders, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France.

2003 MIR- Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research. V2 -The Institute for Unstable Media Rotterdam, The Netherlands

 

The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 and consists of London based Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun. The Group have drawn from a wide range of resources and materials to explore the moving image, the archive, the sonic and the aural within the gallery context. The research based work has focused on the essay film as a form that seeks to look at conditions, events and histories in their most expanded form. This work acts as a resource that is documented on The Group’s website and supports The Otolith Group's public platform – The Otolith Collective.
The Otolith Collective coexists by curating, programming, publishing and supporting the presentation of artists work, contributing to a critical field of exploration between visual culture and exhibiting in contemporary art. Curated and co-curated programmes and exhibitions include, A Cinema of Songs and People: The Films of Anand Patwardhan at the Tate Modern, The Inner Time of Television, The Journey, by Peter Watkins at the Tate Modern, On Vanishing Land by Mark Fisher and Justin Barton, the touring exhibition The Ghosts of Songs: A Retrospective of The Black Audio Film Collective 1982-1998, Harun Farocki. 22 Films: 1968-2009 at Tate Modern and the touring programme Protest conceived as part of the Essentials: The Secret Masterpieces of Cinema commissioned by the Independent Cinema Office.
The Otolith group were first commissioned by Arts Catalyst in 2001, as part of a series of research expeditions for Attention Weightlessness. The project took artists, dancers, film-makers and scientists to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Russia, to experience weightlessness. More recently, The Otolith Group have been involved with the Nuclear Culture programme, curated by Arts Catalyst's Associate Curator Ele Carpenter. In 2013 Kodwo Eshun contributed to a round table event to discuss a programme of artists’ films investigatigating nuclear culture from the perspective of the 21st Century.