“TO TALK TO THE WORMS AND THE STARS”

THE NEW GALLERY, CAL­GARY Septem­ber 15 to Oc­to­ber 28

Canadian Art - - Preview -

Cu­ra­tor Natasha Chaykowski takes cult book Cal­iban and the Witch— which in­ves­ti­gates how fem­i­nist, queer and Indige­nous epis­te­molo­gies are re­pressed in cap­i­tal­ist struc­tures —as the start­ing point for this group ex­hi­bi­tion.

NATASHA CHAYKOWSKI: IÕM work­ing with artists whose prac­tices are in­vested in al­ter­na­tive forms of know­ing, de­spite the cap­i­tal­ist im­pe­tus to ex­tin­guish them. I like to imag­ine th­ese beau­ti­ful mag­ics as be­ing like the re­silient tiny plants that grow through the cracks of the hot, dry pave­ment of a roadña bit ro­man­tique, per­haps. Rithika Mer­chan­tõs work de­picts Hilde­gard von Bin­gen, a 12th-cen­tury Ger­man nun. Though she was en­tan­gled in the churchõs ini­ti­a­tion of its cen­turies-long war on women, on queers, on Indige­nous peo­ple and so many oth­ers, she was a me­dieval protofem­i­nist who made space out­side the male monastery for her­self and other nuns. The other artists take up sub­jects as di­verse and com­pelling as map­ping dreams that oc­curred inside fairy cir­cles of mush­rooms; the em­a­na­tion of lu­mi­nous im­prints ex­truded by a dy­ing leaf, un­moored from its branch; tra­di­tional div­ina­tion tech­nolo­gies and as­trol­ogy; the pol­i­tics of an­cient Greek fem­i­nisms; myr­iad uses of lo­cal herbs; and Indige­nous per­mu­ta­tions of non­lin­ear time. The ti­tle, ÒTO talk to the worms and the stars, ó comes from Arthur Evan­sõs Witch­craft and the Gay Coun­ter­cul­ture, a beau­ti­ful work that is a whole­sale propo­si­tion for in­clu­sive fu­tures pred­i­cated upon cer­tain forms of magic and old know­ing. If we can re-learn to talk to the worms and the stars, then per­haps we have a chance to be­come un­moored, even if slightly, from the conþnes of a white su­prem­a­cist, het­ero, cis, cap­i­tal­ist pa­tri­archy whose ten­drils ex­tend to every facet of life. Some, how­ever, donõt need to re-learn. Theyõve al­ways known.

Rithika Mer­chant Hilde­gard von Bin­gen 2014

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