TOPOGRAPHY OF DECAY: OPEN LIBRARY
Asymmetry HQ, 102a Albion Drive, London E8 4LY
'Topography of Decay’ is a multi-part programme series comprising of a self-published zine and artist book, a panel discussion, and open library sessions on the themes of queer ecology, geotrauma, and risk capitalism. The programme brings together artist and educator Shuyi Cao, our alumnus Hang Li, the inaugural Curatorial Writing Fellow at Chisenhale Gallery, and our Goldsmiths PhD Scholar Yuhang Zhang. Through drawing, storytelling, artist-book making, 'Topography of Decay' conjures up ways in which deadly matters intersect with a world conditioned by capitalism and dark ecology.
Sensing a looming breakdown in the natural, cultural and psychological realms, the programme aims to create space for different modes of sense-making amongst more-than-human beings by thinking with skins, swells, wastes, and residuals in the interlacing areas of metabolism, infiltration, death, and longing. Making multi-medium sculptures as speculative fossils to contemplate prehistoric futurity, Shuyi Cao contemplates ways of world-making that unravel monstrous intimacy and queer kinship across a myriad of networked life forms and incompatible scales. Exploring storytelling as an embodied practice, Hang Li works with trauma and affective intensities as inter-corporeal residuals that seep and bleed across psychological territories of human and non-human beings. Yuhang Zhang fictionally traces a thread to the dark history of universal degradation, decay, and conspiracy. At the core of the project is a fundamental question: in face of the horror of an impending extinction stretching to deep time, how do we situate ourselves in the all-too-human conditions of everyday attachment and struggles?
During two open library sessions, Yuhang Zhang and Hang Li will display and share the myriad writings, diagrams, and research visuals in their zine publication, along with books that inspire their work and reference literature drawn from our library.
FIRST SESSION: 'INFILTRATION: THE MOVING LOCUS OF BREAKDOWN’
The first session will centre on the research collective’s thoughts on the tensions and affinities between adjacent inhabitants when it comes to psychological, biological, and geological breakdowns. They will share the collective’s thinking on how trauma and indigestion could enact situational (un)learning, challenging the fixtures of what is internalised and what is beyond reach.
SECOND SESSION: 'INFECTION: THE SECRET PACT WITH ALL BEINGS'
The second session will focus on the intricacies of inhuman agencies intertwined with deep structures. They will delve into how beings of varying scales navigate and undergo mutations in relation to one another. The discussion will unravel the peculiar nature of these trajectories, whether organic, inorganic, or abstract, as they inevitably unfold into realms of the 'weird.'
Copies of the zine, 'Topography of Decay,' will be distributed to attendees and readers at the open library.
The publication will materialise in two versions: an open edition zine; and an artist book with an edition of 25. It was made with the design and visual co-researching by Xinyao Huang.
FREE ENTRY, BOOK HERE
PANEL DISCUSSION, 6-7.30PM, 15.12.2023
Complementing the open library sessions will be a panel discussion hosted by Hang Li and Yuhang Zhang in person, and joined by Shuyi Cao on Zoom. The panel discussion will intimate a divagation into queer ecological thinking, gothic materialism, and posthumanist discourses by exploring subjects such as wildness, nonhuman relationality, and geotrauma.
FREE ENTRY, BOOK HERE