Nolan Oswald Dennis

A Curriculum for Mud: Eroticeum, 2022, performative installation

📍 Venue → Hospital

Nolan Oswald Dennis is a para-disciplinary artist whose practice explores the material and metaphysical conditions of decolonization, questioning the politics of space and time through a system-specific rather than site-specific approach. Their practice recombines social, technical, political, and spiritual systems grounded in the planetary condition of landlessness and is guided by the overlapping theories and practices of black, indigenous, and queer liberation. The new work in the artist’s series A Curriculum for Mud (2017–) takes the shape of a greenhouse—a semi-permeable model of an impossible outside. As a controlled environment facility, the greenhouse creates a viable environment for particular forms of life—in this case, plants grown from seeds brought by the artist. Inside, a series of transparent domes illuminated by red LED grow lights sits on planting tables, each dome creating a nested environment in which a different essay from the Czech translation of Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider (1984, published by tranzit.cz in 2021) is cultivated with wildflowers from Southern Africa. A set of care protocols as well as hand sprayers sits next to the domes, which the public is encouraged to use to humidify the environments of the domes.

Nolan Oswald Dennis (*1988) holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand and a master’s of science in art, culture, and technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They are a founding member of the tech healing agency NTU as well as the Index Literacy Program, a collaborative research project between the US, Brazil, and South Africa collecting new theories for our indexical present. Nolan Oswald Dennis is a research associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design research center at the University of Johannesburg.