to see oneself at a distance

On view through April 2024

“Which came first: the desire to fly, or the desire to see oneself at a distance?”– Suneil Sanzgiri, At Home But Not At Home (2019)

to see oneself at a distance proposes a kind of looking against the grain that focuses on revolutionary moments throughout the 20th century while complicating their over-romanticization. To see these histories at a distance is to reckon with their complexities, afterlifes, and the varying scales of their implications (from the individual to the global). The four artists in the exhibition employ rigorous archival research to create artworks that explore decolonization not as an event horizon, but as a series of gestures, ruptures, and fragments that might ripple across time and space. Together, the artists in to see oneself at a distance demonstrate how once-triumphant histories of liberation are (mis)remembered, instrumentalized, negotiated, and endure into the present.

In a trilogy of short films shown in a new installation, Suneil Sanzgiri (SMACT ’17) probes the intersection between his family’s history in Goa, India, and stories of global solidarity, freedom fighters, and neocolonial extractive forces…. And in an investigation of what she calls “digital colonialism,” Maryam Jafri’s two installations examine how archival photographs from key moments in the histories of certain African and Middle Eastern nations have been acquired and edited by multinational stock photo agencies, suggesting that some archives obscure as much as they reveal.