Gulf

Imani Jacqueline Brown

 

Opening:

Saturday June 22nd, 2024, 4 – 6:30pm

Special performance by Les Cenelles at 5pm

97 Kenmare Street

New York, NY

 

Gulf by Imani Jacqueline Brown examines geographies of oil and gas, spanning from their cosmological origins to our emancipatory futures. For a decade, Imani has traced the fractal catastrophes that unfurl along the continuum of extractivism in her homeland of Louisiana, from colonialism and slavery to fossil fuel production.

 

Now, through audiovisual layering, sonic reimagining, and archival recontextualizing, this exhibition envisions a blackout of fossil power across the territories affected by the legacies of Gulf Oil Corporation. This exhibition illustrates the ways in which the planet’s surface, depths, and biosphere have been depleted for the extraction of financial value. Imani maps out the intertwined ways in which the production of oil and gas from the Gulf of Mexico is part of an expansive politico-economic, socio-technological, and cosmological system.This work intricately ties the celestial with the geological, emphasizing the manifold ways in which fossil capitalism perpetuates epistemic, ecological, and economic violence, but also creates the impetus for the formation of fractal solidarity networks among peoples, places, and species branching from Louisiana to Angola to Palestine.

 

The exhibition presents a number of new experimental works, in progress research, and collaborations, beginning with a two-channel film that explores the origin story of the relationship between oil, land and water in the Gulf of Mexico and its consequences. Gulf reflects on the Chicxulub asteroid impact, which struck the Gulf 65 million years ago, contributing to the formation of the Gulf’s remarkable biodiversity, along with its vast hydrocarbon fields, and cementing the region’s destiny as both a cultural crossroads and an  extractive hub. She meticulously layers the gallery’s interior facade with mappings of Gulf Oil’s pipeline and well networks –  corporate follies imposed upon the Gulf of Mexico. At one end of the gallery, Imani animates and reinterprets core samples extracted to enhance corporate knowledge of petrogeographies. Additional core samples are presented as light boxes and contextualized through accompanying reports and other modes of knowledge production. Finally, she considers the notion of the strike as a mode of resistance and emergent futurity by time mapping the trajectory of offshore oil exploration – from Louisiana’s Gulf to Angola in the form of a double-arm spiral – the symbolic representation of a hurricane. Through it, the myriad tactics, strategies, and discourses that movements across the US have articulated in their struggle against Gulf Oil’s financing of the Portuguese imperial army and support of the Angolan and Palestinian liberation movements. This visualization illustrates modes of radical defiance against petro-capitalist systems of power, from whichl international solidarities between American, African, and Arab nations emerged.

 

The exhibition’s title, Gulf  (read “Strike Gulf”) is inspired by the power of strikes and other formations of solidarity to defend and tether lifeworlds. In this critical moment, the exhibition maps the persistent threat of extractivism, which spawns planetary crises from colonialism and slavery to the present climate crisis, and communicates the urgency of advocating  for corporate accountability and ecological reparations. This exhibition invites us to engage directly with the conflicts and solidarities that shape our interconnected worlds and yet orient us towards collective liberation.

 

About the Artist

Imani Jacqueline Brown is an artist, activist, writer, and architectural researcher from New Orleans, based in London. Her research is disseminated internationally through art installations, public actions, reports, and testimony delivered to courts and organs of the United Nations. Imani received her MA with distinction from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2019 and her BA in Anthropology and Visual Arts from Columbia University in 2010. Among other things, she is currently a doctoral candidate in the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London, a research fellow with Forensic Architecture, and an associate lecturer in MA Architecture at the Royal College of Art.

 

Credits

This exhibition aspires to abstain from the use of materials derived from fossil fuels.

 

This exhibition is organized by the Storefront Team

Lead Curator: Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa

 

Collaborators: Tobechukwu Onwukeme, Mark Mushiva, Mohamad Safa, Les Cenelles

 

Special thanks from the artist to: Bruce SunPie Barnes, Frank Dexter Brown, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Adrian Lahoud, Godofredo Perreira, Tom Turnbull, Eyal Weizman, Jeanne M. Woods, The Rivers Institute, Amistad Research Center, and The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

 

Graphic design by Estudio Herrera

 

Swamplands

Swamplands, a year of research and programs at Storefront for Art and Architecture focused on the ethical and technical entanglements of water, takes the murky soil and unstable grounds of swamps as a conceptual framework to highlight the ecological and socioeconomic intricacies that lie at the threshold between bodies of water and land. Presenting newly commissioned works and exhibitions that are anchored alongside the coast of the Gulf of Mexico by artists Imani Jacqueline Brown, Gala Porras-Kim, and Fred Schmidt-Arenales, Swamplands explores unique social, political, and economic conditions in the tidelands of Louisiana, Yucatan, and Texas respectively. In addition to the three exhibitions, this multi-sited project will also unfold through public programs, radio broadcasts, a research fellowship, an open call, and a thematic reader connecting with other geographies dealing with the increasing complexities of wetlands.

 

Support

This exhibition has been made possible through the support of the Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Ruth Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment of the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; with invaluable support from Storefront’s Board of Directors, the Storefront Circle, Storefront members, and individual donors. Storefront is a proud member of CANNY (Collaborative Arts Network New York), currently supported by the Mellon Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, Imperfect Family Foundation, and Jay DeFeo Foundation. Storefront extends special thanks to CARA.