20 November 2023–26 November 2023
Assimilate & Destroy I & II
by Sofía Gallisá Muriente
Part of Alserkal Art Week
A series of works that visualise the form in which climate conditions leave a memory in the tropics.
Sofía experiments with biodeterioration processes on celluloid, to register and accelerate the impermanence of images and the material evidence of history. The title, Assimilate & Destroy, refers to two processes that occur simultaneously during the decomposition of film due to salt in the air, considering their poetic and strategic implications in order to digest political processes.
Assimilate & Destroy I
Black and white 16mm film exposed to salt
Footage of an ice skating rink in Puerto Rico melting in salt, a mineral that, among other properties, liberates cold and absorbs humidity. The documentation of these chemical processes is transferred to the colonial imaginary of the snow, and its impossibility of surviving the tropics.
Assimilate & Destroy II
Colour 16mm exposed to humidity and mould
A home movie showing a day on the beach with the artists’ grandmother in Levittown, Puerto Rico, decomposes after being buried in her yard with leaves, fruits and insects after her death. Pelé Sánchez Tormes collaborated in the sound, recorded from instruments made with sand and rocks from Levittown.
Thanks to Kathryn Ramey for her support in the development of this series.
Sofía Gallisá Muriente is an artist whose practice claims the freedom of historical agency, proposing mechanisms for remembering and reimagining. She employs text, image and archive as medium and subject, exploring their poetic and political implications. She has been a fellow of the Cisneros Institute at MoMA, Smithsonian Institute, Puerto Rican Arts Initiative and the Flaherty Seminar, and a resident artist at the Vieques Historical Archive, Alice Yard, FAARA and Amant. Her work has been shown recently in Documenta Fifteen, MoMA, the Whitney Museum, Savvy Contemporary, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, and galleries El Kilómetro and Embajada. From 2014 to 2020, she co-directed the artist-run organisation Beta-Local in San Juan. In 2023, she was awarded the Latinx Artist Fellowship and published the artist book Observatorio de lagunas: notas de campo with Editorial Educación Emergente.