27 April – 20 August 2017
Swedish artist Emanuel Almborg’s (b. 1981) commission for the Whitechapel Gallery explores educational models and forms of mediation. Titled Learning Matter (2017), this new work is presented alongside two of the artist’s existing films The Majority Never Has Right On Its Side (2013) and Talking Hands (2016) this summer.
Exploring the relationship to everyday technology, Almborg’s commission has been developed in collaboration with his mother, educator Agneta Almborg, and a group of 7 to 10-year-olds from Mayflower Primary school in east London. Using clay, photography and video, they investigated the impact of regular tablet and smartphone use on attention span, social interaction and how we view the world. The workshops were documented by Agneta Almborg on her Minolta 35mm camera and the resulting photographs are tangible documentation of the research process. Learning Matter considers how material conditions and technologies shape social relations.
The Majority Never Has Right On Its Side examines the antiauthoritarian teaching methods deployed at Summerhill, a democratic school founded in Suffolk in the 1920s by the socialist educator A.S. Neill (1883–1973). Using the school’s video archive, Almborg traces Summerhill’s visual history, utopian principles and the challenges of creating alternatives today.
Talking Hands combines 1960s archival footage from the Zagorsk school, outside Moscow, for deaf-blind children with a conversation between Almborg and one of its former students, Alexander Suvorov. Established by Marxist philosopher Evald Ilyenkov (1924–79), the school pioneered new ideas on how human consciousness develops in relation to material objects and tools.
Notes to Editors
– Emanuel Almborg (b. 1981) is a Swedish artist living in Stockholm. He studied at Konstfack, Stockholm, at Goldsmiths College, London (MFA in Fine Art, 2005-07); and Whitney Independent Study Programme, Studio, New York (2014-15). In 2012-13 he was a resident artist at Gasworks, London, supported by Iaspis. Recent solo shows include That Which Follows, Konsthall C, Stockholm (2012), Nothing is Left to Tell, Muro Gallery, Geneva (2011), Second Origin, Gallery Detroit, Stockholm (2010), and The Rest is Silence, Formcontent, London (2009). The artist has also participated in various group exhibitions, including Field Studies, Group Show, Altes Finanzamt, Berlin (2011), The Snow White Banquet, Screening, Centre de Pompidou, Paris (2010), Runaway Train, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2010), Loop International Festival and Fair for Video Art, Barcelona (2008), and One Must Be So Careful These Days, Alma Enterprises, London (2007). Recent screenings and public events include the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo: ‘Incerteza Viva’ (2016); Screening, The Majority Never has Right on its Side Beursschouwburg, Brussels; Screening, VCA/Sidur Museum, Moscow; 29 June-10 August 2016, Time of Reasonable Doubts at NCCA, Moscow; Screening and artist talk, Rosas House of Culture, St. Petersburg, Russia; MEANING MAKING MEANING, A-venue in Gothenburg, Sweden.
– Prompted by his ideas around the new commission, Almborg will be in conversation with Daskalopoulos Head of Education and Public Programmes Sofia Victorino on Sunday 18 June, 3pm at the Whitechapel Gallery. For more information on events visit whitechapelgallery.org/events
– The project is supported by the Embassy of Sweden and by Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.
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