The Economy of Living Things

The Economy of Living Things features work by four international artists – Ali Cherri, Steffani Jemison, Jumana Manna and Oscar Murillo – who draw on the visual arts, archaeology, music and literature to draw up an alternative map of modern migrations. The final part of the Satellite programme 10, the exhibition is concerned with the continual flow of people, plants, animals, artefacts and cultural products found in everyday life. It takes as its point of departure the recording of lived experience and the state of human progress in the twenty-first century. The artists frame their own subjectivity through the lens of the present while exploring deepening relationships between memory and fiction, communities and civilizations, the dead and the living.

Although rooted in the medium of film, The Economy of Living Things spans various disciplines. The different works, some newly commissioned, use lens-based media to revive events from histories rooted in personal, political and collective experience. Collectively, the artists share an interest in the living histories of the communities and cultures they belong to. They seek to capture those intangible and immaterial expressions of life and livelihood that awaken us to the clamour of our own reality, the lives of unknown others, erasures and displacements, the pains of exile and the loss of traditions.

Opening with Ali Cherri and closing with Jumana Manna, the exhibition focuses on tradition and the preservation of histories as containers of living memory. In their work, Steffani Jemison and Oscar Murillo emphasize the poetics of gestures informed by wider socio-economic conditions linked to factories or public spaces. Going beyond the notion of physically mapping history, The Economy of Living Things considers the political body’s movement through material, local and symbolic time, and the impossibility of controlling living things.