Who can think, what can think is an exhibition that challenges definitions of ‘intelligence’ in relation to human and non-human cognition by embracing understandings of biodiversity and neurodiversity. To question ‘who and what can think’ requires us to confront the troubling history of categorising intelligence that has led to certain groups of people being excluded, controlled and killed, and plants, animals and whole ecosystems being exploited and destroyed. Despite this history, those who worked to understand and value cognitive diversity in all its forms began to influence positive social change. Growing attention to the subjects of biodiversity and neurodiversity has been crucial to such positive change. This exhibition groups a range of artworks that help to address this complex history and to question how these issues influence us today.
→ NZSL exhibition guide
→ Disability Panel Discussion
→ Audio described exhibition tour
→ The chronicle of <cognition> live event series
→ Reading list
Bruce E. Phillips, curator of Who can think, what can think, has provided a reading list of key resources which shaped his thinking around the exhibition.
Some struggles are invisible: Art, neurodiversity, and Aotearoa is an essay written by Bruce E. Phillips and published by Artlink Australia in the Spring 2022 issue of the magazine. We are grateful to Artlink Australia for making the essay freely available in the lead up to, and during, Who can think, what can think.
→ The chronicle of <cognition>
→ Simon Yuill, The Ableism of Networks
→ Simon Yuill, Recovery Time is Labour Time
→ Neuk Collective (Tzipporah Johnston), Double Empathy Problem
→ Artwork information
→ Audio description
→ Easy read – Exhibition guide
→ Easy read – Quiet space rules
→ Exhibition guide (English/Māori, dyslexic friendly format)
→ Gallery map
→ NZSL video
→ Circuit Moving Image – Enabling Phrases, Spaces, Places by Alena Kavka
About the artists
Ana García Jácome
Ana García Jácome is an artist based in Mexico City. Her practice addresses the social construction of disability, how it has been historically represented in comparison to lived experiences, and how this tension provides the opportunity to imagine new ways of articulating unseen or silenced narratives. Her work is a collage of mediums and materials where writing entangles with animated drawings and archival material to form videos and publications that sometimes coexist in space as installations. She holds an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has exhibited at Collective in Edinburgh, the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City and SDSU Art Gallery in San Diego.
Bailee Lobb is a queer, disabled artist based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington whose practice utilises video, electronics, textiles and light to create immersive installation and performance work. She is a founding member of the performance collective Show Us Your Teeth and served on the committee of the Sydney-based AIRspace Projects. In 2018, she co-curated In Motion, a festival and three-week exhibition that incorporated video, kinetic sculpture, performance and sound-based work. Her work Restful Heart was selected as the Supreme Award Winner in the Changing Threads Contemporary Textile and Fibre Art Awards, 2021. Since returning to Aotearoa in late 2019, she has exhibited at Te Atamira in Queenstown and Toi Pōneke Gallery in Wellington.
Devin Ronneberg (Hawaiian, Okinawan) is a transdisciplinary artist born, raised and based in Los Angeles, working primarily between sculpture, sound, image-making, installation, programing, engineering, computational media and artificial intelligence. His work is currently focused on the unseen implications of emergent technologies and artificial intelligence, information control and collection, and the radiation of invisible forces. Ronneberg’s work has most recently been exhibited at Chronus Art Center Shanghai, the Experimenta 2021 Triennial, MoMA Doc Fortnight 2021, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, EFA Project Space, MoCNA and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and he is a Sundance Art of Practice 2021–22 and New Frontiers 2020 Fellow.
Jae Hoon Lee
Jae Hoon Lee is a Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland-based artist who creates surreal digital imagery of humans and the natural environment. His elaborate composite photographs and videos often depict plants, clouds, landscapes and geological features as vast, amorphous and otherworldly entities. Lee has exhibited extensively throughout Aotearoa New Zealand at museums and galleries such as Auckland Art Gallery and Gus Fisher Gallery in Auckland, City Gallery and Adam Art Gallery in Wellington, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Christchurch Art Gallery and The Physics Room in Christchurch; and internationally at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in Sydney, Cemeti Art House in Yogyakarta, Today Art Museum in Beijing, Frankfurter Welle in Frankfurt, Canvas International in Amsterdam and Chang-Dong Gallery in Seoul. In 2014 he undertook a residency at the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York.
Kite (Oglála Lakȟóta) is a performance artist, visual artist, composer and currently a PhD candidate at Concordia University. Kite’s scholarship and practice explore contemporary Lakȟóta ontology through research creation, computational media and performance. Kite’s artwork and performance have been included in numerous exhibitions at galleries and museums such as the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; the Anthology Film Archives, Vera List Center, Whitney Museum and PS122 in New York; Plug In Contemporary in Winnipeg, Toronto Biennial and Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff in Canada; and Chronus Art Center in Shanghai; as well as the Experimenta Triennial in Australia.
Laresa Kosloff is a Naarm/Melbourne-based artist who works across a range of media to examine representational strategies concerning the body and its agency within the everyday. Humour is woven throughout Kosloff’s work, whether it be in questioning the act of ‘looking’ within the public realm or drawing out the tensions between received cultural values, individual agency and free will. Kosloff has exhibited throughout Australia and abroad in museums and galleries such as ACCA in Melbourne, the Art Gallery of NSW and Artspace in Sydney, and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. She is represented by Sutton Gallery in Melbourne.
Martin Awa Clarke Langdon
Martin Awa Clarke Langdon (Kāi Tahu, Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Whāwhākia, Ngāti Hikairo) is an artist, curator and educator based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington. His artistic practice seeks to navigate Māori and Pākehā worldviews and to engage audiences in exploring cultural entanglement. This approach has led him to work across a range of artforms and media such as typeface design, performance, sculpture and interactive installations, as well as conversational and collaborative projects. Langdon has exhibited throughout Aotearoa New Zealand in galleries such as Te Tuhi and ST PAUL St Gallery in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau, Toi Pōneke in Wellington, COCA and The Physics Room in Christchurch/Ōtautahi, and as part of the 2020 iteration of SCAPE Public Art in Christchurch.
Neuk Collective is a neurodivergent artist collective based in Scotland that advocates for neurodivergent people in the arts.
Prue Stevenson is a Naarm/Melbourne-based multidisciplinary artist who explores autistic pleasures, necessities and culture and confronts the systems that oppress and dehumanise autistic people. Working with oil, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, installation and performance, she uses repetitive and tactile processes to allow for experiences of sensory play, and creates spaces and opportunities for downtime. She holds a Master of Fine Art from RMIT, Melbourne; is a member of Rawcus Theatre; and has exhibited, performed and contributed to programmes throughout Australia at galleries and museums such as the MCA in Sydney, the Perth Brain Centre and the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne.
Simon Yuill is an artist and researcher based in Glasgow. His work includes the use of interviews, writing, film, custom software systems and textile works. Yuill has published with MIT Press, Bloomsbury and Edinburgh University Press; has been a Research Resident and Visiting Fellow at the Piet Zwart Institute, Goldsmiths and the University of Warwick; and in 2008 was the inaugural winner of the Vilém Flusser Theory Award in Berlin. His work has been exhibited throughout Scotland at galleries such as the CCA in Glasgow, Collective in Edinburgh, Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen and the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden.
Stefan Kaegi creates documentary theatre plays, audio-interventions, curated formats and works in the urban environment in a diverse variety of collaborative partnerships. Using research, public auditions and conceptual processes, he often gives voice to ‘experts’ who are not trained actors but have something to tell. Most of his works are released under the label ‘Rimini Protokoll’—a Berlin-based theatre collective he founded together with Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel in 2000. Rimini Protokoll has received numerous awards such as the 2007 Faust Theatre Prize, the 2008 European prize “New Realities in Theatre”; the Silver Lion at the 2011 Venice Biennale for performing arts; and the Excellence award of the 17th Japan Media Festival in 2013. In 2015 Stefan Kaegi and Rimini Protokoll received the Grand Prix Theater/Hans-Reinhart-Ring at the Swiss Theater Awards.
The chronicle of <_______>
The chronicle of <_______> is a collective of art practitioners who attempt to create an archive of works that traverse spacetime through various technologies, histories, perspectives and speculative realities. Organised into ‘chronicles’, early iterations have included writing, live streaming, video, publications and sound works and have engaged various topics such as human/non-human and nature relations, time-travel, computer gaming, neurodiversity, Indigeneity and artificial intelligence.
About Bruce E. Phillips
Bruce E. Phillips (Pākehā/NZ European) is an Edinburgh-based arts practitioner from Aotearoa often working as a project manager, writer and curator. His practice is dedicated to working alongside others to address unrealised potential, overlooked histories or to confront social inequalities. Phillips has curated many exhibitions featuring over 200 artists such as Tania Bruguera, Ruth Ewan, Amanda Heng, Tehching Hsieh, Maddie Leach, William Pope.L, Peter Robinson, Santiago Sierra, Shannon Te Ao, Ruth Watson and The Otolith Group. As a writer he has contributed reviews and articles for art magazines and journals including ArtAsiaPacific, ArtLink Australia, Art News New Zealand and Contemporary HUM. In 2022, he completed a PhD through Massey University focussing on curatorial practice in Aotearoa.
This exhibition took influence from many other exhibitions and benefited from the support and advice of other curators and artists. Bruce would like to thank the following people for contributing to this curatorial process:
Eugene Hansen and Jenny Gillam from The chronicle <_______> collective
Rachael Harlow from South London Gallery
Siobhan Carroll from Collective in Edinburgh
Tzipporah Johnston and Robyn Benson from Neuk Collective in Scotland
Una Rey from Artlink Australia Magazine