Senam Okudzeto

Visual Arts
2015
Edith Bloom/Jesse Howard, Jr. Rome Prize
Artist, New York, NY
Lecturer, Kunsthistorisches Seminar, University of Basel
Afro-Dada Glossolalia

What do African Art and Dada have in common? Can these two seemingly distant points in culture be brought together? Afro-Dada-Glossolalia recalls the early influence of African artifacts on Dada and Surrealism and aims to re-inscribe the presence of African visual cultures into the network relations of Dada, Surrealism and modernist industrial culture. The use of Rome as the site for investigation revisits the Rome Dada Season staged by Julius Evola in 1921 and the film L'Age D'or by Luis Bunel where a cacophony of absurd object relations are framed through the laying of cornerstones of a future Rome. The word "glossolalia" is here used to articulate a methodological intent, a so-called 'speaking in tongues' which seeks to channel, or perhaps translate the drives of Dada and Surrealism in order to create a range of new critical and creative departure points, capable of resonating across time, place and aesthetic traditions.This project will be realized through video, installation, painting and sculpture. Recalling the mechanical passions of the Futurists and their brief flirtation with Dada, I intend to create an elucidatory assemblage of objects and artifacts, inspired in part by iconic Italian modernist industrial design and the very corpus of the city of Rome itself.

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