Alien Embodiments is a body based, movement oriented art/out/reach proposed by artists/thinkers/educators Alice Feldman and Rajinder Singh for the programming around The Otolith Group’s exhibition, Xenogenesis at IMMA.
The idea arose as a response to the widespread rise of contemporary decolonial aspirations in art spaces within/against/beyond the accelerated conditions of global necropolitics - as artists, along with institutions of art, governance, education and wider publics wrestle with the inheritances of coloniality and white supremacy on one hand, and the proliferating decolonial imperatives of BIPOC works and transformations on the other.
Proceeding both on-line and on-site, Alien Embodiments engages with Xenogenesis by using the exhibition itself as a lab. In this space we are critically exploring principles, pedagogies and practices that illuminate the ways the coloniality of our beings (Wynters; Torres; Wilcott) intervenes in the interventions of O/others. These experiments are about reconnecting with and mobilising capacities for embodied modes of being necessary for cultivating ‘worlds otherwise’ (Escobar).
Alien Embodiments proceeds through two loosely coupled yet interwoven strands: Guide, led by Rajinder, and The Bureau of Decolonial AestheSis, led by Alice.
Guide is a 6 week programme focused on the role of the body in art. It asks what kind of questions or discussions in exhibition-making may necessitate an engagement of choreographic thinking. It is geared towards conveying, measuring, understanding and developing a body based response to art and art spaces while exploring what value and wisdom our bodies can contribute to our experience.
Central to Guide are the deep and complex contested histories our bodies and movements have in moving through certain places and spaces. Our bodies are sites in which socio-cultural codes are mediated revealing injustices in our movement and our unequally distributed rights to dwell and move through a cultural space. Guide turns on creating ‘productively uncomfortable encounters’ through which participants may develop their capacities to generatively engage with the art-works in Xenogenesis: opportunities where participants can do this work so they are able to ‘do The Work’.
In decolonial parlance, the use of the term, aesthesis, involves the radical reclamations of the bodily, sensorial and sensuous ways of being and knowing that have been disavowed and incapacitated by the modern/colonial/supremacist order (Vasquez). It centres the imperatives of regaining our knowledge sense-abilities in order to re/connect the pluriverse and cultivate decolonial praxes that dismantle, reimagine and ‘re-exist’ (Alban Achinte) beyond the coloniality of being.
The role of The Bureau, as a community of practice and platform, is to instigate a range of knowledge-political, aest-ethical and pedagogical experiments that traverse the landscapes of ‘artistic research’; ‘research as art’; ‘learning through making’, and ‘public pedagogy’, and advance praxes of embodied knowledge creation and mobilisation.