life-bestowing cadaverous soooooooooooooooooooot

A research exhibition and live programme collated by Rae-Yen Song 宋瑞渊
gallery text | video documentation

Emii Alrai, Hazel Brill, Kara Chin, Choy Ka Fai, Jonny Geber, Sophia Yadong Hao, Asli Hatipoğlu, Terence Heng, Sabrina Henry, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, April Lin 林森, XinRan Liu, Louise Mackenzie (supported by ASCUS), Amy McBride, Kaajal Modi, Aniara Omann, Divya Osbon, Tommy Perman, Rectangle, Rumpus Room, Rae-Yen Song 宋瑞渊, Clarinda Tse 雍記, Mi You

“In this research exhibition and live programme, Rae-Yen Song serves as both artist and researcher. Song presents new work, and has invited artists and thinkers to come together to speculate on the potentials of world-building. life-bestowing cadaverous soooooooooooooooooooot forms a testing ground from which multiple possible worlds and entanglements can be glimpsed via a range of artworks, prototypes, experiments, artefacts, models, and research practices.

The soot of the show’s title is the sunken mist of decaying animal and vegetable matter, which continuously rains down from the ocean’s upper reaches to its obscure depths. It is referenced in Vilém Flusser’s meditations on Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, the squid which, as an impossibly distant relative of human beings, thrives in a fathomless underwater zone which is utterly hostile to us. Vampyroteuthis feeds off this oceanic cadaverous soot, and Song uses this relationship as a figure via which to think of composite cycles, beginnings and endings, the giving of life to the ashes of death; and through which to speculate on alternative futures which could be built from the debris of the present.

The work of this exhibition is in the amassing of this debris, to form matter that seeks to nourish the potential for untested life-to-come. This matter is suffused with concepts of diasporic~ancestral mythologies/religions/philosophies; abstracted homes~lands; imagined futures~kin; and other ways of being that resist and dream beyond our current, increasingly unliveable realities. The exhibition draws on Rae-Yen’s own speculative map – reflecting on the cartographies of personal ancestors’ movements across time, space and culture – to pose questions for an imagined thirdspace, based on a creation mythology emerging from the stories and legacies held within Rae-Yen’s family.

life-bestowing cadaverous soooooooooooooooooooot represents a stage of germination in a cycling between life and death. It speaks to a phase of deep potential, the gathering of thoughts, the continuity of change, the sharing of ideas, and the sensations of new growth which will shape a subsequent stage in the cycle – to take form as a solo exhibition at Tramway’s main gallery in 2025.”