Otobong
Nkanga
In Pursuit of Bling, 2014
In Pursuit of Bling, 2014

Otobong Nkanga
In Pursuit of Bling, 2014
Mixed media (+ 2 videos)
© Otobong Nkanga & Berlin Biennale 2014

Otobong Nkanga
In Pursuit of Bling, 2014

Otobong Nkanga
In Pursuit of Bling, 2014

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In Pursuit of Bling is an installation comprising a large cluster of twenty-eight structures surrounding a freestanding tapestry at its centre.Based on the history of western empires and their scramble for the natural resources in the colonies, the work considers the unbridled stripping of valuable minerals such as copper and mica from the landscape, particularly from places in the African continent such as Namibia.

In contrast to the unparalleled violence of colonial pillage, Nkanga explores the journey these minerals took to arrive in the hegemonic centres of global power, where they were transformed into ornamental and architectural grandeur.The various tables utilise some of these minerals, some levitate, others have been sunk into concrete.

The idea of transformation appears on other tables: how mica, talc and clay change from the raw to the cosmetic by being turned into make-up, or how minerals are used in everyday appliances.With one side of the central textile referring to discovery, the other to transformation, In Pursuit of Bling contemplates the apathy that lies in the stark disparity between the social and ecological impact of extracting minerals and the demand in consumerist society for desirable objects.