HomePage Artists

b. 2002, United Kingdom

The Otolith Group Biography

The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 by Kodwo Eshun (b. 1966, London) and Anjalika Sagar (b. 1968, London). Eshun earned a BA and MA in English Literature at University College, Oxford (1988) and an MA in Literary Theory at Southampton University (1990). Sagar earned a BA in Social Anthropology and Hindi at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London (1997) and an MA in Fine Art and Theory at Middlesex University (2004). The group integrates film and video production with curating, programming, and writing. With a name derived from a part of the inner ear sensitive to gravity and motion, responsible for physical equilibrium, the group operates as a platform for dialogue on contemporary art practice. The referential complexity of their work elicits an interpretive commitment from the viewer; layered, provocative, and speculative, the works invite decoding but promise no solutions.

Read More

The Otolith Group’s films, installations, and performances are driven by extensive research into the histories of science fiction and the legacies of tricontinentalism focusing on Asia, Africa, and South America. They rework archival and contemporary images, recorded sound, documentary accounts, and fictional narratives in order to complicate divisions between poetry, history, the real, and the imagined. The group regularly deploys the forms of the video essay and the performative lecture. Their eponymous video trilogy displays the group’s signature interweaving of cinematic mise-en-scènes and reportage, readymade and original texts and images. Otolith (2003) envisions a future in which the human otolith is no longer calibrated to the earth’s gravitation due to extended sojourns in space. The video features an expository voice from the 22nd century, a fictional descendant of Sagar’s, continuing a lineage that stretches back to Sagar’s grandmother, another narrator of the film. Otolith II (2007) turns an enquiring eye on Chandigarh’s modernist architecture, designed by Le Corbusier, and the slums of Mumbai. Otolith III (2009) proposes a temporal paradox in its revision of an unfilmed science fiction screenplay by Satyajit Ray from 1967. For Inner Time of Television (2007), they collaborated with film essayist Chris Marker to install his 13-part television series on Greek philosophy, The Owl’s Legacy (1989). Though screened in France and the U.K., the series was never broadcast in Greece, intensifying the restorative aspect of the project. The Radiant (2012) addresses the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan, traveling back and forth in time to question the ethics and consequences of atomic energy.

The Otolith Group was short-listed for the Turner Prize in 2010. In addition to co-organizing The Ghosts of Songs: A Retrospective of the Black Audio Film Collective 1982–1998, FACT, Liverpool, and Arnolfini, Bristol (2007), and Harun Farocki: 21 Films, Tate Modern, London (2009), the group has been featured in solo presentations at Argos Centre for Art and Media, Brussels (2007), The Showroom and Gasworks, London (2009), MACBA, Barcelona (2011), Bétonsalon, Paris (2011), MAXXI, Rome (2011–12), and Project 88, Mumbai (2012). The group has participated in numerous group exhibitions including New British Art, Tate Triennial, London (2006), Ecotopia, ICP Triennial, New York (2006), Translocalmotion, Shanghai Biennial (2008), Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain (2010–11), There is always a cup of sea to sail in, Sao Paulo Biennial (2010), In the Days of the Comet, British Art Show 7, Hayward Gallery, London (2010), and Documenta 13 (2012). The Otolith Group is based in London.

Source: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

The Otolith Group In Ocula Magazine

View All (7)
Non-Aligned Histories Converse at NTU CCA Singapore Ocula Feature Non-Aligned Histories Converse at NTU CCA Singapore By Stephanie Bailey, Singapore

Three video works by John Akomfrah, Naeem Mohaiemen, and The Otolith Group explore histories of decolonisation.

Fade out copy.
Read More
Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements Ocula Feature Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements By Radha Mahendru, Dhaka

The fifth Dhaka Art Summit plotted movements, solidarities, and exchanges across the Global South.

Fade out copy.
Read More
Ghosts, Spies And Grandmothers At Mediacity Seoul 2014 Ocula Feature Ghosts, Spies And Grandmothers At Mediacity Seoul 2014 By Jeesun Park, Seoul

Much has already been said about the fast-paced development and break-neck modernization of Asia but what has been largely forgotten in these breathless accounts is the importance of its history. In order to understand contemporary Asia one needs to look into the past, look more closely at its regional diversity and draw connections to local...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Mediacity Seoul 2014: Ghosts, Spies, And Grandmothers Ocula Feature Mediacity Seoul 2014: Ghosts, Spies, And Grandmothers By Becca Voelcker, Seoul

Since its foundation in 2000, Seoul’s contemporary art biennial, Mediacity, aims to represent the city’s identity as a hub of media and technology. With an exhibition on three floors of Seoul Museum of Art, and a programme of screenings in the Korean Film Museum, Mediacity surveys the current climate in art production, shifting its...

Fade out copy.
Read More

The Otolith Group In Related Press

View All (6)
13th Sharjah Biennial Related Press 13th Sharjah Biennial 15 March 2017, Frieze

Tamawuj, the Arabic title chosen by curator Christine Tohmé for the 13th Sharjah Biennial, is hard to disambiguate. It means 'a rising and falling in waves; a flowing, swelling, surging, fluctuation; a wavy undulating appearance outline or form.' An apt choice for a biennial that tries to liquefy the traditional format of a centralized event and...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Gwangju Biennale art festival to open next week Related Press Gwangju Biennale art festival to open next week 30 August 2016, The Korea Times

The opening ceremony of the 2016 Gwangju Biennale, Asia's oldest contemporary art biennale, is set to kick off in the southwest city of Gwangju next week, the festival's foundation said Friday. During the ceremony, set to start at the plaza in front of the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Halo at 6:40 p.m. Thursday, Park Yang-woo, chief of...

Fade out copy.
Read More
The 11th Gwangju Biennale: An interview with Maria Lind, artistic director, and Michelle Wong, assistant curator Related Press The 11th Gwangju Biennale: An interview with Maria Lind, artistic director, and Michelle Wong, assistant curator 29 August 2016, My Art Guides

Could you tell us something more about the concept The Eight Climate (What does art do?), this year’s biennial theme? Maria Lind: Imagine that you are walking on a ramp leading from one floor to the next in a big exhibition space. In the corner of your eye you notice something on the long smooth white wall: in one place it looks...

Fade out copy.
Read More
The intangible art of gimjang Related Press The intangible art of gimjang 29 August 2016, Art Review

About two months ago, T and I went to Southwest London’s K-Town (otherwise known as New Malden, an area that has one of the largest communities of expat Koreans in Europe) in search of pickles. As we were exploring our way through plates of assorted preserved vegetables, with staff and fellow diners eyeing our particular menu choices, one...

Fade out copy.
Read More

Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by The Otolith Group are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

Scan to follow Ocula on WeChat.
;