Hallucinations of the Global Future: Sophia Al-Maria and Cao Fei
6101 Bishop Blvd.
Doolin Gallery, 6101 Bishop Blvd
Saturday 12-4 P
Sunday 12-4 P
The artists draw from the contexts of China and the Persian Gulf, which have also seen enormous amounts of growth in architecture, infrastructure, economies, and culture, and like the Sun Belt, face fundamental questions about social, economic and ecological sustainability. Hallucinations refers to the imagining or speculation of the future, also a dreamlike quality in which something could quickly slip into nightmare. Fei and Al-Maria engage the questions of futurism in their work; while Al Maria coined the term “Gulf Futurism,” Fei uses Second Life, a technology of the recent past, to “build” a city, asking what the role of technology and social or civic infrastructure is in building the city of the future. Cao Fei's (SL avatar: China Tracy) RMB City: A Second Life City Planning (2007-2011 - Video - 6’) speaks to China's current obsession with land development in all its intensity. A rough hybrid of communism, socialism and capitalism, RMB City will be realized in a globalized digital sphere combining overabundant symbols of Chinese reality with cursory imaginings of the country's future. This will be the condensed incarnation of contemporary Chinese cities with most of their characteristics; a series of new Chinese fantasy realms that are highly self-contradictory, inter-permeative, laden with irony and suspicion, and extremely entertaining and pan-political. Sophia Al-Maria's The Future Was Desert, Parts I & II (2016) examines links between the archaeologist and the astronaut – digging into sand, one exploring the past, the other the future. Similar to the landscape in Mad Max, the desert of the Persian Gulf is a space of paradoxical intersections between ancient civilizations and futuristic displays of power and wealth. Bringing together these works in NCFR, the show hopes to unearth some of the conditions that speak across these three different contexts. Curated by Gavin Kroeber, Noah Simblist and Sofia Bastidas.