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Unseen Guests Post-National Digital Pavilion

Lecture Performances Specifications for a Reverse Archaeology (Table Read) convened by Nolan Oswald Dennis

25 Sep 2024

This table read presents an opportunity for audiences to participate in a collaborative process of archival research as a way of reflecting on a shared colonial history.

  • Location(s)

    Stuart Hall Library (London)

    second in-person location TBA


  • Date and time

    Wednesday, 25 September 2024

  • Time

    5:30 - 7:30pm

  • Admission

    Free, booking required.

  • Artists

    Nolan Oswald Dennis

Specifications for a Reverse Archaeology is an experimental film series by Nolan Oswald Dennis ruminating on geological-spiritual structures of deep time and archaeological memory under conditions of landlessness.

A set of speculative devices is offered as a path into looking, inspired by a complex history of seeing and touching the land. These instruments act as intermediaries which occlude, distort, and intercede between the image and the viewer, transforming what is offered and what is taken.

Specifications for a Reverse Archaeology is a meditation on the poetics of desire, deformation, and estrangement. Treating them as useful allies in staging a dialogue for reconstructing ethical relations to the land (and the planet) where no such relation is possible.

Convened by Nolan Oswald Dennis, this table read presents an opportunity for audiences to participate in a collaborative process of archival research as a way of reflecting on a shared colonial history.

This hybrid event will take place across two physical locations (Stuart Hall Library in London, and second location TBA), and online. More information on how to join will be made available soon.

Unseen Guests and associated events are supported by the British Council

About the artist

Nolan Oswald Dennis is a para-disciplinary artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Their practice explores ‘a black consciousness of space’ – the material and metaphysical conditions of decolonization – questioning histories of space and time through system-specific interventions.

They hold a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits 2012) and a Science Master’s degree in Art, Culture and Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT 2018).

They work within and against a grammar of world-making: using indexical, analytic and educational devices (drawings, diagrams, maps, models, etc) as ambiguous tools for rehearsing possible meanings rather than forms of instruction. Their practice recombines social, technical, political and spiritual systems grounded in a planetary condition of landlessness and guided by the overlapping theories and practices of black, indigenous and queer liberation.

Their work has been featured in exhibitions at the Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg, Cape Town, London), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Van Abbemuseum, the Seoul Mediacity Biennial, Young Congo Biennale (Kinshasa), FRONT triennial (Columbus), Shanghai Biennial, Videobrasil, Liverpool Biennial and the Lagos Biennial among others.

They are a founding member of artist group NTU, a research associate at the VIAD research centre at the University of Johannesburg, and a member of the Index Literacy Program.