Sofía Córdova brings together works by the Puerto Rico-born, Oakland-based artist, performer, and musician. The exhibition represents their ongoing meditation on impending ecological collapse from the perspective of and experienced most profoundly by black and brown communities in the present, future, and imagined.
Strongly influenced by science fiction, poetry, and avant-garde performance, this body of work previews our altered(ing) landscape and our compromised experience in the face of disaster seen most clearly in dawn chorus i:_LA PREKUELA, (2016-2021) and dawn chorus ii: el niagara en bicicleta (2018), the first two works in a triptych and exhibited together for the first time. In dawn chorus i, Córdova presents earth in the distant future – a ‘play within a play’ set in the early days of collapsing contemporary systems including global industrial capitalism and the 500 years that follow. dawn_chorus ii is largely shaped by recent climate-change related natural disasters and the subsequent mishandling that results in individual loss and collective trauma.
While each work explores distinct instances and effects of these considerations, viewers are guided by interconnected characters and vocabulary within all four works – time as speculative; climate disaster as persistent, man-made, and compounded by our systems; the land as the primary protagonist; and sound (sometimes dissonant sound) as present and active figure.
An “anti-documentary,” SIN AGUA I: expectations crowned by its own desire (2017) loops back and forth between Córdova’s research on indigeneity, the improbable and excessive presence of water in the corporate cityscape of Pheonix, AZ, and personal narrative. They Held Dances On The Graves Of Those Who Died In The Terror 1-10, 22, 24 (2014) describes a world where discos are held on concrete slabs under a dying sun and human survivors are in constant peril from each other and the hostile conditions they face; the work ’sounds like’ those human activities are happening all while never showing human figures.
Throughout all four works, our insistence on the dominance of the land instead of interconnection makes for our demise. Our longing for ritual, the land as lover are intervention and survival.
“This here is beautiful. It is fragile”
from the accompanying exhibition text
Sofía Córdova is on view at Alabama Contemporary in Mobile through May 8, 2021.