The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 by Kodwo Eshun (b. 1966, London) and Anjalika Sagar (b. 1968, London) using a name derived from a part of the inner ear sensitive to gravity and motion, responsible for physical equilibrium. The group operates as a platform for dialogue on contemporary art practice, producing films, installations, and performances driven by extensive research into the histories of science fiction and the legacies of tricontinentalism focusing on Asia, Africa, and South America. They rework archival and contemporary images, recorded sound, documentary accounts, and fictional narratives in order to complicate divisions between poetry, history, the real, and the imagined. The film installation O Horizon focuses on Visva-Bharati, a modern school founded in 1921 by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, the cosmopolitan polymath who shaped Indian art, literature, music, and education. Filmed, recorded and researched over five years in Santiniketan, West Bengal, O Horizon stages moments from Tagore’s environmental pedagogy as a series of studies and sketches, drawing together song, music and recital, and evoking a Tagorean imagination for the 21st century. The title refers to the surface layer of soil, changed in the area around Santiniketan as the result of Tagore’s introduction of new flora in development of the campus. In studying these complex trajectories, the film extends The Otolith Group’s ongoing consideration of the Anthropocene, a premise that denotes that the current geological age is one wherein human activity spurs the primary changes on climate and the environment.
The Otolith Group. O Horizon, 2018.
Film still. Courtesy the artists
© The Otolith Group