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Gala Porras-Kim’s research-based and multidisciplinary practices explore subjects on (post-)colonialism and indigenous cultures, in particular, pre-Columbian cultures. Linguistics, museology and conservation, and the (re)interpretation of ancient artifacts are among the most prominent subjects of her works.
In this Biennial, Porras-Kim presents an ensemble of artworks that explore the nuanced relationship between technologies and local cosmologies. Archimedes Death Ray 2 (2019) is a brass sculpture that projects a bright beam of light when sunlight activates it, referencing Archimedes’s mirror, a mythical artifact said to incinerate Roman fleets with its channeled sunbeam. Mesoamerican Negative Space 9 (2019) recalls the obsidian mirrors of Mesoamerican cultures, which were believed to be, and used as, portals to other realms. The drawing Ring Mountain PCN’s (2018) depicts a rock found on Ring Mountain, Marin Country, that contains curvilinear nucleated (PCN) carvings, a mystifying type of native American petroglyphs. Last but not least, Untitled (Efflorescence) (2019), an effloresced concrete slab, alludes to a demolition strategy employed during the time of the colonization in Mexico: using salt to break down the concrete binders of historical buildings. Mythicized technics, technics that act as mediums between humans and the supernatural, technics that document cosmologies, technics that sabotage cosmologies… Through the display of complex interactions between “cosmos” and “technics,” the artworks deconstruct the distinctions between the two concepts, demonstrating how the past may live through artifacts, underline the danger of technics instrumentalized by colonialists, and ultimately aid us in the contemplation of “cosmotechnics.”