Curator Natasha Ginwala has collected artists such as John Akomfrah, Chto Delat, Jitish Kallat, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, SAHMAT and Ala Younis, among several others, to explore the conditions of “the riot”. Delving into economies, anxieties, communal divides, racial violence, genocide, police control and collective societies, the works toe a line between artistic expression and social practice to consider unrest beginning with colonial modernity and continuing through to the present day.
Tackling the rational and irrational causes and effects of a rioting public, the curatorial statement indicates that “A certain darkness and negativity remains concealed in the phenomenon of the riot.” Noting that rioting remains a criminalised activity across both liberal and conservative spheres that can largely be read as failed negotiations, the exhibition attempts to address questions such as, “How may the revolutionary potential of rioters’ demands be read within the circuits of recent history and contemporary society?” and “How are we to understand the transgressive matrices of public rebellion, since riots frequently unfold into larger revolts, insurgencies, and systemic transformation?”
By looking at movement on the fringes of civic order, Riots underlines how dissident actions undermine modern democracy and capitalism, but also serve as a symptom to overly dominant powers. This divide creates further fear, frustration, and as the showcase rounds out its programme with lectures, conversations, performances and screenings, it ultimately aims to interrogate how riots simultaneously renegotiate the status quo, and act as a testing ground for the targeting of vulnerable groups.