Soot Breath // Corpus Infinitum is a film dedicated to tenderness. It reproduces a radical sensibility we learned from listening to the blues, from listening to skin, to heat, and from listening to echoes, listening itself.
We ask, could tenderness dissolve total violence? Could tears displace total extraction?
Towards this we reimagine the human and its subject-formation away from predatory desire and lethal abstraction, away from the mind and eyes and noble senses, away from total extraction and its articulations as ethnography, border regimes, slavery, sexual abuse, trade and mining.
Instead we turn to skin, resonance, and tenderness as the raw material of our reimagined earthy sensibility. Remembering that to be tender is to soften like supple grass, and to attend to is to care for, to serve. Serving, we know is the opposite of slavery just as violence dissolves with care.” Arjuna Neuman & Denise Ferreria da Silva
For Glasgow International 2021, CCA has developed a new commission Soot Breath / Corpus Infinitum with artist Arjuna Neuman and philosopher Denise Ferreira da Silva, comprising film, installation and a publication.
Following on from their collaborative films Serpent Rain, 2016 and 4 Waters, 2019, the new work continues their interest in reimagining knowledge and existence without the limits of European and Colonial constructions of the human.
Neuman and Ferreira da Silva study across disciplines, calling on quantum mechanics to polyrhythms, from Tarkovsky to Hype Williams, from heat to Anaximander, in order to speculate how to exist otherwise as humans in the world. Their new film explores the construction of subjectivity – how social subjects, identities and categories are formed and recreated in society – in particular, how these processes have been designed as sovereign and interior: independent from the body so to speak.
Soot Breath gathers a variety of examples where subjectivity is unbound from the mind alone, but rebound to the world. Following the element of earth through its many facets, groundings, afterlifes and forms, the film scales between the historical/cultural, the organic, the quantum and the cosmic. This research aims to question how structures of power (colonial, capital, cis-hetero patriarchal) perpetuate categorisation and difference to break material ties to other humans, more-than-humans and deeper implicated bonds with our planet and beyond. In particular, it will focus on how such an interior subjectivity has been exploited towards unending racial violence.
Emulating the content of the film, the exhibition space will also host a series of practices and projects which propose expansions upon categories of difference. Informed by a study group launched as part of Arika Episode 10 in 2019, the exhibition at CCA also becomes a starting point for an ongoing conversation about subjecthood, identity politics and representation in cultural practice.
Part of Glasgow International 2021.
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