Opening Hours: Tue-Sat: 10am-12midnight, Sun-Mon: Closed

The School of Mutants

You Have Not Yet Been Defeated

Thu 6 June — Sat 31 August 2024

Wheelchair accessible

Wheelchair accessible

An installation featuring textiles, fabric and furniture.

The School of Mutants, installation view, 12th Berlin Biennale, Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz. Photo: Courtesy of Dotgain

The School of Mutants and artist-curator Thomas Abercromby are undertaking a research project between Glasgow and Dakar, which aims to explore the creation, dissemination and diversification of knowledge. The project draws inspiration from Senegalese filmmaker and writer Ousmane Sembène's novel God's Bits of Wood, 1960, and seeks to delve into the intertwined narratives of colonialism, extraction, labour, class struggle and freedom.

God's Bits of Wood is set against the backdrop of the 1947-48 Dakar-Niger railway strike, a pivotal labour movement in colonial West Africa. The story follows a diverse cast of characters—workers, their families, and community members—as they unite to challenge French colonial rule and demand better working and living conditions. God's Bits of Wood illustrates the transformative power of collective action and the resilience of oppressed communities in their fight for liberation.

Railways have historically served as an important instrument of colonial coercion, facilitating territorial expansion, forced labour, and material extraction. The project aims to explore historical and contemporary parallels, as well as alternative narratives, between Glasgow, Dakar, and beyond. The research will focus on Glasgow's significance as a locomotive manufacturing centre crucial to British colonial exploitation, establishing parallels and initiating a cross-referenced dialogue with the railroad strikes across l'Afrique Occidentale Française (AOF). Through memory, historical analysis, and fiction, we hope to enrich our understanding of these pivotal moments of resistance and imagine future scenarios for liberation.

You Have Not Yet Been Defeated takes its title from Egyptian-British blogger, software developer, and political activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah's book of the same name. In his book, Abd El-Fattah reflects on the years of uprising against the Mubarak regime in Egypt, from 2011 to 2021, when he was sentenced for spreading "false news undermining national security." His powerful analysis spans from reflections on technology to the importance of solidarity and community, demonstrating what it means to stand for your ideas regardless of the cost. Like Sembène's work in God's Bits of Wood, Abd El-Fattah's writing emphasises that resistance is a communal act rather than an individual effort.

In the spirit of Sembène and Abd El-Fattah's writings, the collective has cultivated this exhibition as a starting point for their ongoing research. It offers an introductory glimpse into their practice and current thinking on pathways toward liberation through a mix of new and previously exhibited work. Emphasising mutation, You Have Not Yet Been Defeated is designed as a co-authored space activated through a public programme, serving as generative moments for developing common ground. The exhibition will continuously evolve, adapt and welcome new elements over time, inviting audiences and collaborators to engage and contribute to the process of collective knowledge-building.

Curated by Thomas Abercromby.

Opening

Join us for the opening Thursday 6 June 7-9pm as part of Glasgow International.

Biographies

The School of Mutants (Boris Raux, Hamedine Kane, Lou Mo, Stéphane Verlet Bottéro, Valérie Osouf and Diane Cescutti) is a nomadic collaborative platform for art and research, initiated in Dakar, Senegal, in 2018. It develops multidisciplinary inquiries on the role of universities and educational infrastructures in the process of forming collective national identities in post-independent Senegal and West Africa. Taking the form of installations, fieldwork, films, archive research, publications, public assemblies and collaborative learning, the project aspires to mobilise spaces for the production, transmission and pluralisation of knowledge in a non-hierarchical way. Engaging with sociocultural, ecological and aesthetic mutations of the real, the artistic process reflects on African futurism, anti-imperialist ecologies, and the legacy of Afro-Asianism, Non-Alignment and southern solidarities.

Thomas Abercromby is an artist and independent curator based between Glasgow and Oslo. His work spans various mediums, including films, sculptures, installations, and pedagogical programming. Central to both his studio and curatorial practice is the exploration of how micro-utopias can be created, spotlighting underrepresented histories and contemporary narratives that challenge and critique prevailing power structures within Western society.

Part of Glasgow International

This exhibition is planned in lieu of our scheduled exhibition with Ashanti Harris, which will be postponed due to unforeseen personal circumstances.

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Details

Event Type

Exhibitions

Location

Gallery

Time

11:00am — 6:00pm

Ages

All ages

Ticketing

Free and unticketed

Accessibility

Wheelchair accessible

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