The Shamanic Gaze: The Enactment  / Kairos 1.0 of Mongol Futurist Ways of Being

26 - 30 AUGUST 2020, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, NL
Nominee for the GRA Autonomous Arts Award 2020

The exhibition enacts, embodies and excavates resilience in historical, cultural and genealogical matter, invoking an uncanny, intangible ambiguity that questions the spectrum of objecthood, matter and being, where applied and unapplied arts meet on equal grounds.

Translated by Moonlight / The Epic of Geser Khan 

A version of The Epic of Geser Khan, an oral epic dating back to the 11th century, was found on Sarangerel odigan’s reconstructed, waybachmachine-d website after her death in 2006. A shamaness herself, she published two books on Mongol shamanism in 2001 and 2002, simultaneously working on the translation of the Buryat version of the nine-chapter epic. 
Whether she translated and already transcribed version, or translated directly from an oral performance is unknown, including her sources. 
Not only is this body of work her unfinished legacy, it is an extremely important socio-political and cultural remnant and survivor of violent efforts of erasure and suppression. The legacy of Sarangerel, the narrative itself—the emotionalized weight it is loaded with—find reincarnation as the central piece of a sculptural piece that tweaks, twists and turns the mechanisms of the objecthood of books and how we fundamentally engage with them. While acknowledging the paradox of the eurocentric mechanism of preserving, distributing and weaponizing books against the ‘other,’ opposed to the more fluid transmission of generational knowledge through oral tradition and story-telling, the work aims to precisely elicit and point towards this ambiguity, yet allow for an autonomous coming-into-being and meeting of polarities. 

“In her installation, Nomin Zezegmaa shows a future fitting for the 21st century: A future in which location, heritage and future are not necessarily located or set in the same space. While many of us are still trying to find words and images for this future, in Nomin Zezegmaa’s work it is already self-evident. She uses her family history as a material and she runs with it, thus unleashing herself from any strait jacket. The jury also sees this freedom from expectations in the way she deals with writing, book binding and sculpture within the installation.”

Autonomous Arts Award report by the jury of Femke Herregraven and Charl Landvreugd.

Live streamed performance on Instagram of the throat singer and horse head violine player Yesun-Erdene Bat of the ensemble Khukh Mongol.

exhibition documentation by Gert Jan van Rooij