Obsidian Coast enters into a state of indeterminacy with its second exhibition, While the Summit Reverses.
Purple light, ambient like a perpetual sunset, fills the (night)time at the Coast. The air is hot, saturated with longing for moments of intimacy – the kinds of coming together in which outlines of bodies dissolve, and the familiar laws of space and time collapse. Diamond skin and long-lost-lovers drift on waves to the shore, and things previously unencountered make their first moves on land.
This is a show about beginnings without endings that begins on the 16th of February 2019. A show that begins, when shattered glass glimmers under fluorescent lights on the floor of a South East London gallery. A show that begins, when a detached boat hook folds into the muddy depths of the river Thames. A show that begins in September 1977, when Philip K. Dick gives a speech at the Science Fiction Convention in Metz. A show that begins Obsidian Coast’s collaborations with Louis Mason, Rachel McRae and nova Milne.
Louis Mason’s four-part series of short stories, The Attendants, narrates moments of subjectivity becoming permeable, unstable and confused. When unassuming spaces are flooded with a distinct light, the protagonists commit unforeseen acts, lose their sense of self and are pulled into someone else’s narrative, or find traces of other bodies spilling over and reaching for them from thousands of miles away.
Rachel McRae’s Tank_02, an experimental electrolysis and hydraulics tank system, cleans rust off McRae’s mudlarked archeological findings from the river Thames. Each object – in McRae’s incidental collection of boat hooks, padlocks, Saxon brooches and drawer handles – submerged in saltwater with a low electrical current, undergoes a process of cleansing and erosion, on the journey toward the object’s core beneath decades of dirt. With each layer of grime removed and the uncertainty of when to stop, empirical discovery and imposed authorship become increasingly indistinguishable from one another. Instead of taking the objects back to their imagined original state, the artist’s process continuously creates them anew.
In nova Milne’s XEROX MISSIVE 1977/2011, archival video of the late science fiction author Philip K. Dick from 1977 interweaves with original interview footage of his living widow Tessa B. Dick from 2011. By intersecting these two moments in history, the artists open a wormhole into an alternate dimension where personal timelines and written fiction collapse into one charged, dreamlike space. The disjointed, yet lucid, dialogue between Philip and Tessa – contemplating the fabric of space and time whilst narrating their first encounter – continuously loops within the orange glow of nova Milne’s videoscape.
While the Summit Reverses is a suspended moment, the cusp of infinite possibility, in which multiple timelines align, the spaces we once thought we knew become unfamiliar and the separation between bodies and objects is undone.
Rachel McRae, currently based in London UK, has a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and a BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Her research into the politics of archeology, the man/nature divide and the Piltdown Man “discovery” was included in Sea Empress: Animism Edition published by The Reading Room, Pembrokeshire. Her writing on language, the internet and the Antropocene has been included in Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life by Smudge Studios USA. McRae’s work has been shown in London, Mexico City, Brussels, Toronto, Los Angeles and Helsinki. Her work is held in the Feminist Art Gallery collection. Rachel is 1/2 of the collective, Digital&Dead.
nova Milne is a two-person artist who uses intimacy as their primary communal structure. Works may variously be described as video-sculptures, performance, drawings or restorative actions. These often find gravity in assembling a gesture (or encounter) as a poetic or disruptive transgression across a breach of time/s. nova Milne's work often reincorporates found micro- historical or biographical ephemera, events or recordings to unleash a latent occult potential from its constituent parts, towards an altered psychological, social or confounding emotive and material plasticity. Intersubjectivity is an ongoing curiosity that segues into science and the paranormal, pervaded by transformation, longing, empathy, absurdity and unboundedness.