Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber

Look for Me All Around You

Look for Me All Around You is an open platform of migrant images and fugitive forms concerned with the alternatively dispossessive and repossessive disposition of diasporisation as an aporetic phenomenon of the contemporary.

Made manifest as after-forms and after-images in a state of emergence under conditions of performance, Look for Me All Around You operates as a metascore composed of multiple scores drawn from the many scales of Sharjah as city, emirate, and peninsular territory, in response to human and material displacement and digitalization. Such a premise forms the basis from which to lay bare standards of display predicated upon the notion of exhibiting, rife with colonial underpinning, essentialist beginnings, and materialist ends—metaphors for contemporary operations of production and consumption whose spatial and temporal provisions of visibility are put under scrutiny while the miraculous arms of disidentification and misrecognition between piracy, clandestinity and fugitivity are summoned.

Par for the diasporic course, the migratory journey, the heretic pilgrimage, Look for Me All Around You takes as a point of departure Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.’s (1887-1940) unrelenting address to “Look for me in the whirlwind or a storm, look for me all around you…” (1925) to stand witness to the imperilment of the contemporary in the atomised space between ‘me’ and ‘you.’ Conceived as a contrapuntal proposal to the realm of the retinal embedded within hegemonic structures of looking, learning, and feeling, Look for Me All Around You is an address to the redistribution of the sensible and a call for the repossession of perception. In Look for Me All Around You, what is being ‘looked for’ is not what is being ‘looked at’—if only it could be seen.

Sited in the consciousness of blackness as a state of political becoming and sighted through the retinal attunement to obscurity as enlightenment from the low, Look for Me All Around You brings the circumnavigation of global history to a circle full of concentric ripples at the confluence of the Gulfs of Mexico and Oman, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans thus functioning as an always-already othered time-space (dis)-continuum—a heterochronotopia. In reveling in ephemeral practices, performative gestures and provisional propositions in a call-and-response between the Americas and the Arabian Gulf, it reveals both the immiscibility of these regions’ respective historical flows and the constitutive qualities of their contemporary manifestations as a consequence of resource extraction and labor sourcing practices, their material aftermaths and displaced artefacts, coded languages and sonic disturbances.

As Look for Me All Around You surges into a fugue to unsettle the chamber, it strives to release the echo.