A Diagnosis of Time: Unlearn What You Have Learned

Curatorial statement. DoT: ULWYHL

This show is composed of many things. A theatre of things that beats on different rhythms. They exist as paintings, sculptures, prints, photos, videos, films, installations, scientific and cultural objects etc., foraged from archives, palimpsests, collections and other sources. Together or discrete, we experience them as objects, materials and processes. The logic, here, is formed on matter which can be approached at different levels with a sense of distance.

The concerns of the artists are different, and how much their motivation might be, is the allure we identify in the realm of time. Within this realm, the works pose questions founded on the idea that time can be plastic, non-linear and whatever epithet suits this fundamentally complex term. There is a certain universality to it. A kind of a priori which also involves change in the same instance.

The word ‘time’ is understood as material. In other cases, it’s the catalyst. And we also find it as a constant determinant of space. Things relate on time in the spaces they define. Most of all the question has been: what do time mean to us? This is a very old question. In the activities of the participants or actants in the likes of human and non-human (birds, fishes, amphibians, weather etc.), we are exposed to the poetics of time. The works staged in the exhibition formulate different perspectives through the configurations of the set up. They suggest a geological, cosmological idea on time and a multiplicity of time. They cross-reference and allude to the act of refresh in the cyberspace.

It is in this sense that the silo, now Nkrumah Voli-ni is seen as a potentiality to echo these thoughts. The silo was an initiative by the late former president of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in five regions of Ghana. The storage tower has not been developed beyond the first few floors since the 60s. Over the years, it has become a habitat for humans and non-humans: birds, reptiles, amphibians etc. They lived the void
A Diagnosis of Time: Unlearn What You Have Learned attempts to situate us in these non-art references that define the exhibition sites. They are dispersed in the city of Tamale, yet linked to their own skein. A simultaneously idea of the exhibit lives through these portals. From the city centre of Tamale where Nkrumah Voli-ni is located at the Industrial area, to the neighbourhood of SSNIT Junction, we find the seat of SCCA Tamale and outskirt of the city, Red Clay is sited in the community of Janna Kpeŋŋ. There is also an offshoot of the show in our sister station in Accra at The Workshop: The Museum of Science and Technology, Accra.
Today, the world public health is our major concerns. This has shaped much of our daily lives. We are in the epoch of the radial, the viral. The far is not enough to escape from its reach. Everything seems to melt under this new sceptre. The usual narratives qualify this period in pessimist or apocalyptic terms. Within this cacophony, there are glimpses of optimism to hang on for the future which is already with us. The initial idea was to have a collaboration between cultural institutions: Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA Tamale), Ghana, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark and the Ghana Museums of Monuments Board. Out of this struggle to collapse distance with its challenges on many levels, was born the exhibition A Diagnosis of Time: Unlearn What You Have Learned. Thus, we encounter these snippets or fragments of the world that capture the essence of our conditions through the works presented. This collaboration is the first for our young institution (SCCA Tamale and its allied stations) that gathers contemporary artists across the globe. It allows for an interaction between the invited artists, the collections of contemporary art of the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum and modern art pieces as well as scientific and cultural objects from the Ghana Museum and Monuments Board that are displayed for public view.

Curatorial team