Landscape of Anticipation 2.0, 2021
Nine digital videos (color, sound) displayed on monitors; vinyl decals
Running time: 4 minutes, 40 seconds, looped
Courtesy of the artist and Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects
“I gravitate towards the utopian potentials of digital space (post-race, post-gender, post-human, etc.), but understand that people live in real bodies that experience real consequences based on how they are gendered, sexed, raced, and classed. [. . .] I constantly bring us back to actual bodies in space. . . not just phantoms that exist in digital space.”
—Saya Woolfalk to Connie Picard
With her new video installation Landscape of Anticipation 2.0, 2021, Saya Woolfalk (she/her/hers) anticipates a radical future for technology—and also for identity. The sci-fi figures we meet in this work belong to the artist’s imagined population of Empathics, or chimerical creatures that are fusions of women, animals, and plants. These humanoids appear to defy categorization and embrace the idea of hybridity; one might say that they empathize so much with other organisms that they start to become them. In the tradition of Afrofuturism, Woolfalk’s work helps us see racialized bodies as belonging to the future (not just the past), and as agents (not just the subjects) of technology. In this utopian world of bright colors and soothing ambient sounds, differences between bodies continue to exist, but are not so easily articulated into rigid, easily identifiable categories. Woolfalk’s work therefore allows us to imagine difference without oppression—or amnesia. Art always has helped us imagine possible futures. What landscape could we anticipate more eagerly than this?