Cosmic archeology is a series of site specific acts that explore the transformative encounters between reality and current cultural theories that reconsider life’s sustainability. By reflecting on a specific narrative form, science fiction, it aims to engage and speculate on new systems of social relations and ecnomical structres.

Cosmic Archeology series 2021

  • Tabita Rezaire: Ultra Wet – Recapitulation, 23.4.–6.6.2021 
  • Alia Farid: At the time of the Ebb, 11.6.–15.8.2021 
  • Mox Mäkelä: Vieras, 20.8.–10.10.2021 
  • Patricia Domínguez: Green Irises, 15.10.–5.12.2021 

Exhibition Broschure Cosmic Archeology 2021

Since its very origins, this form of storytelling has had an influence on theoretical discourses around contemporary culture (for example, the way technologies have affected the human eperience globally, or the catastrophic impacts connected to a natural event). In framing these aspects, sci-fi could be considered as a metaphor to reflect upon the idea of shift. In doing so it then becommes necessary to prompt new imaginaries, escaping the traditional dichotomies between “marginal-central”, to create a better understanding of the ecosystems each of us comes to shape, affect, and foster.  

Exactly as a book, Cosmic archeology is divided in four chapters staged in the form of exhibitions that respond to exchanges between practices and beliefs at the origin of civilization, touching four specific aspects: subjectivity, social organizations, economies and species. 

Technological and cultural dimensions of futurity, at the center of sci-fi narrations, open up to discourses related to notions of time, and time travels, which both share the idea of generative exchanges. Considering this idea of transformation, the program refers to the legacy of Leonora Carrington (1917-2011), whose work from the 40s focused on the underlying theme of women’s role in society. Metamorphosis and alterations, constant themes in her work, draw on Carrington’s hybrid world full of strange and slightly disconcerting figures. Her commitment to linking psychic freedom with a specifically feminist political consciousness gives her a unique place in Surrealist history. Writing has always been a creative activity of equal importance as painting to Carrington, and her texts are extraordinary and complex narratives informed by her interests in mythology, alchemy, fairy tales and the occult.

At the crossroad between surrealism and esoteric feminism the text by Carrington “What Is a Woman?”, written in 1970 as a response to the upsurge of the female revolts around the planet, offers the territory for envisioning possible imaginaries and intersections between body, sexuality, ethnicity, gender and post-colonialism. Moving from these considerations and the very notion of body and its transformative essence, her words bring into question the subjective awareness of one's femininity. Cosmic Archeology projects these reflections onto the contemporary scenario, where artists adopt similar languages, which are not explicit and didactic, and that originate from both a sci-fi imaginary and a subjective one. Overcoming gender classifications, the aim of the program is to show an intersectional discourse connecting the female body to the colonized, economically exploited one, suggesting the model of ecology as a body cure.   

Lucia Aspesi

Each year, WAMx presents a new international exhibition series. This year’s series is curated by Lucia Aspesi, assisting curator at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan.

Photo: Leonora Carrington Penelope Mexico City 1957.