Ram Shergill Posthuman Bodying The Birth of a Critical Posthuman Practice
10 April - 7 May 2022 Opening event: Sunday 10 April 2 - 4pm
Opening times: Thursday and Friday: 2pm - 6pm Saturday: 12pm - 4pm or by appointment
Ram Shergill Posthuman Bodying The Birth of a Critical Posthuman Practice
10 April - 7 May 2022
In the first exhibition of two Ram Shergill brings together new works of sculptures, photography and living matter (living artworks). Between the first and second exhibition period, microalgae and living matter will grow on the sculptures, photographs, and Bioregenerative Mask Systems. Ram Shergill’s career in photography and portraiture has informed his interests and research into the body, the environments we exist in, and our shifting into new relations with other livings forms.
Working closely with biochemical engineering, architectural design and bioregenerative methods, Shergill’s work hypothesizes modes of “becoming other together” through sympoiesis (making-with in collectively producing systems). Assemblages of human and non-human agency are established, forging a new form of “Critical Posthuman Practice,” furthering the concept of a new human — a human after the pre-existing human. A new identity is formed through Posthuman Bodying, in which the human body engages in pertinent and critical relations with nature and the ecological environment.
Ram Shergill’s work analyses the human body through a performative and aesthetic façade, depicting a visual “Growth of Form.” The human body itinerates radically extending its perceived anatomy, creating new alliances with various species altruistically in the creation of an enhanced “Critical Posthuman Body.” Nature advances through co-evolving, posing a direct challenge to the perception of “being” as linear and static. Instead, this work contends that the human body is a collective of multiple organisms and the human can be extended further to become natural in an environment via a form of organic Posthuman Bodying.
The artworks set out to critically question the intra-relationship between human, animal, and botanic organisms. This exhibition sets the foundation to go beyond the visual (re)appropriation of animal characteristics in human appearance, and acts as a catalyst for developing new technologies in the fields of external morphology. This exhibition is part one of the exploration into Ram Shergill’s Carapace systems which will eventually create an outer layer of biogenic flesh, using methods of adaption, growth, and reconfiguration as a response to harsher conditions on Earth and for life support beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Part 2 (end of Feb/March 2023, exact dates to be announced) The second part of the exhibition will see the developed process of the living art works and elaborate on the concept of “Critical Posthuman Bodying” developing the notion of “intra-relationships” of the human and nonhuman form. Shergill’s living artworks will be exhibited at MOCA London (Peckham), which depict “function and form,” elucidating bodily forms of art and technology through performativity, in the construction of “The Critical Posthuman Carapace.”
For part 2 there will be a symposium in collaboration with University College London, including a panel discussion regarding Ram Shergill’s concept of a “Critical Posthuman Practice.” The symposium and panel discussion will feature prolific international guest speakers from the world of art, academia, and technology.
Biography: Ram Shergill is currently undertaking doctoral research at University College London, The Bartlett of Architecture under the supervision of Professor of innovative environments, Professor Marcos Cruz, and Associate Professor in sustainable bioprocess design at UCL Biochemical Engineering, Dr. Brenda Parker. His thesis title is “The Critical Posthuman Carapace: Constructing Exoskeletal Hybrid Living Systems (EHLS)” in which he creates novel forms of architecture in constructing a carapace acting as a shield to the body, as a response to harsher conditions on Earth and beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Using architectural design in combination with biochemical engineering, forms of bioregenerative outputs are created, combining human with non-human organisms, explicating a mode of critical posthuman practice. His research aims to explore the present-day body from a new and uncharted viewpoint using advanced apparatus and technologies. Examining forms of sympoietic relationality, challenging the perception of the body as a singular cultural agent. Methodologically, the systemic approaches in creating a carapace will function as a set of biologically integrated interfaces between the body and its surroundings.
In principle, Shergill’s research sets out to reimagine and redefine the body in an environmentally fragile planet — achieving new aesthetics, evidencing systems and materials which respond to internal and external transformations relating to the human body, through the construction of Exoskeletal Hybrid Living Systems (EHLS).
Ram Shergill captures a kaleidoscope of different cultures through his interdisciplinery art practice including, photography, film, creative direction, fine art and design. Internationally recognised for his contribution to the industry, Ram remains at the forefront of his field, using methodologies in creative practice to create a discussion that questions the notion of identity, dress and the power of performitivity. Ram is a visiting lecturer at UAL and has previously lectured at Falmouth University and Arts University Bournemouth. In addition to lecturing, he has been a keynote speaker at various conferences and galleries internationally. Being of British Indian origin has given Ram an intercultural upbringing allowing him to understand the effects of marginalisation and underrepresentation. In his practice, he has been rectifying effects of marginalisation and inequality in the university setting and in the workplace. Fundamentally, this has been achieved by Ram taking on an active role in leading more of an inclusive pedagogy through contemporary and pertinent EDI practice and research.
Ram was awarded the Arts Culture and Theatre Award (ACTA) in 2016 for his contribution to the arts. His work has been shown in exhibitions internationally including Sotheby’s, The Wallace Collection, Somerset House, and the Whitechapel Gallery. Ram Shergill’s portraits are now housed in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
Image credits: 1.The Critical Posthuman Mask 2 Design and photography by @ramshergill Art Direction by Daen Palma Huse @dphproduction, Talent @savannaahblake, Artistic Lampworker Ian Pearson Make Up: Debbie Finnegan @debbie_f_makeup, Hair: Nicola Harrowell at Premier Hair and Make-Up @premierhairandmakeup, Nails: Julia Babbage @nailsby_julia_ 2.Bioregenerative Algal Intestine Design and photography by @ramshergill Art Direction by Daen Palma Huse @dphproduction, Artistic Lampworker Ian Pearson, Talent @fred_goudi 3.The Critical Posthuman Mask 1 Design and photography by @ramshergill Art Direction by Daen Palma Huse @dphproduction, Talent Eve Delf @delfydelf, Artistic Lampworker Ian Pearson, Make Up DebbieFinnegan @debbie_f_makeup, Hair: Nicola Harrowell at Premier Hair and Make-Up @premierhairandmakeup, Nails: Julia Babbage @nailsby_julia_ 4 and 8.Bioregenerative Algal Mask Design and Photography by @ramshergill, Art Direction by Daen Palma Huse @dphproduction, Artistic Lampworker Ian Pearson, Talent @fred_goudie 5. Protection’ Acrylic Print on Aluminium, Leica Gallery Los Angeles, 2018 6.Bioregenerative Algal Mask, Design and Photography by @ramshergill, Art Direction by Daen Palma Huse @dphproduction, Artistic Lampworker Ian Pearson, Talent @rennakaaki 7.Bioregenerative Mask System (BMS), Design and photography by @ramshergill, Art Direction by Daen Palma Huse @dphproduction, Talent Eve Delf @delfydelf, Artistic Lampworker Ian Pearson, Armour Designer Stylist: Jack Irving @[email protected], Make Up DebbieFinnegan @debbie_f_makeup, Hair: Nicola Harrowell at Premier Hair and Make-Up, Nails: Julia Babbage @nailsby_julia_ 9. Diatom Biddulphia SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope), image by @ramshergill, Taken at The Natural History Museum, Special thanks to Dr. David Williams and Professor Anson Mackay UCL Geography specialist in environment Baikal lakes freshwater isotopes palaeoecology diatoms climate 10.The Butterfly Ball,[email protected] 2018, C-Type Print
MOCA London 113 Bellenden Road SE15 4QY
During Exhibitions: Open Thursday and Friday: 2pm - 6pm Open Saturday: 12pm - 4pm or by appointment