Cosmos Cinema conversation: Nolan Oswald Dennis

May 10, 2024 00:24:33

Hallie Ayres talks to artist Nolan Oswald Dennis. This episode is part of a series produced in conjunction with the 14th Shanghai Biennale at the Power Station of Art (November 2023–March 2024), curated by Anton Vidokle, Zairong Xiang, Hallie Ayres, Lukas Brasiskis, and Ben Eastham.

In his para-disciplinary artistic practice, Nolan Oswald Dennis explores “a Black consciousness of space”—the material and metaphysical conditions of decolonization—questioning spacetime histories through system-specific interventions, sculptures, and drawings.

Black Liberation Zodiac: Khunuseti focuses on a group of stars known in isiZulu as isiLimela (in English, the Pleiades) whose appearance over the southern hemisphere horizon in June signals the beginning of the season of planting, rites of adulthood, and other cyclical transitions. As these stars appear in the southern hemisphere they simultaneously disappear in the northern hemisphere. Their path across the equator reveals a condition of common difference which echoes planetary geopolitical relations.

This work is part of the “Black Liberation Zodiac” (2017–∞) series which remaps the night sky across the ecliptic plane as a set of star charts based on the IAU celestial-coordinate system. This series replaces the hegemonic constellation system derived from Eurasian mythological history with imagery drawn from the archive of black liberation iconography. Taking cues from circumpolar and seasonal constellations which are visible exclusively in either the northern or southern hemisphere, Dennis works on the premise that there are always, at a minimum, two night skies. This series explores the poetics of a multi-celestial world through iterative installations referencing planetarium displays, science museums, and southern Afri-indigenous cosmologies.


Intro sound: excerpt from Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto), COSMOS (Soundtrack for 14th Shanghai Biennale), 2023. 14 tracks, overall 117:30 minutes.

Interviews & Conversations, Podcast
The Cosmos, Decolonization
Nolan Oswald Dennis

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